Christiane has kindly allowed me to translate her blog entries about her recent trip to India.
Before leaving, we tried to find out what additional security restrictions were in place due to the London incident. On the flight here, I took only carryon luggage (a backpack, a purse). I packed very sparingly and efficiently. Now the question was, would I be able to take my computer, iPod, etc onto the plane? My purse was unsuitable for checking, and nothing else fit into my backpack. I picked up another bag, just in case.
In Delhi checked baggage was being scanned right at the entrance. Then the bag got a plastic wrapper, so you wouldn’t open it again. When we arrived we were told there were no new security rules – I could see myself on the plane with my computer, surfing the web, but I rejoiced too soon.
The rest of the group was flying Air France, I was flying Lufthansa. The Lufthansa counter wasn’t open yet, because my flight was leaving later. Then the electricity went out, and we sat in the giant terminal for a little while in total darkness. At some point you get used to it. After the counters opened again. Air France announced there would be no batteries taken on the airplane. This was for all flights leaving Delhi. The computer could go, but not the battery. I packed the iPod, my camera, and my computer battery in the backpack – for better or worse, I would have to check it.
At some point the Lufthansa counter opened. I surrendered my backpack, asked again about the rules, and was told that it would be okay to take the computer without its battery. People were sitting on the floor all over, repacking their stuff. I went through border control and in to the lounge. I had several hours to wait and chatted with a couple of nice Englishmen.
At my gate there was a huge line. The security people weren’t used to the new regulations. There was an announcement I didn’t understand. There were no employees in sight to ask, so I bypassed the line. I planned to get back in line once I understood what was going on, but that wasn’t necessary – I was whisked right to the checkpoint. They allowed the computer-without-battery, so that was fine. They weren’t interested in the wheelchair either, so I was boarded fairly early. There was no aisle chair available outside the plane, but Lufthansa had one on board. My wheelchair was also stowed in the cabin, so everything went well and I was happy to have flown Lufthansa. I ate something and fell right asleep. I didn’t wake till we arrived in Frankfurt. I missed my connection to Hamburg because security measures in Delhi delayed us by an hour, but Lufthansa booked me on the next flight, even though it was ostensibly overbooked. Everything went super! Big props to Lufthansa, for sticking by me.
And I also have to praise my wheelchair manufacturer Pro Activ. The wheelchair has been through so much in the 14 months since I got it, and especially in the last several days, but not a screw is loose and nothing has gone wrong. That really says quality. The Indian drivers really weren’t careful with it, squashing it in wherever, and it was constantly being taken apart. There was never a problem, and it doesn’t need any repair.
Disclaimer: I have a contract with Lufthansa Flight Training, but I would have praised any airline that delivered me safely to and from India.