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Print Pass Off... "I didn’t choose this life, it chose me"

Print Pass Off... "I didn't choose this life, it chose me"


A diary entry from one of our Technical Print Specialists, George Barker, on a print pass off overseas.

Many people are envious of a job that comes with travel abroad, but many don't see the reality of what it actually entails. On this occasion George was passing off 3 designs for a protein snack company.

We will always send one of our Technical Print Specialists to pass off a new print job and will always invite our customers to come along if they wish.

We guarantee 100% print quality.


3am My alarm goes off and I go to catch my flight at Manchester airport

4.15am I arrive in departures hall to find my flight to Thessaloniki has been cancelled and diverted to Athens. After asking why, I was told the main runway in Thessaloniki was out of use and the second runway was deemed unsafe to land on!

I was due to be on press at 12 midday so I went through security and booked my own internal flight to get me from Athens to Thessaloniki. After another delay I finally arrived in Athens. With more security checks combined with the delay I had to sprint to the departure gate to catch the internal flight!

2.35pm 11 hours since I awoke and I finally get to the factory to start the day’s work. There was an urgent printing plate required for one of the three designs, so I handed the new plate which was checked into my hand luggage. In the meantime I pulled out my laptop and began to work remotely.

4pm The first sample was ready to check and we needed to change the anilox in order to improve the ink lay down on the paper substrate. At 5.30pm the first design is passed off.

6.15pm German wings who was my carrier for the first return flight of the trip emailed me… in German. Desperately trying to google translate, it described a time change for my flight but the airport code was incorrect. I phoned germanwings but the line was closed for the evening. I then phoned who I made the booking through and they weren’t aware of the changes. They told me they would call me back first thing in the morning.

7.30pm Second design is ready, some slight changes were made in order to achieve a best result and the final sample was signed off at 8.35pm.

10.30pm Final design was ready, although we needed to change the anilox again to get the best ink lay down and at 11.45pm the last sample was signed off. I switched off the laptop ordered a taxi, grabbed some food and went back to my hotel arriving at 1.30am… a 22 hour day!

The next day…

8am Checking my emails I see German wings has emailed again… once more in German. Flight diverted and delayed AGAIN. Instead of flying from Thessaloniki I was now to fly from Kavala, 3 hours away with no train or bus connections.

10am The only solution was to rent a hire car. I walked into the town centre and after 30 minutes, and a few encounters with some very unhelpful locals, I found a hire car office. They said they had a Fiat Panda available, but the rate was 65 euros for the day and another 50 euros to leave the car at Kavala, but I had no other option. A nice 2 mile walk to the offsite car park and a few signatures and I was away.

11am No fuel, little radio signal and without Bluetooth for 3 hours the voicemails and emails were relentless.

2.15pm After checking in I headed for security but I was hungry. I asked a lady at a kiosk before security if there were any restaurants beyond this area to which she advised ‘Yes, there is the same kiosk at the other side’. Given the events of the previous 48 hours it made perfect sense for me to eat at the kiosk after security to overcome any further obstacles at this stage in the trip. But as with all great stories, there is a twist...  Of course the kiosk was closed on the other side with no other outlet for food. Seeking refuge in Duty Free I find a Toblerone and a diet coke!

4.40pm Yes the time is correct, the flight was delayed by a further hour for no apparent reason. The plane had been sat on the runway the full time I was there, so close I could almost touch it! No WiFi to get back to any of the emails piling up in my inbox. We took off at 4.50pm and arrived in Dusseldorf at 5.30pm local time. I luckily managed to find some food before I had to check in and pass through security queues all over again.

6.30pm Security for the 4th time today. I get to the lounge and start working but with 85 emails, 18 customer calls offs and a plethora of spreadsheets to complete I had my work cut out. With all this I unfortunately lost track of time and before I knew it I had worked for 1 hour 30 mins which left 25 mins to get from the lounge to my gate! With the added baggage of my “winter weight” and having to run 0.25 miles to the gate at the opposite side of Dusseldorf airport left me feeling like these last two days weren’t my best.

8.45pm The tiny four across aircraft takes off and it’s the final leg. I arrive in Manchester at 9.30pm local time and by the time I pass security and get to my car it is 10.15pm. One hour later I arrive home. Showered and after brushing my teeth I crawl into bed at midnight.

A very challenging two days but somehow I feel a sense of achievement from getting to the other side of it.

I didn’t choose this life, it chose me... When’s the next trip?