“The long and winding road”
by A. Logistician
I just thought that I would drop you a line to let you know that I have arrived safe and well in Israel. The journey by my standards was relatively “Normal”. Sort of, with the one exception of Vienna airport. Thanks to the UN, I was travelling business class ( I know that most of you from the UN are saying that’s par for the course, but let me show off to the Non-UN workers) – Which enabled me to rest awhile in the Austrian Airlines Business Class Lounge.
Now in Sydney Austrian Airlines or AA, share their lounge with Air New Zealand. Now this may not mean a lot, but I have to say that I was fairly impressed with what was on offer. You can imagine my thoughts of what they could offer me on my stop over in Vienna in transit. What would it be like in the country of origin? Gold plated taps? Hot and cold running bar staff? Trust me it is nothing like that. The lounge is hidden away behind the duty free shop and is 2 floors up. Using a
lift that hadn’t seen a coat of paint since Attila the Hun was still plying his trade, you approach that lounge with caution.
For those not familiar with Austrian Airlines, all of the staff wear bright red uniforms with black shoes, this includes stockings etc. I had to admit that they looked very similar to a rolled out lipstick. Entering the lounge at 05:30 is a pretty scary sight. I was feeling the need for coffee to keep me awake in the 4 ½ lay over that I had. After flying all night I was ready to drop – I don’t tend to sleep much on planes, so any break in routine tends to let me catch up with reality.
I walked past the 2 cheerful women on the reception desk (where do they get them from?) and then stopped dead in my tracks. No Golden taps. No hot and cold running bar staff. Just a plain room, a sad assortment of food and a cleaner with a limp. There was also no way of communicating with the outside departures unless you continually watch the departure board.
Thankfully they did have wireless connection and I was able to catch up with a few emails. As time dragged on and no entertainment to speak of – unless you count the magazines in German or Austrian, my eye lids began to droop.
I remember waking up with a start at one stage and looking at my watch screaming “Damn” or a word that rhymes with fire truck. I had missed my bloody plane. I had fallen asleep and committed the cardinal sin of all travellers. The plane had gone and I hadn’t. Racing to get all of my stuff together, I flew out of the so called lounge, at a rate of knots. Down the ancient lift, looking right and left for the AA counter to plead a case that would some how get some sympathy. In all
of this I was thinking what the hell the UN would say about it. Here I am a Logistics Officer that couldn’t make his own plane. This was not a good start to my career.
I found the Airlines counter and explained the situation to the wonderful woman that served me. I gave them my ticket for verification and waited for them to tell me that like buses there would be another one along shortly. Looking expectantly at this potential angel of mercy, you can imagine my surprise when all I could see was this evil grinning woman staring at me. Why couldn’t she feel my pain? Grinning in the appropriate place is fine, but not when I have missed a life-line to Israel.
I did learn a very valuable lesson from all of this. When they tell you the local time, it is best to change your watch. No I hadn’t missed the plane, I was still on Sydney time. I had been asleep for about half an hour. As I slunk back to the now inviting business lounge, I was chastened but awake. The rest of the time was uneventful. I made the flight and flew off to Tel Aviv at the appointed time.
In Part II – The long and winding road – our intrepid logistician discovers Israel!