4:45 came early this morning.
Not that I slept all that well.
Last night, after a fine farewell dinner with Dominic and his mom, Carmen, we picked up Susie and brought the Camino gang to Chez Greene. I still had my bag packed for walking, not for the airport. For the airport, we needed to separate out a “personal item” (our small day packs filled with part of our belongings), from our “main carry-on,” our backpacks. For the last time, I pulled out my packing checklist and Morgan and I made sure we had everything on the list. Susie, Dominic, and Morgan’s visiting friend Nick looked on and made snide remarks. Finally, the adults went to bed as the kids went upstairs to play their last videogame for 37 days.
Arriving at the airport, we used the machine to get the boys’ boarding passes that would not print out the night before and made it through security just in time to board the flight. It took us a while – the counter agent asked, “Are you sure you’re flying on Lufthansa?” and the new full-body scan we experienced going through security highlighted the zippers on our pants which required a full-body patdown, but we made it on the plane.
Mary met us at the gate at 8:30am – so great to see her! The last text I got from her was when she was on her way to the airport last night. She left Portland, OR at 6pm as we were finishing packing and flew all night to arrive in Charlotte at 6am. Seeing her at the airport, it really felt like we were truly going on Camino! We proceeded immediately to the USAir lounge.
The USAir lounge is a wonderful, magical place. George and I pay to belong (it’s tax deductible!) and stop in here no matter how short our connection is. Normally, we are only allowed 2 extra people, but a sympathetic desk agent found a great reason (I’m a Star Alliance Gold member and we’re flying internationally) to let everyone in for free. We settled in for the next 8 hours. There was breakfast, clean bathrooms, comfy chairs, free wine and internet, and Tuscan Vegetable Soup with Meatballs for lunch. Morgan, complaining of body aches and sore throat, fell promptly asleep, and Dominic was not far behind.
The only other concern was that some of the group did not have boarding passes for the next flight on Lufthansa. The ladies at the lounge told us a Lufthansa agent would be coming around 4pm (boarding 4:40pm) At about 2pm, Mary and I did a walkabout and I went out past security to the check-in counter to see if we could get them sooner. Sure enough, I got my boarding passes all the way to Bilbao. This is a big deal, because normally we fly on USAir to Germany, have to go out of security, get boarding passes at the Lufthansa counter, go back through security, try to stop at the lounge and get to the flight on time. Now, not only do we not have to go to the counter for boarding passes, but it is rumored that we don’t have to go through security, either. Hooray! We only have an hour and a half to get from one flight to another, so this is great news.
However, when we got our boarding passes, we also found out that our carry-ons have to weigh no more than 8kg, or about 17 pounds, or else they will check our bags. Yikes! Checked bags have a chance of getting lost, and we want none of that. There was some serious repacking going on when we got back to the lounge. Except for Morgan, whose luggage somehow weighs less than our cat. If anyone has weight issues, we’re going to load him up for this flight.
Tomorrow we’ll be in Germany, then on to Spain. See you there!