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Husky Airways

Berlin Game: 4

Arakin had negotiated a late start at his workplace, so there was time for a rematch with the pastry shop next door and a visit to the nearby supermarket (so I could buy Haribo for the office) before we said goodbye.

I had a last look around Alexanderplatz, then descended into the station to look for a train to the airport. Utterly confused by the many transport options available, I asked at the information desk, and at the touch of a button was given a printout detailing exactly which trains, platforms, stations and times I required.

Unfortunately, by the time I made it on to the Airport Express, my two-hour travel ticket had expired. The conductor listened to my attempts at an explanation before waving it away, leaving me to stew in embarrassment, relief and guilt for the rest of my journey.

At Schönefeld, I took advantage of one of the lounge passes issued with my smilemore account. On the way out, at Stansted, this had been fine, and I was welcomed with open arms. In the Hugo Junkers Lounge, however, the woman on the desk frowned at my digital pass, asked to see my boarding-card, and pronounced "Die Lounge ist nicht für Ryanair Passagiere!"

I was all "That's not what this LOUNGE PASS says", only of course more politely, and she made a phone call, and at length I was admitted. My coffee and cake were hard-won that time.

As usual, I had a fistful of postcards and had failed to find a postbox. I asked the lounge lady, without much hope, and sure enough she told me in sucks-to-be-you tones that, unfortunately, the postbox was before security.

I tried a bored-looking duty free salesman in a kilt, who indicated that he would post my cards for me, taking them in a dramatically secretive manner that gave the transaction a clandestine feel. So my last impression of Germany was my usual one of kindness, generosity and a sense of humour (although I don't think any cards have actually arrived yet, hmm).

Much queueing and sitting around at the gate, a flight with a lucky window seat right at the back at the plane, and I was disgorged into Stansted soon after 3pm. I took the bus to the long stay car park, put on all my cold damp bike gear that had been sitting in the top box for three days, sneaked round the exit barrier, and was home soon after 5.

I packed a lot into what was really only two full days and two extra bits, but there remains much still to do (going up the TV tower! The DDR museum!), and I hope I can return before too long.

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Some more photos on Flickr.
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Comments

Fear not, I had a card today, so the kilted one was true to his word and quite kindly. Was he selling whisky or what?
Yay! Yes, he was - it would have been weird otherwise.

(It was weird anyway.)
Why have I got the mental image of the woman on the desk wearing a commandants uniform and sporting a bushy moustache.
It was my only encounter with bureaucracy, but I did not enjoy it!
Germany is the only place I've had my tail scanned by security. :-D
I trust they found nothing suspicious?
At Schönefeld, I took advantage of one of the lounge passes issued with my smilemore account. On the way out, at Stansted, this had been fine, and I was welcomed with open arms. In the Hugo Junkers Lounge, however, the woman on the desk frowned at my digital pass, asked to see my boarding-card, and pronounced "Die Lounge ist nicht für Ryanair Passagiere!"

I was all "That's not what this LOUNGE PASS says", only of course more politely, and she made a phone call, and at length I was admitted. My coffee and cake were hard-won that time.


Wow, sounds like lounge access is serious business indeed. (I can just imagine the voice to go with that pronouncement, too.) Glad you made it in!

The guy acting all secret agent about the postcard's amusing, too. Hope he did indeed post them, and not take them back to HQ to check them for hidden messages first. :)
I have had reports of postcard arrival. Two out of five, anyway!

The lounge was very well hidden, behind a door that looked like a fire exit. I definitely felt that visitors were discouraged. Mind you, if I'd wanted access to the Stansted lounge without a pass it would have cost me £25, so it is pretty serious business!
Lounges can be quite well-hidden, yeah — I once stumbled upon the Emirates lounge in HAM by chance while poking around prior to passing security. It seemed friendlier (not that I got to see the inside), but it was definitely tucked away in a hidden nook.

Perhaps sometimes lounges don't want to be in obvious places where the people entering and leaving are in full view of everyone and their dog.

Good service, and a polite word and a smile for everyone (even non-guests), should go without saying, though.
I'm sure they get tired of turning people away. But they should do it kindly, because you never know when that scruffy Ryanair passenger will grow up to be rich and famous!

(Anonymous)

Postcard

Glad you had a good time, our postcard arrived today thank you very much. I think maybe the gale force winds kept blowing it back to you as it took so much longer than callmemadam's :-)
Fluffycat

Re: Postcard

Well, it did have another border to cross. Thanks for letting me know!