Just in time or a large breathing space

I am chill about some things, but get highly anxious about a few things.

Upcoming train and plane journeys, I get really uptight about. Turn into a real nervous Nelly. Which is bizarre because what is the worst thing that could happen? I have to spend another night in a place? I lose a bit of money from having to purchase a new ticket?

Anyway, fear and anxiety are illogical.

I want, nay have to arrive extra early for planes. As I have written before, Mr S hates waiting so he likes to leave a smaller window between arriving at the airport and the plane leaving.

I have to constantly remind him that departure time is not when boarding takes place or the doors close. OK, I don’t HAVE to constantly remind him, but I do anyway.

I like to leave time for contingencies.

Sometimes that means we have to wait a bit longer.

But sometimes it is really good that I stand my ground on arriving with plenty of time.

Evidence for my case.

1. Leaving Italy

I bought our flights to and from Germany before I plotted out our itinerary. When I added Italy, I looked at the best way to get back to Frankfurt. We were travelling around Europe by train but I decided we would fly from Rome to Frankfurt and have two nights in Germany.

People asked, “Why not just fly from Rome to meet your connection?”

No way! I couldn’t stand that level of stress. Flights would need to meet up. What if they didn’t? (OK, I would have to take more time off work. So sad. But that’s not the point.)

Of course, I don’t tell people I’m nervous and cover with the argument that we would have some time to finish our German discovery – buy some stuff and eat some food.

Which we did! We had Kaffee und Kuchen, a German thing like afternoon tea. Such a yummy cake, I started eating before I remembered I wanted a photo.

Perfect cake.

And we ate dinner at a very old beer Keller. Twice. It was delicious, traditional German food.

This red cabbage was as good as my mother’s. And that’s not a sausage; it’s a roulade of beef.

Wandered the pedestrian zone, looking at street art and church windows and museums, several of which were free, and memorials.

Unusual mermaid – with upper legs and two separate tails

And guess what? My planning was lucky. Not because of what we saw and experienced, which was wonderful.

We flew from Rome to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. The day we flew home, Lufthansa were on strike. For 48 hours. Had we flown to meet our Cathay Pacific flight home, we’d have missed it and been stuck in Rome. Imagine my stress?

2. Getting to Frankfurt airport

Mr S was all for catching the 10am train. I wanted to catch the 9:30 train. It’s only a short trip to Frankfurt airport station. Mr S said we’d be there by 10.30, two hours before our 12.40 flight, plenty of time in his eyes if we took the later train.

No allowances for contingencies, though.

I was adamant that I was getting the earlier train. And I wanted to leave early for the train. Mr S wanted to wait in the hotel. I get that the station was only a five minute walk. But what if there were issues buying tickets? Turned out there were issues. The ticket sellers were on strike and there were lots of people at the ticket machines. And it took ages to get our tickets. If we’d left the hotel when Mr S wanted to we’d have missed the 9.30 train.

Then when we got to Frankfurt airport station, we had to take a shuttle bus to Terminal 2. And boarding of the flight was at 12, not 12.40.

Urhm! I am right. Again!

So are you a “last-minute-er” or an “early-arrived”?

6 thoughts on “Just in time or a large breathing space

  1. Smart woman! Glad you made it back okay.

    I’m with you! Early is better. Big deal if one has to wait. Plus sometimes I have airline/train lounge passes, so I can wait in comfort. We live more than an hour from one airport and an 1 hour and 40 minutes from the one I usually use to fly internationally. Since I live in the DC area and the traffic is horrendous–accidents/traffic backups almost a guarantee–trying to assume one needs the minimum amount of time to get to an airport is a fool’s game. And as you note, boarding is usually at least 40 minutes to an hour before scheduled take off. Around here, if you aren’t in the boarding area within 15-20 minutes of departure, they will give your seat away to stand-by passengers.

    In fact, I have an early flight to the UK out of the farther airport in January. Rather than having my husband try to drop me off in rush hour traffic that morning (and then him facing that traffic again as he goes to work), I am staying at an airport hotel the night before. Using points, so a free stay. My husband will take me to the hotel after rush hour that night and I will use the hotel’s airport shuttle in the morning. Only a 5 minute drive to the airport. This saves me (and my husband) from getting up 3-4 hours earlier on flight day and also helps me not worry about potential weather issues, like snow, at least for the driving part (DC area traffic especially doesn’t handle snow well). As you can tell, like you, I am big on contingency plans.

    • I will be letting Mr S know the regular travellers are with me. I like your planning.

      We live on the other side of Sydney from the airport. If all is well, it is an easy train ride of just over an hour. But chaos if something happens to the trains. And if that’s the case, then the traffic to the airport is horrendous as everyone avoids the trains.

  2. I’m with you! The airports in European cities (including London, so far still European, haha) are sooo busy and it takes so long to get to the gate. Plus the delays and traffic getting to the airport itself. We always spend the previous night in the same city as the airport. We arrive a minimum of 3 hours early for international flights, which means setting out even earlier than that. Baggage check-in always takes a while (no carry-on-only nonsense for me). In the past, the security lineups were sometimes so long we barely made our flights. That has improved dramatically with the self-declaration and photo tech they have now. We plan in advance to have a leisurely meal and coffee at the airport. In London, both Gatwick and Heathrow have great shopping 🙂

    • I’m going to tell Mr S, travelling bloggers are with me.

      I found Mainz to be good for Frankfurt airport. Close with local train. I was expecting Rome airport to be crazy. It was amazingly quick and orderly. The best security check I’ve ever been through. They had about 6 bays at each security X-ray belt so people could empty bags, pockets etc. You know how you have oh wait behind people as they only realise when they get to the front of the line to take out their electronic items and oh, yeah, I have a bottle of water, and then the belt etc etc. Rome was only place that made me take off my boots, but I didn’t hold people up as there were other bays.

  3. I’m definitely an early arriver! I was so early for my New Zeanad flight that I was told by staff to stop waiting in the non-existent queue and to go have a coffee! When I came back, I was still first in the still non-existent queue. Then the queue formed behind me. A strategy that Mr Sans could use to avoid queues?!!

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