Little did I know that I was about to spend nine transatlantic hours sitting in front of the single three angriest German citizens on the planet.
Mom and I sat at gate B41 playing “German or American” just to pass the time until the flight. We saw the plane approaching in the distance. I was in awe. It was the most gorgeous piece of shiny white double decker ginormous airplane I had ever seen. The gray and gold letters spelling “Lufthansa” glittered in the sunlight. The excitement to fly on this colossal double decker beast known as Germany’s (and possibly the worlds finest) airline was overwhelming.
I spent the first hour of the flight watching a movie trying to pass the time until dinner was served. I finally just dozed off and reclined my seat.
Suddenly, my chair rocketed forward and I was jolted awake. Strange. I engaged the armrest button and slowly leaned back. Again, my seat was abruptly jammed into the upright position. I turned around and was promptly scolded by a stern faced German woman, “my husband is large man, you cannot put your seat back.” Apparently it was touching his knees and he did not appreciate that. I tried to make peace and suggested that he recline his seat too so they would be the same distance apart. Fail. They shushed every word I said and replied with, “if you want to recline your seat, you should have booked in business class.” This was clearly not my problem and I was taken aback by their rudeness. I asked if they were the airplane police and exclaimed that I would not spend nine hours on an overnight flight with my seat up.
When the flight attendant passed, I told her I wasn’t sure how to recline my seat and asked if she could help. She pressed the button and told me to lean back, the man shrieked. The wife was outraged and yelled something loudly in German. A dialogue between the three took place and afterward, the problem seemed to be solved because the flight attendant told me I could recline. Success.
All was well until I returned from the bathroom and all the cabin lights had been dimmed. I climbed into my seat, warned the man I was going to recline, leaned back and all hell broke loose. My seat was once again jammed forward and all three Germans were yelling at me, which really caused a scene on the plane. This was ridiculous. Couldn’t he angle his legs or switch to the aisle seat so he could extend his legs into the walkway? Furthermore, he was the one who should have booked in business class, this was clearly not my problem.
I found the flight attendant (who was not at all attentive to the flight attendant call button) and explained the situation. There were no open seats (except for about forty in business class, but she strictly forbade me from sitting there, even for a couple of hours) so I ended up riding in the jumpseat at the back of the plane for flight attendants. Less than ideal, but at least I has more space to move around.
We arrived in Frankfurt sleep deprived and unimpressed with both the Germans and Lufthansa. Neither seemed to be too cooperative or friendly.
Luckily, our flight to Istanbul was much better. I got some decent shut eye and we were even served lunch on just a two hour flight.
Turkish customs was a breeze and we were soon navigating through the hills and coastline of the city just as the sun began to set. Istanbul feels like an old friend to me. It has the hills of San Francisco, the coastline and waterways of Seattle and the streets and culture of Mexico, along with a strong European influence. I can’t wait to get to know this city.