Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Airport Craziness

I think everyone has a love-hate relationship with airports. At least I know I do. Sure they're sort of like a bus stop for airplanes, and they keep you nice and warm while you wait for your plane to arrive. Hell, they even valet all of your luggage and make sure none of your fellow passengers are carrying any weapons.

But those of you that know me, and those of you who don't but read my blog, know that I can rant about almost anything. Yes, the Airport is no exception, and from the many trips I've embarked upon over the years, I've noticed some downright nonsensical things.

It all starts with the lines. When you go to an airport, there is a minimum of three lines you have to wait through. One for check in, one for security, and one for boarding. On my last international adventure, I had to wait in FIVE lines in Chennai International Airport. There was an additional line for checked baggage screening and a second security line at the gate.

Ok, I understand and respect the need for security, but common...FIVE lines to wait through is a little excessive.

Then you get to your gate where you wait around for the boarding call. It's always interesting to observe what people do to pass the time. I'm always scared to sleep for fear of missing my plane. I also don't like to listen to music yet because I'm afraid I'll miss some important announcement like a gate change or something.

Then, if you decided to go peruse a store, you've got to deal with toting your luggage around behind you. I usually just bring a backpack with me, so this isn't much of a problem, but a lot of people have those mini-suitcases with the rollers that aren't exactly the most nimble little things when navigating through isles.

What if you get hungry? Bad news. Crossing security in an airport is like entering Earth - year 2040, where after 33 years of inflation running rampant, everything costs triple what it should.

Sandwich? 8 bucks.
Bottle of Water? 3 bucks
Cinnabun? 5 bucks

I usually stroll into the magazine store and treat it like a library, reading stuff until its almost boarding time.

A lot of airports these days have more than just the food and magazine places. Many, especially international airports, are like mini malls! Honestly, I don't know how these places stay in business because who really buys regular stuff at an airport?

In Malaysia, there were designer stores all over the place! I'm perplexed as to how they manage to sell anything. "Ah Shucks! Maybe I'll just pick up this Gucci shirt before I get on the plane!" I'm not even considering the fact that this is Gucci - year 2040 where the shirt is God-knows-how-much-more.

The best stores are those ones that carry all of the gizmo's you see in "Sky mall" Magazine, mostly because everything is plugged in! If you're lucky, one of those crazy electronic message chairs (which give mediocre messages but its better than nothing) will be vacant and you can just chill in the store until they kick you out.

And speaking of messages, its always fun to chat with people in other airports, and find out what they do and where they're going. The coolest person I ever met in airport was in Las Vegas when I was on the way to Alaska. I was in line at a ridiculously overpriced Starbucks when this phenomenally cute girl got in line behind me. (of course this had nothing to do with why I starting talking to her :)

We started chatting and she revealed to me the she is from Atlanta. Now however she lives in Hawaii and is a professional masseuse.

Postulate number 505 in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness": Cute Girl + Hawaii + Masseuse = Happy Arun.

As much as I wanted to change my ticket right then and there to go to Hawaii instead of frigid Alaska, I knew I couldn't. Instead I began scheming of ways to temporarily take advantage of the abilities of my new friend. The conversation went like this:

Me: "How do you manage to massage people all day? Don't your hands get tired?"
Cute Girl: "No, you build special muscles when you do it all the time. You wouldn't be able to do it all day."
Me: (incredulously) What!?! Are you saying I'm weak!?! (now sarcastically) You know, I DO work out!"
Cute Girl: (Laughing at my shocked facial expression more than my joke) "No! I didn't mean that!" (now sarcastically) "You are really strong. (proceeds to playfully squeeze my arm feeling my muscle)

At this, I sensed an opportunity, and I charged full speed ahead!

Me: "OOH! You know my arm is a little sore there!"
Her: (now massaging my arm) "How's that?"
Me: "That's good my but (now with a rye smile on my face) my back is even worse!"
Her: "Well why don't we go sit down."

BINGO! Free half hour massage! She also said if I ever go to Hawaii, I could go and get one from her for FREE! Too bad I don't remember the island she lives on, nor her name. All I remember is that she works at the Sheraton Hotel.

Now, on the other side of the spectrum, let me share with you my worst airport experience courtesy of India Airlines.

I arrived at the airport in New Delhi around 8am for a 10am flight down to Chennai. Flight gets delayed to 11am. No big deal delays happen all the time

Flight gets delayed again to 12pm. This kind of sucks!

12pm rolls around I hear this lovely announcement: "Good afternoon! Flight XXX to Chennai, India is now cancelled. Have a good day!"

Have a good day??? Are you kidding me! I'll show you "have a good day!"

It turns out the grounds crews for Indian airlines went on strike. What ensued thereafter was total chaos. There is no structure in the Indian airports! In America, there's a nice roped off line to the ticket counter that you wait in. In India, there are multiple "lines" but everyone tries to merge in and cut in front of you. Eventually this turns into just a giant mob of people at the ticket counter.

We basically had sneak and muscle our way up to the front to speak with the clerk. To save you the frustration eliciting details, let me just say, I was stuck at the airport from 8 in the morning until 9:30 at night when we finally took off.

When it finally comes time to board, and this is true in most any airport, its funny to observe how everyone is in such a rush to get on the plane. As soon as they announce boarding, everyone stands up and starts crowding the front of the line.

I don't know what the rush to be the first on the airplane is. I personally would rather sit in that thing as little as possible.

Somehow, people still don't know that they board first class first, then people travelling with small children, then everyone else by section.

Then there are those people who try to weasel in early by tyring to use their 10 year old kid as a "small child." Please.

Others try to sneak in even if the current section boarding is not theirs. I always enjoy it when the Gate Agent doesn't let them on and makes them embarrassingly step aside until their section is called.

And thus starts the second half of your adventure...The Airplane Journey!

1 comment:

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