Posted by: TheAuthor | 07/02/2011

Read the Small Print

My travels around Europe began in a retrospectively amusing fashion.

My compadre’s and me had checked onto our flight to Duisburg, Germany and sat down in the bar to have a couple of drinks prior to boarding. Shortly into our second drink, I casually looked at the flight information board to see if any news had been posted. I read ‘RyanAir flight to Duisburg, final call, Gate 36’. I turned to my friends and asked “Where’s gate 36?, we need to board now… it’s our final call!” Stunned, we looked around whilst downing our pints. Gate 36, fortunately, was literally across the walkway a meer 15 metres away and still boarding passengers. We were in luck!

Sitting down in our plastic ‘battery hen’ style seats I had a revelation. In the rush to board, I neglected to tend to my bladder and now needed the toilet urgently. In a typical notion, the flight was about to take off and I was unable to vacate my seat – much to the amusement of my friends. 30 minutes later, we had levelled out and the ‘fasten seat belts’ sign had deluminated. I shot up to utilise the toilet before anyone else could even blink. After squirming in my seat for what seemed an eternity, it was bliss. After returning to my battery hen style seat, I began to look forward to my travels again. Travels that were going to start 2 hours ahead of schedule, thanks to RyanAir’s prediction of the flight from Birmingham to Duisburg taking 3.5 hours.

We landed without another hitch, ahead of schedule, quite safely in Germany. As we were taxing to the terminal the pilot gave the usual welcome speech as they always do. Something caught our attention, something made us check our tickets and re-read the small print. “Welcome to Wheeze, Germany. The local time is…”. Wheeze…. what happened to Duisburg? The tickets we had purchased to begin our journey, had a little asterisk beside the intended destination. This asterisk denoted that we would be landing at a satellite airport, 80 miles from Duisburg.

As soon as we had the chance, we went to the information kiosk within the terminal to ask for directions. Good news, there was a bus we could take to get to Duisburg and it left in half an hour! Things were looking up, our cheap £25 ticket looked like a steal again. The shuttle bus turned up to collect and deliver us to Duisburg. We approached the driver who asked for 40 euro’s, each. Needless to say, we paid the fee. The driver, who spoke little English, sang merrily to the radio as we drove (rather than our intention of flying in) to Duisburg.

From here we truly began our travelling, but the initiation had been interesting to say the least.


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