So, like I said, my Dad was here recently and as usual he was full of stories, some I have heard (but still enjoy hearing), others were new. Like the story about my Dad coming to Germany for work last week.
My Dad does a lot of travelling and always has his eye on making life going through airports a little easier. A while ago, he saw a new bag…unusual, one he had never seen before…interesting markings and colours. It was also perfect in that it had the right number of pouches and pockets, was the right size for staying a week or even just for a night or two. In short, the perfect bag… It would be easy to spot and easy to grab from the luggage belt. I am sure you already know where this is going, but nevertheless I will continue on to the bitter end.
So Dad flys in to Hannover Airport, but gets caught up on the plane and is quite late getting off. He gets to the luggage belt and spies his bag travelling around and around. He heads straight for it and instantly recognises that there is something not quite right. The bag seems a little travel weary and weather beaten for such a new and recent purchase. Still, he is tired and thinks it could be his fatigued eyes playing tricks…that is, until he picks up the bag. Straight away it is clear that this isn’t Dads bag, it is far too light and old…undeterred, he opens a couple of pockets to be 200% certain and then heads to the baggage department to explain the predicament. Armed with a reference number and a sense of confusion about how someone could pick up a bag, so clearly brand new and weighing half a ton more than his own bag…but still, he heads to the hotel. Of course, at this point he is in the clothes he travelled in, hasn’t shaved and has a meeting to attend. It is reasonably fortunate that Dad was travelling with clients, so was in trousers and a shirt anyway, but still…he had planned on showering, changing and shaving before the meeting. He attends meeting #1 feeling like crap, but gets through it..when an ad-hoc meeting #2 takes place. Somehow he gets through this one too and heads to his room….fully aware that noone has called from the airline. Still, he is tired and needs sleep.
Always an early riser, Dad is up from around 6am and there is no news on the bag…Dad decides to wait until a very respectable…and dare I say reserved…time of 8am before calling the airport. Feeling quite chipper, he speaks to the airport, gives them the reference number and waits….when the woman comes back on the phone she tells Dad that the number he has given her doesn’t exist in the system. This goes back and forth until the supervisor comes on the line. She confirms that it isn’t in the system, and Dad begins to explode…on the verge of nuclear meltdown you might say. Just at the point of explosion, the supervisor explains why that reference is not in the system anymore. Apparently they delivered the case the night before and noone from the hotel had called to let him know. Dad now has 30 minutes before a meeting, but can’t face putting the clothes on from yesterday…so he heads down in a hotel bathrobe, grabs the bag…heads to his room, phones the meeting and tells them they will have to wait. My Dad…classy.
Dad being classy reminds me of an old story. Before the tragic events known as 9/11 to most of the free world, security was always a concern. My Dad was working at the British Embassy in Berlin and was working with the Air Attache. When you take this position, you also agree to monitor security with anything to do with flying whenever possible. It isn’t like he was on a mission to do this, but he had sworn an oath to be vigilant and aware when flying. Dad is in Stansted Airport returning to Germany and it is a usual busy day at the airport. Check-in is uneventful and Dad is heading through to the departure gate..waiting his turn in line to walk through the metal detectors. The guy in front of him is holding a MacDonalds bag and drink. As this guy is about to walk through the detectors, he leans to the side of the detector and places his bag and drink on top of the X-Ray machine….walks through the detector and gets frisked. Once that finishes he leans around the detector again and grabs his stuff and wanders on his merry way. Dad isn’t looking for a confrontation with Stansted security, but decides that he can’t let it go, so he calls the Air Attache and lets him know what happened.
The next day Stansted Airport undergoes a “routine security review” by the department of British transport. Many flights were delayed, many people were inconvenienced and my Dad was back in Berlin inhaling fine German beer with a smile on his face.