Sunday, March 2, 2014
Airports and Other Joys of Air Travel
I just got home from a 1:1 conference in Bombay. I am a pretty patient person. I have also traveled enough there isn't really much about airports that can surprise me. I also realized that by the time I land I have forgotten about the annoyances at the previous airport or two. In order to share a slice of my day, I am having to force myself to relive this morning.
My school had booked my airport transfer through the hotel (not the way I roll when I am taking care of the arrangements). I called last night to make sure my pickup time was set. My roommate's flight was many hours earlier than mine. I awoke to find that my internet had been turned off. I figured out right away what had happened, she checked out and they turned it off. I called down to remind them that I was still there and would like to have access (and reconfirmed my airport transfer).
After I finished my breakfast I went to turn in my key and let them know I was ready for my transfer. They informed me that my transfer had already left with my roommate as their directions said 'one transfer per room'. I told them that she left 3.5 hours ago. Did it really make sense for me to have gone with her? They asked if we had shared a transfer when we arrived. I said we hadn't as she didn't want to wait at the airport the several hours before my plane landed. I also pointed out that I had confirmed my transfer twice in the past twelve hours. After some discussion in a language that was not English so I can only infer what was said, I was told that a car would be pulling around for me.
On a Sunday morning there was no traffic so I arrived at the airport in no time. There were several entrances into the airport. Of the three I was closest to, one had a long line and two were empty. Bombay has a new international airport so I wasn't sure how things would go. The last time I flew out of there everyone's bags were scanned upon entering the airport, which could have explained the line. (It was more of a mob the last time.) I caught the eye of two of the guards standing at the empty entrance and they signaled that I could approach. I showed them my passport and told them my flight. They said I had to have a ticket. Um, I had an eticket and was already checked in. They started conferring in another language. While they were conferring I pulled out a copy of my itinerary (not a ticket at all), but this satisfied them and I was allowed to enter the airport.
I had checked in online so wasn't really concerned about the length of the line for my flight. I had my aisle seats, had already confirmed the legality of the objects in my bags, and had told that I would just need to drop off my bags and pick up my boarding passes upon my arrival at the airport. I joined the queue and when a representative passed by I inquired if there was a separate line for dropping off bags. He pointed me to another area. I knew it wasn't the correct line as the gentlemen were sitting behind a solid wall with no place to accept bags through the wall, but I followed the directions I had been given. Those gentlemen directed me back to the line I had now abandoned my spot in. I told them that the gentlemen there had sent me this way and explained why. I was then shuttled to another kiosk where I waited my turn.
I will spare you the conversation with that agent as it involved things like my telling him I had checked in and him asking me if I had checked in, after he was looking at my checked in record on his computer screen. Once I saw the luggage tags be affixed to my bags I headed to immigration.
This section appeared to be well thought out. It was open and bright with at least forty immigration counters spread down an expansive space. There were several different lines depending on where you were going and what your passport/ID was as well as a very direct, short line for elderly and babies in arms. I got in the line for 'all other passports'. And then I stood. And stood. And stood. Upon further observation each of the other lines, with about 20 people per line, had a couple of immigration officers working the line. The direct, short line has five or six people and two officers working the line. The line I got to join had at least forty people and, wait for it, one immigration agent. Ya, that was fun.
Having re-lived all of this and I am not even into the terminal has me ready to stop writing and go spend some time with my husband. I will add that the fun things like people headed on a religious pilgrimage who feel the need to push and shove to be sure they are first is hard to stomach. That goes along with there being people standing in the aisles as soon as the plane has landed and slowed down to nearly stopping, the first time. Ah, the joys of air travel.