Okay, not literally flying blind, but it's called Blind Booking. The air carrier GermanWings offers incredibly cheap flat rate flights from certain destinations (one of which is Stuttgart) to a handful of destination cities. The trick: you choose when you want to fly & they choose your destination (obviously based on seats they have left). When my friends first mentioned Blind Booking I was extremely intrigued by the notion. It fascinates me because I like adventure and simple clueless wanderings, and it's just enough unknown to make the Type-A planner-to-the-last-detail in me squirm.
From Stuttgart, there are four groupings available to choose from: Culture (Barcelona, Budapest, Dresden, Leipzig, Lisbon, Rome, & Vienna); Metropolis Eastern Europe (Belgrade, Budapest, Dresden, Leipzig, & Zagreb); Metro Western Europe (Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon, London, Rome, & Vienna); and Party (Barcelona, Belgrade, Berlin, Budapest, Lisbon, London, & Vienna).
For 30 Euro (really twice that due to taxes) you can fly somewhere. Where? Well, that's where the fine print comes in.
For a few weeks now, I've been waging a battle within me about how much planning should be allowed in preparation for this trip. Is it cheating to plan ahead on what's suppose to be an unknown adventure? When my sister came here after Christmas, I had already booked lodging in every city, train tickets purchased, maps w/ locations & directions highlighted, and a semi-rough itinerary laid out. Part of me wants to do that for each possible city that I could be shipped to. But that goes against the attraction of Blind Booking (besides cheap airfare). A friend last week pointed out to me that I could narrow down the possibilities even further through exclusion (pay €5 fee per city excluded) and I could check to see which cities don't fly on certain days (i.e. there is no flight from Stuttgart to Lisbon on Apr 4).
I am disappointed to say that it's not as mysterious as I imagined. I romanticized that the airline would let you know your destination when you showed up at the airport to claim your ticket, or in the least the day before (realistically better so that you'd know when to get to the airport).
But not so.
Apparently when you book your flight dates and chosen destination group, the confirmation email sent immediately after informs you of where you're headed ... which sadly leads ample time to Type-A plan. Na gut.
In any case, it's a pretty sweet deal, still slightly enigmatic, and something fun to do during holiday. Now, Eastern Europe or Western or maybe Culture? (if Western, I'm excluding London & Berlin ... been to both & will be back in Berlin in June ... I want to go somewhere new and, please God, warm.)