Saturday, June 25, 2005

Skyping from Lufthansa 

Today I was travelling from Frankfurt to Miami on my way to the ENUM Summit on a Lufthansa Boing 747 equipped with Wireless LAN and an Internet Connexion. Since some of the co-bloggers already bragged about Skype in the Air, I had to try it out immediately, first calling my wife on her mobile and then chatting and talking with some of my Skype buddies. Everybody confirmed that the quality was excellent, even if I was not using a headset and considering the background noise in the plane. The price of the Internet connection for the whole 10h flight was $29, which i quite reasonalble compared with mobile date roaming charges.

Weather in Miami is hot and humid, and aircondition at the airport needs an overhaul, especially at the passport control. Travelling to the US is getting more and more a pain in the a**. Although over 30 positions where open, it took me 1h to pass. Since Miami seems to be the only airport in the US where you have separate queues on each position, I again made the usual mistake to take the shortest queue, which of course was the slowest.

I basically have no idea why I still need to fill out this green form, having my passport scanned in Vienna and Frankfurt and they have me on record since years. Taking the picture and scanning the fingerprints is the least problem, it is all this paperwork and stamping and correcting the addess in the US and ...

Again I reccommend to do future meetings in Canada or the US is giving me a Visa which allows me to go through a fast lane.

I also again propose that any US citizen has to fill out a similar form with the same silly questions and has to queue up separate. The form has to be checked extensively to be filled out correctly and then they may throw it in the wastebasket.

Did you ever travel to the German Democratic Republic? Same thing. What is the conclusion now?
Yes, the first time in the late '70s at Friedrichstrasse and also Checkpoint Charlie. I cannot remember exactly how long it took, but since I was travelling to the US also at this time and I was asked: "how ws it?", and my reply was: "Basically very similar to US-immigration". So it must have been shorter. Good ol' times ;-)
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