South Africa - On the Way

Franschhoek hotelFlight to Frankfurt uneventful and managed to catnap periodically. Arrived in Frankfurt at noon. I had booked a day room at the Airport Hilton to get a shower and some sleep before our next flight at 22:00. We were required to checkout at 18:00 but the thought of 160 Euros for 6 hours was a little much so I decided to use my Hilton points to book the room. Seemingly you can’t book a day room on points but must take it for the night, so not a problem for us if Hilton wanted to tie up a room for 24 hours when we only needed it for 6. We understood from the little information that was available at the airport that our flight could be delayed for several hours, if not overnight, so we were glad that we now had the room for the night. So, a leisurely shower and a sleep and we awoke at 19:00. Because we were on the Executive Floor I went to the Exec Lounge to see if the concierge could find out flight status and possibly try and get us an upgrade. 12 more hours sitting upright in Economy was not appealing at that point. The Lufthansa phone lines were tied up with everyone trying to get flight info so after 20 minutes on hold we decided to have a quick dinner in the coffee shop and take our bags over to the Lufthansa desk at the airport. If needed we could always come back and claim our room since I hadn’t checked out.

When we got to the Lufthansa desk we got a startling piece of news and in exchange brightened up the desk clerks lives for a moment. First the news, the airport had grounded all local, domestic and inter-European flights so that they could clear the long-haul international flights and in fact our flight was leaving on time and was just about to begin boarding. We did not hit panic stations, but the big red button was very close at hand!

I then asked about buying an upgrade to Business. You should know that we had booked our flights with TD Travel and they had found us an exceptional rate for our flights, but our Booking Class is S. What is the significance of that you ask? Apparently there is only one class lower than S and it is used on some Balkan airlines and on Air Tajikistan. Those passengers are required to stand throughout the flight in a pen at the back of the plane and must serve the stewardesses their meals when they are on break, so when I asked the price of an upgrade much merriment ensued. In order to do the fare calculation they used a free-lance economist whose last assignment was calculating Greek Sovereign Debt. Didn’t happen.

Raced to make our flight, and of course security this time DID want to go through all my belongings; win one, lose one. We ended up tumbling on the flight, exhausted and harried but grateful to take possession of our S class seats.

Ate, dozed and arrived in Cape Town on time at 10:00.

Franschhoek - Day One

South Africa - Off at Last