Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Turkish Delight

The Goat is back from Germany again, after the semi-regular trip with Beloved Wife to the Christmas markets. With a group of six including Nix and Pegs, a good time was to be had by all. Certainly the Goat ate and drank to excess, and even picked up a few Christmas presents. On the outbound, he got all his luggage including a backpack into one carry-on. On the return journey the now bulging carry-on bag became checked luggage and the backpack constituted the Goat's carry on. And everyone had a great time in München and Nürnburg.

Animal Crackers

Beloved Wife had organised with a shipping agent to accompany live animals to their owner in Germany. The deal was that she and the Goat would accompany two pets each. Three cats and a dog. The agent would deal with all the permissions and paperwork, and all that remained for the Beloved Wife and her Goat was to meet the shipping agent at Dubai where the animals would be loaded, and to meet the owner in Munich where they would be unloaded. This is a common enough procedure.

Except with Turkish Airlines, it would seem. With a week to go, the airline told the agent that dogs and cats could not be transported together even if they were in separate cages, so the dog was bumped off the flight. Three cats in two boxes, then. The agent confirmed everything with Turkish Airlines and went ahead with the expensive export paperwork with two days to go. All confirmed, he arrived at around bidnight at DXB where there was a problem.

"Two animals cannot be transported in the same cage."

This is patent nonsense, and the agent had the approval paperwork to say so. Beloved Wife's aunt recently travelled from the UAE to the USA with her two cats in the same cage, and there was no problem with Emirates. The agent said he'd recently shipped animals to Germany with no issues at all via Gulf Air and by KLM.

And then there arose a second issue.

"Yesterday, the day after we approved everything, Turkish Airlines changed their rules and live animals can now not be transported in the hold. Nor in the cabin, at least, not to Germany."

The agent tried to contact the head office and, surprisingly because it was midnight, got a person to talk to on the phone. This person reiterated that everything was approved and teh kittehs could be shipped. But at the airport, "Computer says 'no.'"

The Goat pointed out that there would be a massive shitstorm if the agent managed to talk the cats on to the plane and they then got offloaded in Istanbul and refused boarding to Munich.

Meanwhile, the cats' owner had already travelled from the German boonies and was in a hotel in Munich, waiting for her furbabies that were now not going anywhere.

Taking the Tablets

The Goat idiotically managed to leave his tablet in the seat pocket of the DXB-IST flight. He realised this after queuing for an hour to get through airport security (where they look for all the drugs and guns everyone has managed to smuggle on to the plane in Dubai, FFS). Having cleared this security, the Helpful Man At The Counter said that the Goat should return to the transfer desk to try to get his tablet back. What he didn't say was that this involved going through a one-way door and would require queuing for security again and missing the connecting flight.

Beloved Wife eventually managed to persuade the Helpful Man to pick up his telephone, and then go and retrieve the tablet. Easy peasy..., eventually.

The long layover became ridiculously short, and now involved a brief gallop across Istanbul Atatürk to board the Munich flight, parked inevitably at the very far end of the terminal.

München Wurst

Having arrived in Munich and taken the train into town, the hotel was not overly difficult to find. Nix and Pegs arrived later, having fortuitously booked the same hotel, and all agreed to meet at breakfast the following morning to agree plans for the long weekend's debauchery. This will, in due course when the Goat has emptied his camera into a computer, form a separate blog post.

Back to Reality

Return flights were an exercise in endurance. First, Turkish Airlines' English website refused to allow on-line check in. Then the Lovely Booking Clerk cofirmed that the Goat and his Beloved Wife would both have aisle seats in a pair of packed aircraft. "Aisle seats" turned out to mean "Window and Middle, next to a large armrest thief comprising mostly elbows" followed by "Aisle and Middle, in front of a family of screaming, seat-kicking brats".

And it seems that of two identically-coloured matching suitcases loaded in Munich, one of them (containing all of the Goat's toiletries, clothes, and Christmas shopping) got to spend an extra day in Istanbul.

Even getting the bag delivered to the Crumbling Villa was made as hard as possible. The Delivery Man rang three times in quick succession when the Goat was unable to pick up. When the Goat returned the calls, he was told that the Delivery Man, instead of ringing to give an hour's notice of delivery, had grown tired of waiting at the Crumbling Villa and had gone off to Sharjah. Further return calls went unanswered, but at 9pm the Goat received a text message to say that the suitcase would arrive at 11pm.

No, the Goat does not have WhatsApp, and cannot send a location Pin. Whatever that witchcraft might be. Does anyone remember street addresses?

The case arrived at two minutes to midnight, coincidentally delivered by the same guy who delivered Beloved Wife's mishandled case in August.

One of the Goat's Antipodean friends has suggested that the Goat is a Travel Misfortune God. In the way that Rob McKenna is a Rain God and should be paid by holiday companies to stay away from sunny holiday destinations, perhaps the Goat should be paid by airlines to travel with someone else.

Such as not Turkish, for example.


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