Vindication for Stuttgart! (… well, sort of)


I had been really worried about flying with a sick child for 7 hours to Japan. And I was thus super happy that the flight went actually surprisingly well. And we were lucky: even though the flight was nearly fully booked the Delta staff arranged seating such that the single (?) free seat in the Economy class ended up next to us, so that Oskar did not have to sit on one of us for the full flight.

Before that, we were facing a big fat surprise at the Changi airport check-in: the Delta counter did not have a plastic bag for our stroller. Hm, where did I hear this before?
Here’s how this went down: we were asking the lady for a plastic bag for the stroller. She goes:

Check-in lady: Sure. Let me do this…

She came around the counter to the stroller with a rather tiny plastic bag and tried to fit it over the top. It did not even cover half of the stroller and stretched pretty badly around it.

Leo: Is this a plastic bag for a trash bin?
Check-in lady: Yes…
Leo: It’s too thin.
Check-in lady: Do you want to have two?
Lamia: We would need 20 of those… !
Leo: Don’t you have the normal plastic bags? You know: the big ones?
Lamia: Yes! Why don’t you go over to Air France and ask there?
Check-in lady: We have those, but they would cost money…

Lamia and I exchanged an incredulous look.

Leo: How much?
Check-in lady: 5 Dollar.
Leo: I take it!

Now it was on her to looking incredulous, because now she had to admit she did not have a bag, regardless – paid or not paid (in fact, I doubt she can take payments at the check-in counter anyway). We were getting a little annoyed, Oskar was mesmerized by two kitty cats that were sitting in their plastic boxes next to us and the people behind us got noticeably fidgety because things took long.
I then agreed with the check-in lady that we would keep the stroller for now, take it to the gate and leave it there with the staff who would by then have a plastic bag for it. Needless to say I did not pay any money, but mumbled to Lamia:

Leo: We need to get mentally ready that there won’t be a plastic bag at the gate…

I was wrong.
The folks at the gate had been clearly briefed about us…

Chatter amongst staff: There they are, those smug Europeans with their stupid stroller!

… and when we boarded there was someone with a proper plastic bag which nicely fit the stroller.
And I thought: ah, so close – nearly a vindication for Air France in Stuttgart.

Now, I am cutting the Delta guys some slack, because I am really grateful they got us that free seat for Oskar. But let’s say I found it, well, surprising for a company which runs a safety video before take-off where the second sentence uttered is literally:

Model flight attendant: Our first priority on every flight is safety.


This was the first flight we have taken with Oskar, where they did not have seat belt extenders to secure your child as it travels on your lap. How much sense do these extenders really make? I have no idea, but here’s what we were told:

Non-Model flight attendant: Ah, you just hold your son like this…

And then she sort of made a clamping gesture.
Erg. Uh, well…

Also, when I asked for the life vest for children, the very smiley flight attendant said:

Flight attendant: Oh, yes, we have them. But we only give them out when something “happens”.

And she made those air quotes with her fingers when she said “happens”.
I did not think of it then, but I should have said:

Leo: Well, can I “see” them?

Naturally with air quotes, too. Maybe next time. And I will just assume they really had them on board (on other trips the flight attendants handed us the actual life vest to keep throughout the course of the journey).

Anyway. Luckily we did not need the life vest and there was no situation where the seat belt extender might have proven useful. We had quite a nice flight and arrived safe and sound in Tokyo Narita.

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