For people watchers, airports are great fun… actually the fun really starts on the way to the airport. Clearly all common sense is challenged as was evidenced this morning by the woman who nearly ran me over to get to the self check-in station. Now it’s worth pointing out that it was 05.20 when I got to the airport and not many people were around… there were about 20 stations but she decided she wanted to go to the one that lay dead ahead of me.
I had loads of time on my hands and with the prospect of 19 hours of travel the last thing I needed was a sprint finish in the first 100 meters. She had a weight advantage over me though, in front of her she pushed a huge trolley with 4 huge cases, bound in layers of plastic and astride all of this a wildly colourful non plastic encased case. Said case was precariously stacked and with the final lunge she came to a stop, barreling into the check-in station and no surprise, the case went crashing across the very empty airport.
Now I like to think that I travel smart, one carry on backpack, one pull along to check-in… and one teddy bear (Roar-ie) attached to the outside of my backpack. Despite my general lack of organisation, when it comes to travelling, I generally have it together.
The Usain Bolt of my airport experience has now retrieved her bag and is going to town on the touch screen, the nails weren’t helping, they were at least an inch from the end of her fingers and if the very active tapping was anything to go by… they were not helping.
It’s a fairly simple interface to navigate through, scan passport, wait for baggage tag to spit out…job done. There is much cursing going on beside me and eventually one of the airport staff decide that, for the safety of the machine, intervention was needed. I’m done at this stage and head off to the short bag drop queue.
Now it’s easy to spot those who travel regularly, for business or otherwise, the queue of about 8 people is pretty much full of business people, the guy with the doctor esque bag, the suit clad girl who is in her ‘flats’ and a few families with their half asleep or hyper kids, it’s a fine balance. All shuffle forward as the desks free up and it seems there is an unwritten rhythm to the proceedings.
Enter stage left, one panting, sweating trolley pushing, cursing friend from check-in… who it would appear does not understand how the black ribbon lanes work and has decided to go right to the front of the area and head straight for a desk where there is a woman seated doing paperwork. None of this was lost on the queue of people who were pretty incredulous at the brazenness of the situation sharing raised eyebrows and shaking heads. Clearly the lady at the check-in desk had seen this sort of behaviour before and she was having none of it but neither, it seems was our traveller.
I’m next to go to drop off my bag, luckily a good distance away from her, at the same time as I move forward she swoops to a desk. Many bags are off her trolley and loaded onto the weighing belt and she more or less throws her passport and a crumpled paper on the table. She is asked where she is going and of course she is on the same flight as I am… sods law. Our traveller is now trying to convince, well, the airport, that she has in fact paid for her additional luggage and that she was sent a confirmation…
The lady who was checking her in started to now look very carefully at her paperwork and started to scan it… there was a very confused look on her face and then after much button tapping she told our traveller, in no uncertain terms… this ticket is for the 5th of October, today is the 4th… you are a day early…
Our traveller was having none of this and immediately grabbed her paperwork whilst at the same time, all she kept saying was “I don’t believe this, what sort of service is this?”. Hats off to the check-in lady at this stage who shows her screen in an attempt to explain the situation and to bring some clarity. Because, ‘Your flight is tomorrow’ was just too much for this woman to understand…
There was a slight issue with my ticket, which I was actually quite glad of, as I was mesmerized by what was unfolding in front of my eyes. Our traveller is now pacing, shaking her head and invoking several Gods. I was finally checked in gave one last glance across the hall. All I could hear was ‘I am sorry, but you will need to come back tomorrow or buy a flight for today’. To which the last thing I heard from our traveller ‘How could they be so stupid to think that I am flying tomorrow’