Frankfurt, Germany – January 17, 2015
Leslie and I left Tallinn, Estonia together. We had an early morning flight to Frankfurt, Germany. It was 06:00 when we departed, about five minutes early. We encountered a few turbulence. It was pitch dark during the entire flight.
We arrived in Frankfurt around 08:00. Leaving the plane, we stumbled upon an electric cart. Even though we did not have a reservation, the woman driving said she would give us a ride to our gate. We thought that was fortuitous since we arrived at concourse A while our flights to the United States were to depart from concourse Z. We both got on the cart with our carry-ons.
I ended up in the rear-facing seat with my carry-on between my legs. I was also carrying my notebook computer and an Estonian newspaper, both of which I placed beside me.
Ultimately, our driver stopped at an elevator. She said we were to go up one floor, go through passport control, and then we would be in concourse Z.
Exiting the elevator, we stood in a short line. I observed a couple of airline employees and some immigration agents. I saw the airline employees looking at people’s boarding passes and passports before letting them cue for immigration. I reached for my passport in my shirt pocket. I noticed my boarding pass was not in my pocket. I remembered I had slipped it into the zippered notebook computer case. Then the bottom of my stomach fell out…I had left the notebook on the seat of the electric cart! I told Leslie. We both left the line and dashed back to the elevator. I was pushing the call-button wildly, trying to get the lift to our floor.
When the elevator finally arrived, I did not let those passengers who were on the elevator off before I pushed my way on. I was afraid that it might be a “one-way” elevator because of the immigration facility. The passengers got off, the doors closed, and we began to descend.
The doors opened again. It so happened the elevators were at an information booth. We quickly related our dilemma to the man at the station. Luckily, Leslie had learned the name of our cart driver as we rode along. She shared that with the man. He began to make a cellphone call to the cart dispatch.
While that was going on, I told Leslie I was going to retrace our steps a little way. When we had earlier passed on of the concourse gates, our driver told someone there she would return for them. I could not remember which gate, but I began a brisk walk in that direction while Leslie waited at the information booth.
After walking a couple of hundred meters with no results, I turned around and started back to Leslie. I felt horrible about my stupidity. When I got within eyesight of Leslie, she was smiling and holding my notebook. That was such a relief.
Oddly enough, I had thought about a similar scenario while I was on the plane. Thinking about that scenario, I vowed to begin traveling with my notebook in my carry-on instead of my good camera. Now it was time to put that into practice. My camera bag has a shoulder strap. That allows for it to be placed around my neck… not forgetting it!
We went back up the elevator, through immigration, and into concourse Z. We were able to sit down at a restaurant for breakfast.
After breakfast, we walked to my gate since my flight departed first. My flight was direct to Dulles. Leslie’s flight was direct to Denver.