We were getting hungry and the kids wanted to go to McDonald's (again) so we headed there. *** Since Ryan had been to Germany before, he was of course the "expert" and insisted on ordering for us since Mike and Amanda were not there to bail us out when our communication skills failed us. I tried to tell Ryan that the airport workers are going to know enough english for us to order but he insisted. *** Kyle wanted a plain double cheeseburger so Ryan ordered something like "Der Nei Di Cheeseburger" in his best German accent. The lady laughed and immediately said, in perfect english, "do you want a plain cheeseburger?".
We went back to the gate to try the last flight of the day, another Atlanta flight at 1:50. By now the gate attendants all knew us and were saying "you guys again?" (in a friendly way). At about 1:35 the plane was loaded and our name was called. I went to the counter and the attendant asks "did you get the tennis shoe problem resolved?". Turns out they had 4 seats for us in Business Elite but would not allow us on the plane with those non-conformant shoes. I begged, pleaded, and told her we did everything we could. Not good enough... the Germans culture is to follow rules to the letter and they even printed out the dress code and showed us. I explained they would be taking them off as soon as we got on the plane and would be wearing the foot warmer socks (gotta love first class) just like everyone else. Still no go. I told her Ryan had flown Business Elite 3 times this year with the exact same pair of shoes on and no one ever said anything. Still no go. *** She really did want us to go but just could not bend the rules. She suggested one other store at the opposite end of the terminal we were in. I took off running (we were down to about 5 minutes before the gate closed). I get to the store, interrupt two clerks babbling in German, and ask if they have any shoes that would fit 9 and 12 year old boys. I think the only words they understood were "Shoes" and she pointed me to a counter that had some lovely pink clog type shoes with flowers painted on the toes. I figured those would be worse than what they had on already and took off back to the gate. *** When I got there, Gina said the attendant had gone out to consult with the flight crew to see if they would let us on. With about a minute left, she came out and said they would allow us on the flight. Whew... finally we were headed home.