Checking in for flights outside the US is different. You don’t have generic counters assigned by with continuous service, instead you have generic counters sometimes assinged by airlines that open at specific times to check you into specific flights. This means it’s harder to plan your trip to the airport as 1) you don’t know how long it’s going to take to get there and 2) you generally have no idea when the ticket counter is opening. So you do some back calculating and pack up and leave.

I was figuring 1 hour for the drive and rental car return, 30 minutes standing in line at the counter (not unusual for jumbo jets), 30 for security and 1 hour at the gate for boarding (again, not unusual for jumbos). A minimum of 3 hours meant 9 AM for a 12 PM flight. Now being of the school of “if you’re going to hang around, it might as well be at the airport,” I got my things together and left at 7:45.

Dublin morning traffic is fickle – some days you cruise, others you crawl. Today, I cruised, sailing right through the M50 construction zone, the tolls and the bottleneck at the M1 arriving at the car park in 40 minutes. Okay, now I’m +20 on my estimate.

The other uncertainty about checking in is where the counter might be. I always forget that the counters can be found on the big board, as though they were departure gates. So after wandering around I finally asked for help and was escorted to the board. Area 10. Which was abandoned.

I stood around for a few minutes, went for a walk, re-checked the board and then found a seat. It was now 8:45 so I figured I would wait until 9 and head back over to the counter, reasoning that things tend to open on the hour.

At 9:05 it was still abandoned and so I went looking for an authority. The nice gentleman at the Lufthansa ticket counter (different than the check-in counter) gave me the news. 10 o’clock at the last two counters.

So here I sit, revelling in the knowledge that if you’re going to hang around anywhere, it’s better to hang around the airport.

The sum of my miscalculations are thus: 1) it doesn’t take an hour to drive to the airport, 2) you can’t count on the counters and the biggest one of all 3) I’m not flying a jumbo on this leg and so all the rules of international flying are null and void.

Ah, it’s still better to hang around the airport.

Source = Blackberry