Departing from Jakarta, 29 July 2007

After preparing for some months, finally the time has come for me to go to Germany. I leave Jakarta at 29 July 2007 using Lufthansa. The main reason for choosing Lufthansa is because I want to experience Germany as early as possible. I didn't get any German course in Indonesia before, so I haven't learned anything about German culture. Yeah true, I have German boss and colleagues. But they are in Indonesia so, somehow they're the ones who adapted to me.

Another reason is because I don't have to change flight or carry my luggage here and there for transferring to other airlines. So, there I go. In their rules and regulations it said that the maximum luggage weight is 25 kg, and for hand carry is only 1 bag with maximum weight of 7 kg. However, since I am a student and will leave in Bremen for 2 years so, I know I'll carry more than that. After looking for information in Lufthansa office Jakarta, I've been told that I could request for excess baggage to the General Manager by fax. So I did. I fax my request 2.5 weeks before I am departing. Two days after I faxed it, I call Lufthansa office to know the progress, but they tell me that they haven’t received my fax and ask me to do it again. So I did again and after 3 days, they said that it hasn’t been processed and I should call in the next 2 days. And of course when I called them, it doesn’t mean that I could talk to the responsible person at the first attempt. I need to call 3 – 5 times a day before finally I could talk to the assistant for the Managing Director. And finally, on the last Thursday before I leave, the assistant tell me that the Managing Director just return from trip abroad and he will come to the office on Friday. At that moment, I know that my chance is gone however, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. My friend said that somehow we could ask the Manager on Duty at the airport to ask for excess baggage. So I print my request letter again in hope that it will work.

On the D-Day, I went to the airport carrying 1 big luggage, 1 medium backpack and 1 laptop backpack. My family is accompanying me. There, I meet Ari, the person that will go to the same Master Program Course as me. He carries 1 big luggage, 1 big carrier and 1 regular backpack. Then we go to the Lufthansa counter for check in. We tell the lady at the counter that we have excess baggage and therefore ask for permission. She asked us to put the luggage on the scale. So I put on and read the scale… Oh great… my luggage weighing 38 kg!!! And this is only my luggage! My medium backpack weighing 3 kg. I don’t remember how much weight is Ari’s but the lady at the counter don’t want to talk to us anymore. She tells us to talk to the Manager on Duty. And it can be predicted, she objects to give us any excess baggage. The maximum that she will compromise is addition of 3 kg for each of us. Of course I am shocked! How should I repacking? And how could I decide quickly about which items that are more important than the others?? Argh!!!! My mood is really ruined. How come they are not so supportive? I know my friend that uses another airline could get additional 6 kg…

So then, me and Ari go back outside to meet our family. I tell my family about the problem helplessly. Thank God, my sister can handle the situation. She and her husband then repacking my luggage. They move some of my stuffs from the luggage to the backpacks. So all the light stuffs are in a luggage and the rest are separated among the 2 backpacks. However, not all of my stuffs can be repacking. I have to leave my mini rice cooker, my lonely planet book about traveling Europe, some clothes and booksL Well, don’t ask about how other people look at us. I have no time to observe them. If my sister wasn’t that calm, I think I will just wasting my time there without doing anything and just cursing for Lufthansa. And I might even cancel my flight!

So, after my mood getting recharged by the way my sister and her husband repacking my luggage, I go back to the check in counter. There I see Ari who already pass the scale measurement. He could put his luggage and medium carrier in the flight baggage so, he will just carry 1 regular backpack. Then it’s my turn to measure my luggage. This time, it read 29.9 kg! My heart starts beating faster… The counter lady asks the Manager on Duty about how much that I am allowed. Instead of answering, the Manager on Duty asks back “How much weight is that?” The lady answers “29 kg”. And finally the manager says “OK”. Aaaah… I exhale gladly. So one problem is solved.

I, then, go back to my family and report the progress. However, there’ll be still a problem. I have to carry 2 backpacks into cabin. I am not sure whether it’s allowed after this luggage experience. Again, my sister tries to calm me down, but somehow this time it doesn’t work well. She said “Well, pretend that you don’t know the rule. So this time, it depends on how good your acting skill is”. What???!!!! Well, even though I am a drama queen, but still my audience isn’t wide enough. My audience is still limited so I am not sure that these people would buy it. At the end, my family agrees to wait until my flight is departing to make sure that I shouldn’t do any repacking again or even one of my backpacks should be left.

One of my 2 hand-carry. I think this one is about 9 kg!

It’s not easy to carry 2 heavy backpacks. The first trial is at the entrance of boarding room. There I see many people should leave their bottle of mineral water because it is not allowed to carry liquid material more than 100 ml. I even see a man arguing that the liquor he bought is from the duty free. I don’t know what happened at the end but my heart starts beating faster again. I try as hard as I can to look cool and expressionless. Apparently, since I don’t bring any liquid material that exceeds 100 ml, they don’t care too much about how many hand-carry that I bring. So the first trial is passed.

But of course I still feel worried. How if the cabin crews disallowed me? Ah well, second trial then. Again, I try to look cool and don’t show the pain for carrying the 2 backpacks. I smile and greet the cabin crews until I find my seat. It succeeds so far. Now I have to put one of my backpacks to the cabin baggage. Since the space under the seat is pretty small, I decide to put my laptop backpack there and the medium backpack will go into cabin baggage. However, it’s not easy to put this ‘big hand-carry’ into it. My seat is in the middle column so I try to fit my backpack into the cabin baggage above it. Apparently the baggage isn’t big enough so I have to take out my backpack. A bit of worried starts creeping me again. What should I do? Put this backpack on my lap for the next 19 hours of flight? But then I realize that the baggage at side column is bigger than in the middle. So I try to put it there. This time, a lady who sit behind me, is helping me. (Actually not far from there, there’s a stewardess standing and watching us, but she didn’t do anything at all!). Finally, my backpack is fit so, the second trial is also passed. I could sit nicely and feel relax, at least for a moment.

My other hand-carry. Perhaps this one is 3 kg.

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