I fucking hate flying. Not the little bit in the middle when you are actualy in the air actually flying but the tedious, monotony that goes hand in hand with the process of getting on to the transport to take you to your destination. The endless queing under the rheumy jaundiced eye of government clock watchers who seem to thrive on making your experience in an airport as unpleasant as possible. It ‘s sad to say but it’s that old cliche, give them a uniform and hey presto, un kleines Hitler. (It start’s with my outward bound flight from Dublin three months ago where everyone seems to have a uniform and done some Fas sponsored assertivenesss course, the pink shirted feckers that marshall you around the massive queues, the plethora of shoe and belt screeners and t.v.eyeballers looking for nail files you might use to hijack the plane with or give a hostey a manicure with. The security screening lot I especially despise, they give each other knowing looks and loudly bark, and bully people relentlessy through their inneficient system because they can, you have read the signs, don’t abuse them they have the authority to stop your journey, fucking typical, government employees dealing with private sector paying customers, an un-Civel no-Service, ‘we’re doin ya a favor budd’, mentality.)
Train stations, bus stations, taxi ranks I have no problem with but airports I cannot stand. Some are worse than others but most are absolutely awful places to have to be.
They always seem to be in some horrible out of the way place that costs more to get to than another horrible out of the way place that just happens to be the same distance from whatever town you happen to be in but doesn’t have an airport. Getting into them is a pain, lack of baggage trollys, or baggage trollys that veer to one side or baggage trollys commandeered by surly porters you have no choice but to use at extortionate rates.
Security check, passports and ticket, scan bags, scan bodies, body search, its endless. I had it in Turkey, Syria, everywhere.
You try your best to beat it, you arrive early, you follow the code but you can never beat the airport blues.
Amman in Jordan has this really crazy system where you get through the baggage scan que’s and join the next que to get your boarding pass, arriving good and early, as a considerate flyers should. So there you are waiting in line, not going anywhere fast, because the que Commandant is shouting out for anyone on a nearly departing flight to make themselves known so that they can be ushered to the top of the que like royalty and placed ahead of all of those responsible passengers that gave themselves enough time to go through the tedious process of getting themselves onto the flight on time, instead of saying nothing, letting the tardy bastards que and then shutting the flight in their faces. So once again you get airside without enough time to feed yourselves barely making the departure gate. The message here is fuck the airports and airlines and your fellow travellers, it pays to arrive late.
Thinking about this started off this evening in Colombo, Sri Lanka where we arrived at the airport after a 6 hour van ride from the south and got throught the que-search-scan-scan-search-que thing, that was fine, expected even. We then were told we would have to wait and hour before we could enter the area where we could get rid of our baggage and get our boarding cards. So we spent the hour monitoring Axel and running after Elka, both creating their own little vortex’s of chaos much to the amusement of the travelling public. Elka pointing her fingers like a pistol at anyone who tries to engage her in pleasantries, shouting Ghooooaghwhey in a gravelly newspaper vendor’s voice whilst scowling like a Hammer House of Horrors bit part actress. Eventually we get through and move from one que to get in to the new que to gain boarding cards. We get to the top of the que hand in our passports and e-tickets, I start to load our bags onto the conveyor, the porter I engaged when we arrived at the airport is long gone, with full pay. There is a problem with the tickets, and I have to take the bags back off the conveyor onto the poxy trolly and que up some where else. I am now in the airport two and a half hours and am still not airside. I am getting pissed. At our new que there is only us, it is still effectively a que as we still have to wait before something happens to allow us to progress to the next, I don’t know, maybe que. Eventually the ticket issue is resolved and we are brought back to the top of the first que we were in to re-load the bags. This particular que has changed since we were first in it and is full of new que’ees who don’t know us, or why we are being brought ahead of them (like Jordan) and the looks correspond to their feelings, they don’t like it one bit, Lisa is trying to explain to the guy at the top who we have just cut in on, and I couldn’t give a flying fiddlers at this stage, mutual hostility. It’s no wonder there are so many fights in airports. We re-load the bags and are told that we have to pay for excess baggage. I thought after so much hassle I might get away with it this time but no, dream on. We have an allowance for 8 bags under 23 kilos but have only six , three of which weigh between 28 and 32 kilos so even though we are carrying less weight that we might be allowed it is the distribution of that weight that gets us penalised every time we fly. Every time it is about $50 or $60. To avoid it all I have to do is buy a $20 bag. The kids are hungry and tired, so is Lisa, so am I. I have to pay the $50 or rupee equivalent and am told they will accept a debit card, great no more hassle. Off we go to the excess baggage/over the barrel counter and my debit card won’t work. Lisa takes her boarding cards and the kids and heads airside I take mine and go off in search of an ATM which are all located outside the airport. Securtiy won’t let me out, need a transit exit card, back to the desk, get a transit exit card and out again. Nearly get outside and am stopped by security, after a phone call I can get out to the ATM if I leave my passport and boarding card with them, ok, too tired to argue the point that why would I give my passport and boarding card to someone else just so they can get my flight, anyway what do I know about airport security, mind you this is all done with a smile. (take note Aer Rianta, assertive smiling courses). Find ATM, yes, it works, yes. Return through the first que-search-scan that I encountered two hours ago and go through and pay the excess baggage, then through passport control and through to the other side where Lisa hails me. The kids and her have been waiting for me to get through as I have the money and all the airside restaurants require up front payment. I am now in the airport about four hours, the flight is boarding soon, won’t even have time for a $8 beer, christ I really hate flying.