So I hit the road running – back to the USA for a few weeks. The trip was overall very easy. I flew from Ankara to Munich, Munich to Philadelphia. The Ankara airport is new, modern, and relatively simple to get through. I am an experienced traveller and very used to delays, security checks, etc. But Ankara never fails to impart a new “adventure” for me.
The main difference of ESB airport is that there is a security check at the front door. Anyone entering the airport for any reason must go through security. Usually, this goes smoothly. This time, at 4:30 a.m., they decided to search one of my bags. I’m not sure Turkey understands the full meaning of “security”, but I appeased them. After a little translation from my husband, I understood that they wanted to see the hand-made miniature metal peppermill that I had bought as a gift for my sister. What the heck! I had no idea where I packed that. I eventually found it. Unfortunately for me, the line at the check-in counter wsa growing as I did this. I said goodbye to my love, and headed to check-in.
About 30 minutes later, I arrived at the counter. Two issues here. One – I had booked my two legs of the flight separately and asked for them to connect the flights and check the luggage all of the way through. You would have thought I was asking them to give me a ton of gold. They had absolutely no idea how to make that happen. I waited patiently, “insisting” that they make it happen. The fact of the matter is that I saved about $1000 or more by booking this way. If they want to play that game with me, well, I’m a gunna make ’em work for it!
When that was done, I was informed that I had to pay for my second bag. Duh – I read the website. But I cleverly tried to argue that I was in Asia, not Europe, which allowed 2 bags to the U.S. No can do. Seems that half of Istanbul is in Europe and therefore, the rest of Turkey is going to pay for extra bags! Ok, no problemo. Here’s my card.
That was not so easy. They “insisted” that I go to another office to pay for the bag before giving me my boarding pass. Even stranger, they didn’t give me anything to take to that office. So as I watched the minutes tick away before my flight, craving to step out for one last puff, I made my way to the office. I then suffered through calls back and forth between the two desks. About 10 minutes later, I headed back to the first counter. Here, I applied my newly-acquired Turkish skills – I butt to the front of the line, interrupted the new travellers at the counter, and got my tickets.
Not enough time to smoke.
I made it through passport control and headed to the gate, which is very close to passport control. Another security check and I had a carry-on, with a laptop, and a big camera. Ugh. Luckily, the line went quickly and off I went. Take-off time, 6:15 a.m., Turkey time.
Almost 3 hours later, I arrived in Munich. I had a 4 hour layover. And what do you think a good part-German girl like me does in the Munich airport for 4 hours? That’s right! I had a visit from 3 of my cousins and big Weissen Bier! Ok, it looked early, 8:15. But at least it was 9:15 back home in Ankara, right? We sat for a few hours, laughed, drank, and enjoyed our visit.
Off to Philly. Passport Control. Security Check. No problemo. Hopped the USAir flight. Score – bulkhead – that means leg room! Watched a few movies and shows on the individual screens. Took a short nap. And 8 hours later, I landed in Philly. 3:15pm. It was a long day and about to get longer. For I had family, friends, my kitty, and lots of pork waiting for me!!!