Today is the day we flight to Senegal, or at least we tried to!
The day starts with a proper German breakfast, no hurry—our flight is at 12:50—and around 11 we are already in the U-Bahn waiting our train.
Once at Schönefeld, it is immediately clear that something is wrong: at the check-in entrance there is a huge queue of clueless people, dotted by the yellow jackets of the airport personnel. We ask some of the latter about the situation, but without particular success. Thanks to the magic of The Interwebs we eventually discover that in the morning there has been an accident involving a small private plane, and that—apparently—the airport is now closed, despite the hundreds of people waiting to their flight.
After around an hour spent looking for information, the speaker says that our flight is embarking (yes, embarking) at gate 5. We put on our best smile and jumped directly through the queue to the check-in counters. There we regularly got our boarding cards and everything seemed to be working again.
It was obviously just an illusion, because out of the gate we found a bus who drove us to Tegel, the other Berlin airport. Collecting information from other passengers and the Internet, we realised that the plane from the morning accident was still on the landing strip, thus no flight could land or take off from Schönefeld.
Once at Tegel, we went directly1 to our plane, with safety car and all. At the plane we found the Police waiting for us, but we embarked happily and without further delay.
So the delusion was great when the chief-hostess told us that we should all disembark with our hand-luggage and everything. Once down, the police made us go back into the buses and they drove us to the security check inside the airport. Again.
Getting bits and pieces of information from the driver radio and from people speaking through the bus’ window, it seemed that somehow we got on board an extra piece of luggage, unaccounted for. Any way, we all went running through the whole airport, and through the security check, and back to airport bus, who made a round-trip of the lanes, and dropped us back to the luggage-claim area.
Eventually a woman from the airport went and told us that it was not possible to flight today, because the pilot was not allowed to have another flight after all that time. Note that this was the very first official piece of information since the morning. And it was already 7 PM.
We left our already-checked-in-luggage there and went sadly home. Tomorrow we try again, stay tuned!
- Directly for so to speak, because they forgot to tell the gate operator at Tegel that we were arriving, so we waited in the bus in front of the gate for half an hour [↩]