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Day 27 - Leaving Munich

sunny 18 °C
View UK Trip 2014 on AlastairPorritt's travel map.

All packed and checked out of the hotel, I still had a couple of hours left before going to the airport. I left the bags at the hotel, and found a Hop On/Hop Off bus tour of Munich. This was really my first opportunity to see more of Munich. Typically, the weather decided to come right just on the last day.

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With the bus tour over, I headed out to Munich Airport for my flight back to Heathrow. When we landed at Heathrow, the plane must have caught a gust of wind or the pilot miscalculated, the nose of the plane went right up about 30 degrees as the wheels hit the tarmac. I wonder how close the tail was from scraping the runway.

This was the start of a very long series of transfers and flights.
2 hours in Munich, then 2 hours flight to London, 4 hours wait at Heathrow, 7 hours to Dubai, 13 hours to Sydney, then a 6 1/2 hour wait at Sydney, then finally a 3 hour fight to NZ.
All up I think around 38 hours of flights and transfers
My sleep pattern is all messed up. Crashed at the hotel, then woke up at 3 am and could not go back to sleep
Currently typing this now at 4am and experiencing a strange motion, like when you get off a boat and you can feel the motion of the boat on dry land.

The flight from London to Sydney was almost a disaster. The plane for the first leg to Dubai was half empty. I had a isle seat in the centre section (Its an A380, 3 + 4 + 3 seat configuration).

A few minutes later a flustered young woman from Sri Lanka came and sat down in the same middle row. Clutching her stuff, her study notes fell all over the place. She was super apologetic and polite.
Her luggage was 12 kg overweight, and did not have the means to pay the excessive overweight charges, so she chucked out half her stuff and repacked on the spot. So flustered was an understatement.

Just when I thought they were closing the door and getting ready to take off, a last minute family arrived, with two small children probably 2 and 4 years old. They sat in the 4 seats behind myself and the SLG (Sri Lankan Girl)

Now this family were the Family From HELL. The 4 year old boy had, I mean HAD to play with the food tray like it was a Tonka toy. The other kid lay on her back and kicked the seat in front repeatedly. The father made a piss poor initial effort to stop the boy slamming the tray around, but the boy had a tantrum. Just getting the kids to sit still and put on the seat belts for take off was a nightmare of screaming and kicking tantrums. As soon as the seat belt light went off, the seat kicking started all over again. Now I gave the parents leeway before take off, but I waited for the parents to act. Nope, they just let the kids run riot.

The SLG in my row looked at me as her seat was being kicked from behind like a jack hammer and mouthed - OMG.
Luckily, the plane was half empty, so we just moved.

During the flight I started to wonder about the Dubai to Sydney leg. I asked one of the stewards if the FFH (Family From HELL) were travelling on to Sydney - they were, and the flight would be pretty full after picking up extras at Dubai. He said I would have to wait until we landed and see the people at the gate. Thinking about the SLG, and probably too polite to say anything on her own, I told her what the steward had said.

When the plane landed, we went straight to the gate and asked for new seats. Probably thinking we were traveling together, they gave us seats together. VERY relieved, we go back on the plane. I had the window seat, she was in the middle and another woman had the isle seat. Now the flight was near full, but there was a few spare seats, and funnily enough the entire 4 seat row in front of the FFH was empty.
The flight crew must have flagged it, and not assigned the seats.
Just before take off the isle seat women jumped up and sat in the empty row in front of the FFH. The SLG moved over to the isle, so we had 3 seats between the two of us.
I said to the SLG "Don't get too comfortable, I think the other girl will come back once she experiences the FFH". ISG (Isle Seat Girl) did move, but somewhere else. So we got lucky.
The SLG was an excellent travel companion for this leg. Friendly and talkative, the hours passed quickly. We were just so thankful we were able to move to new seats. They turned out the lights for 8 or so hours, so we slept most of it. The SLG was so small she was able to lie down across the isle and middle seat which suited me as I rested my pillow in the window hollow and was able to stretch my legs almost out to the isle.
After we disembarked we both had connecting flights, so we had a coffee together then went our separate ways.
All in all it worked out, but it could have been a total nightmare.

SLG
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Posted by AlastairPorritt 12:10 Archived in Germany

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