New York – Travel Delights

I guess, this is my first real blog entry, yeiii, finally. And I’d like to start this blog with a “little” three week trip to New York. And just to be clear: No, I will never ever ever ever use the term “The Big Apple” or the Frank Sinatra redundant variant “New York, New York”, maybe the mathematical term “New York²”, but only under extreme circumstances.

So, after having slept only 5 hours or so, due to the first hot, or let’s say warmer, summer nights and the excitement, I had to take a train to the airport. Unfortunately it was just during rush hour, which meant I had to stand in the aisle, which however was not as bad as it sounds as I was bound to face an 8 hour flight sitting on my cheeks (the lower ones, obviously). Benefit of that was I had to eavesdrop on a lady on the phone who was telling the other side of the phone she just fired a guy without notice who had the best references but was a total nutjob. She explained though, she never reads any references, she just looks at the people and knows… Hahaha, praised are the knowing. Funnily, the guy just got the good references as he won a trial against his former employer who just had a bad lawyer (the lady on the train knows that now, as she called the ex-employer) and thus had to give him a good reference. And now the firerette faces a trial. So she better lawyer up! But still: double fail!

Hard facts: Train was 11 mins late and at Düsseldorf Airport the SkyTrain, only way to get from the train station to the terminals, had limited service (one train was broken), so a huge crowd waiting in front of the automatic doors to get into the self-driving mono-rail train, or rather to squeeze themselves in with a myriad of bagpacks, suitcases, handbags and similar. A transport delight. But fortunately, I was early, so no issue for me this time (the older you get, the wiser you become).

At the airport: check-in as usual, then passport controls, which were entirely automatic. Just hold your passport into a scanner (well, took me a bit to figure out that you don’t have to put only the plastic card in, but the whole passport, and which side has to face up; moving pictograms don’t always work), look into a camera and get biometrically scanned (Person-of-Interest-like), and then a door opens to let you through – so futuristic.

As I booked business class – first time ever! -, I could use the AirBerlin business class lounge. I showed the hostess my ticket and was shown into the lounge. And guess what, all my dreams came true: supermodels lounging on chaise-longes, sipping fancy, colourful cocktails with pineapple and grape decorations, and wearing super elegant outfits. Ok, ok, I know, now you expect me to write something like “Wait, hold on a sec, suddenly somebody touches me on my shoulder and says to me: ‘Sir, you have to wake up, your airplane is boarding…'”, but no, it’s all bee true!! Really! …until somebody touches me on my shoulder and says: “Sir, you have to…” Well, you know the rest… And your literary intuition is not too bad…

The people sitting in the lounge were quite the opposite of the wonderful dream. Not even business people in suits. One guy – of the rather bigger kind – was wearing a T-shirt in a vibrant blue with a huge cookie monster print. So this was sort of his signature attire, I guess. And he was kind of living the stereotype. But I have to say, I like the cookie monster; during my first trip to the US, I even bought a cookie monster baseball cap (which I actually never wore, but anyway). The girls I saw there were wearing sloppy jogging pants, so nothing for my fantasies there neither. Hmm, suddenly I feel the need to apologise, so sorry for the superficiality. Anyway, had some breakfast there, enjoyed the free wifi to post the first picture on Facebook and Instagram – the classic of course:

And then I proceeded to my gate to board the plane, only to be stopped for a second security check, being body and bag searched. But I guess, after the sec guy saw my official transparent 1 litre pouch with liquids of max. 100 ml each, containing face lotion, hair creme, hand creme, tooth paste, etc., he probably was pretty much assured I wanted to live on and that I don’t have evil stuff on my mind (well, apart of those thoughts when your neighbours are having too loud … ehm, drinks, or if people don’t stand on the right on escalators [seriously, please, do that!]).

So, boarding the plane, heading to the buisness class section, and guess what, then all my dreams came true: supermodels lounging on the XXL years, sipping… Okay, okay, not true, same picture as in the business lounge. But this time the amenities were pretty amazing: a little sort of bunk for myself, with a fully extendable seat, which means actually a real bed, a welcome bag and a welcome drink:

And some slippers:

And the best of all: The seat features a massage functionality! Upper back, lower back, thighs and even the cheeks (again, obviously the lower ones). Wow. So this is kind of a gym workout, I’d say. Why did I waste my precious time yesterday and went to the gym? Totally unnecessary.

The food and drinks very good:

Even the peanuts come on porcelain:

And I very much liked the teeny weeny salt and pepper shakers:

Sooo Trumpesque.

All in all a very pleasant flight, punctual, smooth and comfy.

But I still don’t know why they always say ‘aircraft’. Wouldn’t be ‘plane’ or ‘airplane’ much more casual and understandable for the non-English-speaking crowd?

Though, by the way, I loved the kind of casual tone of the AirBerlin crew during their announcements. Not the usual, formal language, but like “Just have a quick look on your seat and on the floor if you have maybe forgotten something, your mobile phone, tablet or diary. Would be a pitty.“

Update: A pitty indeed AirBerlin went bankrupt, but I’m glad to have had this pleasurable experience.

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