No bloody thanks!!!!!
Gone are the days that I eagerly went to the airport,,,,they were places of excitement, glamour, interest...no longer!
This is partly because I have now traveled so much, the novelty & charm have worn off, but mostly because these days it has become a miserable nightmare of an experience! Security....size of airports....grumpy staff...the list goes on..
I came across this quote , which is so true...
"When you're standing in line at the airport, and your shoes are off, your belt is off, and your personal belongings are being closely scrutinized, and you're standing with your hands in the air, waiting to be patted down, do you feel protected? I don't. I feel like I'm the enemy - John McAfee"
I understand airport security..I do!
After 9/11, the world became a scarier place, but there has to be a sensible balance....
When once you were told to be at the airport 3 hrs before your flight, it gave you plenty of time...to check in, farewell friends, enter the departure area, maybe have a snack, browse the shops, before making your leisurely way to boarding...no longer!
5 hrs would be a more realistic time frame to do these things...
Security is a ridiculous nightmare of over the top paranoia !
At Sydney, I had to go through full on Xray procedures, THREE times, before boarding my plane...every time emptying pockets, bags, taking off clothes, shoes etc!
Where did they think I was getting weapons, bombs, chemical warfare items, in the short distance/time between checks? Are some of the staff in the departure area, dealing in these things?
So...some dude had explosive materials, inside his boot soles, years ago, so making people take of their boots, closed shoes, etc, makes some sense...but a pair of rubber jandals? Come on!
Then asking if I have electronic devices (laptop, tablet, et al) inside my carryon...surely the xray machine will pick this up, without me having to drag it all out, at the risk of mislaying some of it as they try & hurry you off the end of the belt...
Unthinkingly, I still had things in my pockets, at Sydney (yep...OZ is one of the nitpicking worst)...the hysteria caused by a asthma inhaler, 3 Singaporean coins, worth 15 cents, & the magnet on my money clip, had to be witnessed to be believed...crazy shit!
Some poor young lad had a number of facial piercings, plus multiple ear studs/rings & one in his tongue....he had to stand there for about 5 mins, unscrewing & removing them all...WTF?
They could see what was setting off the machine....they wanded him down, & the only thing that was causing the beep was his piercings, so why the need to remove them all, other than being crazed with their own power?
Thank God he didnt have a Prince Albert in his nether regions...LMAO!
Meanwhile, the queue stood there, seething with impatience, as our 3 hrs ticked by....
Now...my next pet bugbear...the size of airports!
Yes, I do realise that as more & more, & bigger & bigger planes join the fray, airports must expand to fit them all in....but it would appear that the customers are getting lost in the equation...
If you are unlucky enough to get a gate at the far reaches of the airport (which I ALWAYS am...lol) you end up walking half way to your destination, before your bum even gets into your seat,,,
Ok, exaggeration...BUT...I shit you not...the departure board at Kuala Lumpur, tells you the time needed to walk to each gate...it was a 53 min walk to my gate !!!!!
I was well over traveling, by this stage....tired, hot, juggling multiple bags (one of them bound & determined to fall apart)...I had had enough!
I did think of lying on the floor & performing a world class tantrum...yanno? the full nine yards...drumming my feet, screaming incoherently...LOL
Instead, I approached the Customer Service desk & firmly stated that I couldnt do it...53 mins would be for a healthy person, not an old girl with respiratory problems...my plane was departing in 60mins...not a possible feat!
She did try to chide me, by saying I shouldnt have left it too late, but after a rant from me, regarding inane security holdups, & no warning at any time prior to this, about the distance of the gate, she called someone, & a wee man turned up in a little cart, & took me 3/4 of the way, before we arrived at ANOTHER security checkpoint...sighhhhhh
Along the way we passed a couple of elderly ladies, shuffling along looking really distressed, & I firmly made the guy stop & pick them up..
One of these women was an elderly Malaysian woman, with family who were almost carrying her....she said that after 15mins she was ready to turn around, & go home...
None of these people were aware that you could demand transport...they had asked for wheelchairs when they realised the distance, but were told they had to arrange these in advance...WTF?
If airports are going to expand to these sizes, ground transport to the outer gates should be a given...is that an unreasonable expectation?
To add to the problems are these blasted Duty Free shops, you must traverse, before you even get to the getting to the gate affair...
They are getting the size of large shopping malls! It takes you a good 10 mins to get to the other side!
If people want Duty Free, it should be in a seperate area, that you choose to go to, instead of this forced march through the middle of consumerism!
OK...enough about airports...I could rave on for days...LOL
Oh Wait...let me give a bunch of roses to one airport, for their arrival process...Denpasar Airport, in Bali!
I made the decision to stop off in Bali , for 5 days, on my way home...break my long journey, in an effort to avoid jet lag !
(Crazy thing...I have never suffered jet lag in all my life...but in the past two long haul trips, coming home from down under, the jet lag has been terrible...must be just another burden of old age....grrrrrrr)
Anyway....it had been a terrible trip from NZ
Stuffed in a middle seat (yep...I.m too miserable to pay extra to choose the seat I want...LOL) in a huge plane, with hard, upright seats & no leg room (bad bad Air NZ), I was seated between two 20 something yr old girls, who were on some kind of large group trip, who because of their own, or Air NZ mismanagement, were scattered individually, all over the plane...
They were not best pleased, & as soon as the plane turned off the seat belt signs, they busily (& loudly) set about trying to rearrange the whole plane to their satisfaction...
I originally had a man seated next to me, on the aisle, but he was bullied out of his seat, to allow one of these little madams to join her friend on the other side of me....I did actually suggest that one of them could swap seats with me...let me have the window seat, then they could sit next to each other....but no, they didnt want the middle seat!
The outcome was that I was subjected to loud, over excited chatter & inane giggling, for 7 hours, as they leaned across me, to share mindless conversation....coupled with constant squirming about as they tried to see what the rest of their group were doing....now I understand what air rage is all about...lol
To add insult to injury, the "insistant on the window seat" bitch, promptly pulled the window slide down, for the entire journey...WTF?
The plane was also insanely HOT...the newest planes have dispensed with those tiny, personal air blowers above your seat, & now have central cooling, dictated by the flight staff....who despite constant complaining from many passengers, were disinclined to alter the temperature...I think they were trying to stun us into a heat induced stupour, to keep us quiet & compliant....LMAO
So...all & all, by the time we reached Bali, I was a sodden, overtired wreck!
After another marathon trek from the plane to the immigration hall, my heart sunk as I saw the HUGE queues (Bali is well known for this...their arrival procedues are a shambles!)....I was nearly in tears by this point!
Suddenly, an official woman, sternly called me out of the queue...OMG, what had I done? She asked for my passport, perused it carefully, then said "you are over 60, come this way please...Welcome to Bali"
Turns out they have a dedicated queue for the over 60's....I was out of the airport in 10 mins!!!!! Well done, Denpasar Airport!!!
On the beach, the next day, I met a couple who had been on the same plane...they had been in the immigration queue for FOUR HOURS!!!!
A perk for oldies...imagine that ! LOL
Last, but not least...
5 days later, back at the airport....looking forward to my trip home....a short 2 hr flight to Kuala Lumpur...4 hr layover...then 1hr 10 min flight to Saigon...easy peasy!
Short walk to Gate 2 (Yay), bum on seat...ready to roll...my beloved Saigon, here I come!
The plane eases out onto runway...stops, & there we sit....& sit....& sit....for 2 HOURS!
What the hell?
Turns out we were waiting for some important people's planes to land on the main runway...
Now, I had read online that there was a conference of Asian leaders taking place in Bali, starting that day...it was some of them, holding up the works!
My question is...
What were they thinking?
It was not as though this had come as a big surprise...they knew they were coming...probably for months!....why did they not organise other flights around them?
I finally made it home...I felt like kissing the ground! LMAO