analytical Q May-Aug 2000Sept-Dec 2000ContactDiscussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

21 September 2000 Thursday



I like planning my trip around fixed anchor points. Tonight, I wanted to see and hear Esther Dyson speak at London Business School at 6 pm. This meant, I had to catch the 1625 flight from Frankfurt.

Using the logic of dynamic programming, I started from the end and worked backwards. To catch this flight, I had to check-in between 3:30 and 4 pm. To get to the "Flughafen" by 3:30 pm, I had to catch the S8 train which took 17 minutes - every 10 or 15 minutes. To get to the train station, I had to leave the hotel by 3 pm.

I did not want to panic. But it was easy to do so, when everything around me was in a foreign language. Luckily the "Flughafen" was written in the universal symbol of the airplane. By the time, I got to the airport, however, it was already 3:45 pm. The check-in queues were too long for my liking. The so-called "Quick check-in" machines did not like English speakers. So I tried my luck in the Lufthansa Business Lounge at 4 pm. The lady reassured me that I had another 5 minutes before I had to go - why not have a drink? I let out a sigh of relief.

Even being the first out of the airplane, the first in line for immigration did not guarantee me that I would be on the Heathrow Express as I had planned. Murphy's Law struck! The immigration officer was a trainee. "When in doubt, write it down." He copied almost everything from my passport. Just when I thought he gained the confidence to finally stamp my passport, he asked his supervisor to verify everything he had jotted down. I was going to hit the roof at this point!



Related diary entries:
Racing Against Time