Sander, Daniëlle & EmilyOur Family life...

Our Family life...

Hotel for free…

For years we are Priorityclub member and we’ve a pretty high number of points. With those points you can get things for free. So we decided to use our points we’ve collected for a hotel stay if we find a nice but expensive hotel.

The start of our autumn/winter vacation will be in Miami and we decided to stay for 2 nights in the Miami Beach area. The Miami beach area is located on multiple man-made islands and has a beach directly to the atlantic ocean. But that also makes the hotel prices raise.

After checking the web we found some hotels from which one is the Crowne Plaza South Beach – Z Ocean Hotel. This is an all-suite boutique hotel with only 79 suites. It doesn’t has a direct overlook on the ocean from all rooms but the rooms look nice and it’s walking distance from the beach and only a 15 minutes drive from the airport.

And best of all it’s free with our points, so we are off to a good start for our vacation.

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Oops we did it again…

Yesterday I was earlier at home as usual because a technician from the Deutsche Telekom would come and solve our DSL issues. But he didn’t… I was annoyed and started searching for a flight for our annual autumn/winter vacation. Not ideal with a unstable DL connection but we used our iPhones as Personal Hotspot as well.

We debated a long time about our trip schedule this time. A couple ideas involved layovers and other cities like New York, Atlanta, Tampa and different departure airports Munich, Frankfurt and Nuremberg. But after searching for about 3,5 hours we found the following trip:

Departing flight: (Total flight time 15:56 hours)

  1. Nuremberg > Amsterdam (KLM Fokker 70)
  2. Amsterdam > Detroit (Delta Airbus A330-300)
  3. Detroit > Miami (Delta Airbus A320-200)

Returning flights (Total flight time 15:15 hours):

  1. Orlando > Detroit (Delta Boeing 757-300)
  2. Detroit  >  (Delta Airbus A330-300)
  3. Amsterdam > Nuremberg (KLM Fokker 70)

And that for an excellent price more then 200€ cheaper as with all other airlines for the same flight times. The only cheaper flight we found was with a total flight time from over 30 hous one way. So we decided to book the flight we were both excited and could select our seats and then in the very last step of the booking process the price went up by 212€, it wasn’t clear why and I was lucky that I didn’t click on the ‘Next’ button otherwise we would have paid the higher amount.

I was very disappointed by this and decided to call the KLM Service Center in Germany but they were not available at 21:15 anymore. But I found out that the KLM Service Center in the Netherlands is available 24/7. So I used Skype to call them and after waiting a bit I got an employee on the phone which explained me that there was nothing he could. I didn’t liked this answer and explained that I’ve seen the same on all 3 possible flight options, he put me on hold and went to his manager to ask or there were possibilities and than our internet connection broke down…

So I could again and got another service agent on the phone and explained him all the same and again he couldn’t do anything for me and again I disagreed with him. He went to the manager and they found a solution which was a bit difficult for them to realise so he would call me back. And at 22:45 he gave me a call and told us he had even lower flight prices for us. So we decided to book! Thanks for the excellent service KLM, I’m so happy I can speak dutch!

So florida here we come again after being there in 2010 for the last time. Next will be booking hotels and/or a villa. can’t wait to do this and I hope that booking process will be a bit easier…

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Day 8: Leaving New York…

As always there is one bad day during a vacation and that is the day you’ll need to go home. This is the same with this trip and that day was today. But before it is time to leave we wanted to do some things.

Danielle wanted to stay in bed a bit longer and I wanted to check out the biggest one-day-sale of this season at Macy’s. Because of this Macy’s opened one our earlier so I left our hotel at 8:20 to take the subway line M at 42 St/Bryant Park towards 34 St/Herald Sq. At 8:30 I walked through the door and I saw Christian, a salesman who helped us out earlier this week and told us to be here again on friday. He helped me finding the best prices and the right sizes. With 60% discount I left the men’s department and went to the women’s department. Is it bad if employees in the biggest store in the world recognize you from before? I guess it is.

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During my last-minute shopping Danielle stayed in the room and packed the rest of our suitcases and answered my WhatsApp messages with pictures and prices. So I was sure I bought the right stuff and I made Danielle happy because I bought her a dress from Tommy with 50% discount! Shopping is fun, but shopping in the USA during a sale is even more fun.

When I arrived back in our hotel I asked Joe Joe to come up to our room to weigh our suitcases and they where roundabout exactly the weight which we could take with us, so we kept our fingers cross for the check-in at JFK. At 11:30 out town car arrived to bring us to the airport and only 45 minutes later we were waiting in line at the Lufthansa counter. And we were lucky since one suitcase was 24,2 kilo the other one was 23,6 kilo which is both a bit to heavy but I guess they liked my smile and we didn’t need to pay for the overweight.

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After the security check we already found our plane ready at the gate but we needed another 2 hours before we would be allowed on board for the flight back home. Unfortunately we had some delay because a couple of passengers were still at the security check at our original take-off time. After waiting for more than an hour we finally went up in the air and there was the big surprise, FlyNet was already available in this plane although there were no signs in the plane yet. FlyNet is the inflight wireless internet system from Lufthansa which costs € 19,95 for up to 24 hours access. So after thinking, actually I didn’t really thought, I bought access.

First I was just reading a bit but, than I saw Yves was online in the Facebook chat so we started chatting, we send some pictures until we came to the idea to make a FaceTime call. We bought expected it didn’t work due to limited bandwidth, high latency but it worked perfect. I walked with an iPad Mini through the plane to show the stewardesses, the alcohol, the other passengers and a nice view on the clouds. I got some strange looks probably because people thought I was talking to myself?

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After this inflight highlight we had rice, vegetables and chicken as a meal. The flight went well I actually got bit of sleep and although we had an hour delay we arrived 40 minutes early in Frankfurt. Danielle always wanted to go to Frankfurt but I always told her there is no fun there… And now she agrees because after 30 minutes of wandering, 2 elevator rides and 4 escalator rides we finally made it to our destination the gate! We got something to eat and after about one hour waiting we could board the last plane of this trip, the Boeing 737-300 was for 2/3 empty. After a short flight without a snack or beverage we landed on time in Nürnberg.

In Nürnberg we took the last hurdle of the trip, we needed to go through customs but all went well they questioned about every 3rd passenger walking through customs but we got through without any questions asked. We walked to our car and drove straight to our local Lidl to do some grocery shopping. It felt a bit disappointing to shop at the Lidl only 17,5 hours after I was shopping at the world largest store.

So comes an end to this fantastic trip, I hope you all enjoyed reading the blog at least as much as did writing it. I know Danielle enjoyed her combined anniversary & birthday trip a lot and she’ll never know or I’m ever going to surprise her like this.

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