Thursday, December 17, 2015

Assholes and airports

Paris – December 17 2015

Nine down, thirteen to go. At CDG with a transfer to LHR where for some reason I need to fiddle with my checked luggage. Two hours between fights, means hour and twenty realistically. New (to me) airport. I'm starting to stress already.

I got a few hours of sleep last evening before the flight. Gave it the three hour prior to departure treatment and did I need it. The kiosk and checking the luggage was a snap, it was that darned security screening and then …. immigration. To complete those two tasks took over and hour. I just wanted to leave. The immigration officer was older than dirt and just putting in his time until he either died from boredom or retired. I handed him my passport with a hello, followed by a How are you? Not even a blink. So I said, Did you sleep well? Doing anything special for Christmas? How's the wife and kids? - Absolutely nothing except for a point to the camera to take my exit photo. I saw the officer in the adjoining booth almost cracking up. At least that was something.

Then it was to the gate for a few minute wait. People started to make a line and when it got near six people in line – do you hear that? In line in Mumbai ? – I decided it was time to join the throng. Everyone had the same idea as I did and immediately there was a line behind me. You could tell the gate agents were just about to start embarking passengers, when the overweight tall European walked along the line and stepped right in from of me.

What the heck, Dude?
I was down there. (pointing to the part of the line near the gate)
So, you were down there, and now you are here?
Yes, do you want to fight about it? (French accent, and booze breath)
I could probably take you. (He was big, but his coordination was a bit off)
Ya, you could try.
We wouldn't be having this if you could hold your liquor.

It went downhill from there. He remarked he wouldn't sleep with me, I told him good because I didn't want to throw up. A few more exchanges and then I asked myself was it really worth it matching wits with a drunk asshole and decided to let it ride. All the rest of the time in line he kept trying to start things again, and I let it go.

As he got to the ticket agent he handed his passport and boarding pass to the agent with his right hand, and reached into his back pocket with his left hand and pulled out an index sized card bearing the image of two hand guns and held t up behind his head for me to see. I sure as hope he wasn't armed, and I sure as Hell hope he wasn't a sky Marshall or whatever Air France uses. Reflecting back on it, now I am a little worried.

The flight was gross. In India I few IndiGo airlines four times. IndiGo is a no frills “Turn and Burn” airlines. Charge a low fare for the flight and then add soft drinks, a low luggage weight, with high overage cost, that sort of carrier. One thing they did have more of than this particular Air France flight, using the same equipment (Airbus 320), IndiGo had more leg room. Knees n the back of the seat pocket to behind with, then the guy reclines to the full extent, then he puts his feet on the seat in front of him and pushes. I was worse than a for year old, kicking the back of his seat. Some unintentional, and some not so much.

Got off the plane and found that the next flight was reasonably close, so after security again, I am now at the gate waiting for the next short hop from Paris to London.

London Heathrow – 1146 am – 3:36am Seattle.

Only twelve more hours, until the land of Starbucks on every corner.

The flight from Paris to here was short. I child who had never heard the word 'No' was traveling solo behind me. The fight attendants had to tell him three ties to buckle his seat belt, and three additional times to leave the damn tray table up. Then it was as I would expect, crash, clang, thump, bang, etc. When we landed the flight attendants told him to stay in his seat and they would escort him off the flight. He slipped into the crowd and ran down the aisle. Too bad there wasn't any duct tape available.

I am a little worried about my checked luggage. I packed everything in there in because I didn't want to carry anything more than absolutely necessary. I was told in Mumbai that I had to check my luggage again once I arrived in London. That would necessitate going through Immigration and Customs, finding my bag (maybe – maybe it would have stayed in the guts of the airport and gone on to Seattle without any intervention – maybe not) rechecking it in then back through at least Immigration and find the boarding gate. I stopped at the Delta desk and she clicked some computer keys and said it was all fixed. I'm hoping. Other than dirty clothes, the few gifts I found along the way are in there. Those are the items I worry most about losing.

I am staying in Seattle, courtesy of Radisson's frequent fliers club. 30 hours between beds and add in a bus ride home is more than I want to do. I'll spend the night in Seattle on Mr. Radisson's dime and then catch the bus home tomorrow.

The flight from London was totally flawless, except for the 9 hours. I think I've watched every movie made in te last 2 years by now. Luggage showed up and Customs didn't arrest me.

So back in the states, take a shower and get some bed time.

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