After canceling our trip to Spain and even opting to stay home for Christmas in Los Angeles and not even see my family, we made the choice to travel to Germany…a flight from COVID-19. This trip report covers what turned out to be a very short winter getaway.
My Flight To Germany Turns Into A Short Winter Getaway
As I outlined in earlier post, we booked a one-way ticket to Germany with an intent to stay for an extended period, a flight (escape) from Los Angeles. At the time, COVID-19 was raging in Los Angeles and hospital beds were full. While it was not our desire to bring any sickness to Germany (and did not), we felt safer there should something go wrong.
My wife and children have German passports and I am allowed into Germany on that basis and eligible for permanent residency.
Although the plan was to stay for several weeks, we ended up cutting our trip short due to a death in the family. While it is my hope to spend more time in Germany in the months and years to come, now was apparently not the time.
This trip report will cover our flights back and forth. With much of Germany also shut down, we spent the week at my in-law’s house. While I enjoyed wonderful cooking and encountered several days of jet lag, there’s not much else to report about my time on the ground. The snow was beautiful, though (see above).
- Lufthansa A350 Business Class
- Planepsotting At Zurich Airport
- My Infant Ticket Trials On American Airlines
- British Airways A320 Economy Class
- American Airlines 777-300ER Business Class
- Admirals Club New York JFK
- American Airlines 777-200 Business Class
The most annoying part of the trip, which I have not covered yet, is a problem we encountered with my daughter’s infant ticket after we upgraded our return. American Airlines wanted to charge almost as much for her “90% off” infant ticket as a business class fare I could have purchased outright on aa.com. I’m still shaking my head about that and the issue remains unresolved. Despite that issue, I had lovely flights on American Airlines and also had a lovely outbound on Lufthansa.
This was an unplanned trip that turned in an unplanned way when we had to cut it so short. In this pandemic era, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I certainly learned that on this trip. But I also came to appreciate both Lufthansa and American Airlines much more. The flight experience at least…
Do you run into any security issues with having a one-way ticket out of the country? Either from the US or German authorities.
No. Thankfully we can live in both nations so it wasn’t a problem.
I’ve had a number of one-way trips to Europe when I have an uncertain return due to work, and never had any problems.
That being said, EU is tracking your entry and exit, so don’t overstay the 90 days every six month limit unless you have residency. I remember traveling into Croatia when I had a German residence permit, and my passport was processed differently compared to the passports of the other US citizens I was with.
AA really has a very competitive TATL product. I view their international operation as a wholly different airline than their domestic operation. Unlike many other people, I value my SWUs dearly and often get tremendous value from them.
Can you please post more details about the infant ticket? I’ve always purchased them in advance. I call three times and get three different prices. Usually I’m quoted prices that are too high, and sometimes too low, based on 10% of the J class fare + taxes. Sometimes the agent bases it on the fare I paid, sometimes on the current fare. One trick I learned on Delta is to purchase the lap infant ticket together with coach tickets, and then use GUCs to upgrade to J, and I’ve never been charged extra for the lap infant. Usually keeps the total cost around $50-$100.
I will be doing a long post on this. It was such a complex issue and I am trying to simplify it in what will still be an extended post.
I don’t know the situation Matthew dealt with but I spent 3 weeks in Germany over December/New Years. I bought my ticket and my wife’s via LifeMiles for business on LH and it was a nightmare trying to get my 19 month old son ticketed. LH refused saying their new policy is to not add infants to tickets issued by partners and Lifemiles said they cannot since it’s not their flight. After spending hours on the phone with both LH and Lifemiles managers I had to use miles and buy him his own seat even though more than half the cabin was empty. A solid waste of 65k Amex points. Lesson: never purchase your ticket on lifemiles if you plan to add an infant.
I had the same problem. Booked reward tickets in economy for one way to Germany on AA with a lap infant. The round trip tickets were something like $600. AA said that the one way fare was $3000 so therefore the infant ticket was $300. For a lap infant. Who weighed about 5kg. Ridiculous.
Is that picture from the Münstertal in the Black Forest?
Yes! It was so beautiful. We spent a lovely afternoon there. Other days we only went as far as Marzell/Friedrichsheim.
Great! Spend my youth in the southern Black Forest. Lots of good memories, the wintertime was beautiful but also tough. Still there every once in while to visit family. Greetings and stay healthy!