Friday, July 31, 2015

Frankfurt, Germany – Flight and Travel to Hotel in Prague

I have an hour and a half to make the connection in the same terminal using the same airline. This should be a piece of cake.
But it was not.  I had to go through various checkpoints. In the passport line, I picked what looked like the best line for my flight to Prague.  When I got to the customs inspector, he looked at my passport and asked where I was going. Business or personal.  I was doing well.  Then he asked
“Are you an EU Citizen?”
“No, I’m not.” 
He pointed up. The sign over his head indicated that I was in the line for EU Citizens.  I let out a big sigh and pointed to the other line.
“Over there?”
“No.”, he said as he stamped the passport. “Next time. It’s okay this one time. Just go through.”
The clock was ticking.  I walked to the security check.  The line was long but moving.  I watched the movie on what to do, pulled my laptop out, phone out, and went through the screening area. Another pat down and a man behind the conveyor belt pulled my luggage off to the side.
I must have had a huge question mark on my face.  What now???
He asked about the zipped bag. I pulled it out of the suitcase.
Then he pointed to the back of the suitcase.
“Tripod. For my camera.” And I pulled it out of the bag, zipped open the case and showed him.
“You should take it out of the suitcase for screening.  Next time.”
There is that “next time” phrase again.  I packed up my bag and took off to the gate at a fast pace.  The woman looked up as I approached, the only person in the gate area.
“Hurry.”  Hmmm, she didn’t say anything about next time.”
I went down a flight of stairs to board a bus to take me and several others out on the tarmac to a distant plane.  I slid over in to seat 12A, window, and put on my seatbelt. Minutes later, doors closed, we departed at 10:05 am.  One hour later we arrived at the Prague Airport.
No passport lines here, no baggage check.  I walked through baggage claim and out of the large doors.  I saw the white “AHI TRAVEL” sign and met Simona Contarina and Beata Karlikowska, two of the four Travel Directors on our tour.  They directed me to Hugo, who explained that we were all going to meet in this area and depart at 12:50 PM or as soon as the other passengers on Brussels Airlines and United had joined the group.  I walked over to the Costa Café and bought a Latte and a piece of Pear Yoghurt Cake.  I didn’t have cash yet, so it went on my credit card.  184 CZK = $7.48 USD.  I sat down at a table with other tour members, shared introductions, and joined in with the pre-tour conversation.

Oddly enough there was an older couple sitting at the table next to me. I am sure that I knew them.  We could not quickly come up with any places that would indicate that I had met them.  Jetlag?

I became a little anxious and decided to take money out of the ATM. Following the instructions on the machine, I took the smallest amount.  4000.00 CZK.  That is 179.99 USD plus I later learned a $5 fee.  $185 for 4000.  $1 for 21.62 CZK.  Later on the bus we were informed that the AHI staff would sell money $1 for 23.33.  A better rate but a bit late.

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