Leisure time is a new luxury. Who spends yours?
My alarm goes off. It’s 4.30AM. It is still dark outside and the rest of the family are sleeping. My 10-years-old Yorkshire terrier Hugo looks at me surprised. That’s Hugo’s special look when you understand — there’s no way he’d go out with you. “Do you know what time it is?”- his look says.
Coffee machine is on, I brush my teeth and start to wake the others. We have a plane to catch in four and a half hours from Riga. It’s two and a half hours drive on Saturday morning. I do not expect much traffic on the road. But my wife is cautious. As a frequent traveller she knows — stuff happen at airports most of the times.
“We need to be there early”, she says. To park the car 300 m away from the airport on the 3€ per day parking lot. To drag our sports equipment to the gate. We’re a family of four, plus our friends. It’s a seven pairs of skis and snowboards, plus boots and lot’s of other stuff. We rather be there early!
Family is awake, dressed up, we take our two dogs to the parents house. God, it’s still 5AM. Hate to wake them up so early.
Check your passports! Go!
After a two hour drive we reach Riga. The city still sleeps, except two minivans rushing to the airport. When river Daugava stays behind us, it’s only one hour left till they will close our check-in. I can feel a slight panic in the car and push the pedal. Thanks God, no police, no cameras on the road.
My car brakes are wheezing. I drop the gang in front of the Departures and rush to the car park. Passport? Checked. Papers? Checked? My phone is already ringing. It’s son’s number. This is not good. It’s my wife on the phone. “Darling, I forgot my phone in the car!” I turn around and rush back to the car. In fifteen minutes I am back to the airport and there is only 25 minutes to check-in our luggage. The cold sweat runs down of my back. I hope that I paid everything and there the weight of the length will not exceed the norm. Otherwise we are doomed.
Nope, it didn’t happen. It’s not my lucky day today. “You bag is 27 kg, but only 25 is allowed on this flight, sir.” — she says. “No problem, madam!”. I take my helmet out of the bag and put it on. “You can’t do that sir.” — she says. “Oh yes I can! And head is freezing, it’s cold here.”
Twenty five minutes later we are at the gate. Enough time to grab some coffee before the flight. This time it went relatively well.
All our travel companions are onboard. May the adventure begin!
We land in less than three hours at the airport of Frankfurt Hahn. Everybody is hungry. The plan is to get our car from Hertz and drive to the nearest Tankstelle for some Bratvurst.
Luckily for us there is only one couple in the queue in front of us for the car rent. It’s a Saturday morning and the person at the desk is a replacement. Oh dear, how come that it takes so long to print and sign few papers?! It’s our turn now. “Hello, these is my reservation papers, sir. It should be VW Passat Caravan, right?” I don’t expect anything but the keys. And it starts. As usual.
“Look, sir, I cannot give you a Passat. But we have a similar Opel with hatchback. OK?”
“No, it’s not OK. Our skis will only fit in Passat. I have measured. That is why I ordered it!”
“Oh, you got skis sir? Does it mean that you will leave Germany and travel to Austria?” — he asks me friendly.
“Oh yes we will.” — I answer discontentedly.
“I see. Sir, you have to pay then 60 euros additional fee for leaving the country, sir.”
In about an hour we eventually leaving the parking lot of Hahn airport. Driving manual Opel Caravan instead of the flagship of all Caravans — VW Passat. I am exhausted and frustrated, looking for the nearest restaurant sign. Boys sit in the back surrounded with luggage. We lowered a half of the backseat to fit the skis. This wouldn’t happen with the car I actually booked.
And the crazy thing is that this is not my first similar experience.
But for sure it’s the last one. It took us sixteen months and almost 450000€ of investors money to create a product that will end this. A devastating experience that so many of you know. The triumph of the restrictions, abuse and poor service has to end.
We have started a revolution against the excess luggage! We call it Shipitwise. Join the revolution now. Do not depend on their mood or sick fantasies.
Send all your excess luggage, leisure equipment, bicycles or anything else. We will collect it from your door step and take it where you need it. At the fair cost. No strings attached. Presidents Trump and HM Queen Elizabeth 2 travel without any luggage limitations.