DM and MM's Europe 2022 Diary

Day 2 - Singapore

Saturday, 18 June, 2022

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We’re still in Changi Airport in Singapore. We found some seats in the Singapore Airlines lounge, which was very crowded when we arrived. but as the evening wore on past midnight the lucky people slowly dispersed to their flights, leaving us behind. We moved to a quiet corner where there was a sofa. They had blankets, and other people were sleeping on other sofas, so we figured they allowed this. M. took the sofa, but there was only one available, so I made do on an adjacent armchair. I closed my eyes and struggled to try and sleep but couldn’t really get any sleep.

M. woke up at about 05:00, being what would be a normal rising time of 7am back in Sydney. She went to get some breakfast from the lounge food area. When she came back she said she’d checked her email and there was a message from Lufthansa that our flight had been delayed further, with departure pushed back from 08:40 to 22:40 - a delay of another 14 hours! This made the total delay now 23 hours.

Changi Airport
Changi Airport, Singapore

I had some muesli for breakfast too, and then we took stock to decide what to do. The new arrival time in Frankfurt would be 06:00 on Sunday. I’d found through some searching a couple of places in Würzburg that are open for COVID testing on Sundays. So we figure we can still get to our hotel, check in early on Sunday (around 09:00 maybe by the time we get the train from Frankfurt), go and get a rapid COVID test, then head to the nursing home to see Jenny. They don’t want us to arrive between 11:30 and 14:30, because that’s lunch time and often when the residents take a nap. Our plan had been to pick her up before 11:30 to go out for lunch together, but I don’t think we’ll be able to make that any more. So I emailed the nursing home to tell them we were delayed and would probably arrive after 14:30 on Sunday.

I also emailed our hotel to say we’d be arriving a day late, but that we want to keep the full booking so we can check in and use the room when we arrive early in the morning.

This done, we decided to see if we could get Lufthansa or Singapore Airlines to get us a hotel room for the day, so we could shower and try to sleep a bit. We spoke to the Singapore staff at the transit counter, but they said that they couldn’t do anything for us because, even though our flight was booked through Singapore as a codeshare, the flight is operated by Lufthansa, so they bear all the responsibility for any delays. So we asked where we could speak to someone from Lufthansa. They called the other transit desk (that we’d seen last night where everyone was waiting to see the Lufthansa staff) and then told us that there was currently nobody from Lufthansa there, and nobody would be arriving until 19:30! Presumably because they don’t normally operate flights out of Singapore except late in the evening.

We asked if there was any hotel we could stay in at our own expense. The Singapore Airlines woman mentioned the transit hotel that we’d tried unsuccessfully last night. She called them, and they told her they had rooms available from 10:00. So we walked over there again and put our names on a waiting list for rooms. They hire rooms out in blocks of 6 hours, so we figured a 12 hour block would give us 10:00 to 22:30, just before our flight is currently scheduled to leave. It was very expensive, about AU$430 for 12 hours. But we checked our travel insurance policy online and we’re pretty sure it covers unexpected expenses due to delays. M. also suggested we should first try to claim the money back from Lufthansa as well.

They told us to come back around 09:45. We left and went back to the lounge to sit for a bit. We had some water, but it was busy and noisy, so we decided to go back to the hotel and sit there in the reception area because it was quieter. It was lucky we did, because a room became available from 09:00, and they even let us in before that time. We went in, had showers to freshen up, and then tried to get some sleep. M. managed to sleep, but I was just lying awake unable to fall asleep for 2.5 hours, despite being so tired, probably since it’s daytime in Sydney and my body thinks it should be awake.

She woke up just before 12:00 and we decided to go get some lunch because we were hungry.


We went back to the Singapore lounge, since we have access and they have free food there. It wasn’t very busy compared to breakfast time and last night. We ate our fill from the hot food buffet and finished with some fruit. Then we headed back to the transit hotel to rest some more.

Butterfly in Changi Airport
Butterfly, Changi Airport butterfly garden, Singapore

We stopped along the way to go through the butterfly garden. It was hot and bright with partly filtered sunlight, and hundreds of butterflies were fluttering around. It was easy to see them up close and take photos as they rested on plants, as well as flowers and slices of pineapple that they put out for them to feed from.

Butterfly in Changi Airport
Butterfly, Changi Airport butterfly garden, Singapore

Now we’re back in the hotel room, trying to have another rest or nap before probably yet another free meal in the lounge for dinner.


We’ve just taken off, finally, from Changi Airport. Our flight boarded at the expected time of 22:40. However, there was a further delay once we were on board. The captain told us in an announcement the reason for the initial delay. Two members of the crew independently fell sick in Singapore. Apparently they have contingency plans for one crew member to be incapacitated, but not two, so they had to fly out an extra crew member from Germany for our flight. And then that person had to have a legally specified minimum rest period before working on our flight, thus resulting in the total delay of 23 hours.

We noticed on the departure boards that there was another flight leaving for Frankfurt at 23:40 as well - Saturday’s regular flight. M. got a little confused for a second, thinking that was our flight and telling me the wrong gate number. Apparently some other passengers on our flight thought the same thing, because once we were on board and had been waiting for some time without any movement, the captain announced that we couldn’t leave because three passengers had checked bags on the flight, but had not boarded or shown up at the gate. They assumed they were at the gate for the later flight and were trying to find them, but not having any luck.

After almost an hour of sitting motionless at the departure gate, they announced that they’d located two of the missing three passengers and they had boarded, but they were still missing one. As a result, they were now searching through all the baggage in the hold, looking for that passenger’s luggage to remove it from the plane. This was supposed to take another twenty minutes or so.

It took longer than that. We finally pushed back from the gate at 24:15, an hour and 35 minutes after our rescheduled departure time, for a total delay from the original departure time of 24 hours and 35 minutes. We were actually leaving after the next day’s regular flight. In other words, if we’d departed Sydney a day later, we would be arriving in Frankfurt sooner.

Earlier, we had indeed gone back to the Singapore Airlines lounge for dinner. At least all our food on this epic delay was free. We rested back in our hotel room until 21:00 and then left to sit in the lounge yet again for half an hour before finally heading to the gate.

Good news on board is that the guy who had the seat next to me agreed happily to swap seats with M., so that we could sit together. Our assigned seats had been window seats in the same row on opposite sides of the plane, and all the ground staff could do was to suggest asking adjacent passengers once we were on board if they’d mind swapping. So there’s at least that.

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