Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Copenhagen Trip - Conclusion

This was an amazingly great vacation, and we wouldn't hesitate to come to Copenhagen again. Denmark is such a friendly place, and so easy to get around in. There's plenty in the city we didn't see, and outside of town there's of course Sweden as well as other museums and castles on the Danish side.

We came out really well on budget, too, spending only about 60% of the cash we'd expected to use. Having that kitchenette in the hotel room was a real money-saver - and we still got to experience fresh, healthy Danish food. Ann appreciated the ability to just relax - read - and not have to rush anywhere. Wynn loves spending every hour with us. And I light up exploring a new culture and figuring out how to get around.
Ann finally got the time and space to read a few novels just for enjoyment, instead of for school

Monday morning we set out at 7 am for the train station, catching the 7:11 to Copenhagen's airport to allow plenty of time for our 10:15 to Amsterdam. (I like lots of time in airports...) And it was good that we arrived early, because when we went to the KLM/Air France/Delta counter to check in and drop off our luggage, the agent couldn't find our reservation.

Turns out Delta had cancelled the Amsterdam-Minneapolis flight we were supposed to be on, and rebooked us on another flight instead. (They emailed us, but in the middle of the night Copenhagen time, so we didn't have a clue...)

Instead of being put on a Delta flight directly from Copenhagen to Atlanta or New York, instead we were routed on a British Airways flight to London's Heathrow Airport, to connect to Delta's London-Minneapolis nonstop. It would add another 2 hours to our travel time, and we didn't have seat assignments on the Delta flight, but our little family is a band of explorers, after all, and what choice did we have?
It gave us an extra half-hour in Copenhagen's airport, which may well be the nicest airport on the planet. Wood floors, friendly security agents (great with kids), a full-on shopping mall airside, including an H&M, lots of places to eat, plenty of windows and sunlight and green plants. And enough seating for everyone to be comfortable.
Plus, a teensy Little Mermaid on the international wing for little girls to pose next to...
None of us had ever been on British Airways or through Heathrow before, so this was going to be interesting
Spare time to goof off at Copenhagen

Arrival at London was a little early, but the way Heathrow is set up - with five different terminals spread around the outside of the property instead of next to each other - required a long shuttle bus ride from BA at Terminal 5 to Delta at Terminal 4. (But we got to see all sorts of airplanes really close up, so I'm not complaining about that.)

Where we will complain is about the decidedly third-world setup for transfer passengers at Terminal 4, and how Delta and its partner airlines manage their London operation. We waited in line in the bowels of the building for a half-hour, bouncing from unmarked line to unmarked line and among three staff before obtaining boarding documents - but still not seat assignments.

We hoofed it up to the gate level to get to the gate for seat assignments (our worry being that we were going to be split up with neither of us next to Wynn) - to find no agents at the gate. I stayed at the gate area with Wynn while Ann ran back to a Starbucks for drinks and a sandwich - by the time she returned a few agents and another hundred passengers had shown up, all wanting to ask questions. (No monitors or self-service terminals for passengers to figure things out on their own - and the computers the agents were using were laptops, with tractor-feed paper printouts to try to determine last-minute seat assignments.)
These weren't Delta staff, by the way, rather a mix of Alitalia and contract agents, whose fist language was not English. The Olympics are in 14 months, are these people going to be ready?

We did end up sitting near each other - Ann and Wynn together, with me in the next seat across the left-hand aisle. Wynn was awake most of the way, only sleeping for the last two hours of the flight. We landed at Minneapolis about 5:20 - and waited another 15 minutes for the jetway to be repaired so we could get off. At least we didn't have to wait for our luggage!
Wynn likes having the personal touchscreen system - she hung out with Elmo most of the way over...

We finally got home about 7 pm last night (or about 2 am Copenhagen time) - I was in bed and passed out by 8:30 (and down for the count as well); Wynn and Ann only got a couple hours' sleep and have been up and down all day today.

Even though the last bit was messed up, we still got home safe and sound with all our stuff, and having had a marvelous adventure. Tomorrow, back to everyday life.

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