Have Luggage, Will Travel …. Or ….. I’m Getting On A Plane And Left My Brain At Home (Part Three)


On the plane part 3

I survived “The Security Check”  – just barely.

I’ve waded my way through the enticing duty-free shops, having only bought a handful of items I would never normally buy on the streets on a  normal day.

I know I’m not the only one.
You do it too. Buying. Lots. Always.

Anyhoo.

There are a number of interesting moments to consider in a flight.
Particularly a long-haul.

Boarding.
I’m that person.
You know the one.
I get to my boarding gate in time.
I queue.
Yes I know we’ll all get in the plane eventually.
But I like to get in first.
You know.
Check the layout of the land out.
Proximity to the loos.
Comfort of the seat.
You know. Important things! Meaningful things.
You know they are.
Yes you do.

Moving on ….
Important things like …. make sure my bag has a spot in the overhead lockers.

Which brings me to the next it for discussion:

The Overhead Locker.
Is it just me or is that like a fight to death.
It’s another reason I like to board as soon as I can.
Space for my hand luggage.
Because I’m a woman and that’s what we do.
Carry a ton of stuff that we’re not going to use/eat/read in the flight but have to have it anyway.
I’ve actually been on a plane when there’s been a standoff between a passenger with a small handbag taking up a lot of space in the overhead lockers versus a man who boarded last.
The kind of last where your name is being called over the intercom! And then he rushes on, demanding a space for his stretching-size-limits-to-the-max bag, and argues with the snarky woman with the small handbag who refuses to put it under her seat.
What do I care? I got on first and am comfortably settled into my first movie already 🙂

So now I’m settled.
Know where the loos are.
My bag is safe in the overhead locker.

I’m acting like the smug passenger who travels all the time and knows exactly what to do.
You know the kind.
The kind that pretends to not watch the safety film because they travel so much but actually are watching from the corner of their eye — just in case they’re called upon to be a hero.

I’m talking to you!
Yes.
YOU!
And me.

But then.

The wait for “your neighbour” begins.
Now I KNOW I’m not alone here.
You know what I’m talking about.
Desperately looking around willing anyone who’s about to sit next to you to “keep on walking”

I’m the kind of passenger that likes to plug my earphones in, listen to music, watch a movie, do a crossword, and try get a little shuteye.
Peace.

NOT!

I’ve had a very random set of neighbours. I’ll list a few for your reading pleasure …..

> There was the drunk Dutch man on a flight from South Africa to London, who drank so much and burped so much I eventually had to sit in the air stewards jump seats for the entire flight as there were no other empty seats.

> There was the Swedish guy who told me about all his sexual conquests with much gusto despite my asking him to stop numerous times.

> There was the weird Aussie-British guy who would say absolutely nothing until I put my earphones in, then he’d tap me on the shoulder, wait for me to take my earphones out, then ask for a movie recommendation. Which I gave to him, but then he continued to tap me on the shoulder the whole way through the movie and give commentary. I got my revenge on him though — I waited until he was in a deep, snoring sleep, tapped him in the shoulder numerous times (a bit like Sheldon on Peggy’s door in Big Bang theory LINK HERE) and asked him to move so I could pee.
He wasn’t impressed.
I didn’t care.
I even did it once more just to make sure I got full revenge (evil laugh).

The list goes on.

The space.
If you’re travelling in cattle class – aka economy – I don’t care how much they say it’s comfortable, no one likes to feel like a sardine. There’s no getting around it unless you lucky enough to fly in an upgraded cabin.

Meals.
I mean.
Really.
What can I say about this. It’s aeroplane food. As long as you don’t expect a gourmet meal, you’ll be absolutely fine.
Unless of course you had the delicious, restaurant-worthy beef fillet with roast potatoes and carrots I had in a recent long-haul flight. NOM NOM NOM

Drinks.
Referring to the random neighbours I’ve had, have a drink, I don’t care. But don’t be slobbering all over the place, messing your red wine on me (that happened), or your whisky (love arriving at a destination smelling like someone else’s brewery – always fun to get the customs officials to raise their eyes in judgment at you.

Toilets.
Now, call me old-fashioned but Mile-high-club. Really? I can barely fit my wide-screen butt in there. Two people in there?! Um. No.

And that’s the journey.
The whole thing.
In a nutshell.

…….
……

Oh no! I forgot.
There’s still the baggage claim.

Where you wait for your bag. Am I the only person who’s bags tend to always be amongst the last few that arrive?

I break out into sweats. It’s not so bad coming home, because if the bag doesn’t arrive, I’ve still got a cupboard-full of clothes.

if the bag doesn’t arrive when I’m on an outward journey, especially on a business trip, that’s more worrisome and annoying…because I do have to go buy new clothes if mine don’t arrive in time.

Well – there’s your Up-Side:

New Clothes.

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Have Luggage, Will Travel …. Or ….. I’m Getting On A Plane And Left My Brain At Home (Part One)


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Airports.

I’ll let that sink in for a few moments.

…..
……

I spend a lot of time in airports.
I see a lot of strange things.
Strange people.
Doing strange things.

No, I’m not one of them.
I’m not!

Ok, maybe a little.

But I figured out that people can be completely ‘normal’ functioning human beings until they step into airports and onto a plane.

Particularly three places in an airport and in a plane:
1. The Check-in Counters
2. The Security Check
3. In the plane.

Today, we’ll talk about the first place:
The Check-In Counter

Perhaps it’s because I travel more than most people because of my job, that I’ve come to expect everyone to have the same knowledge as me.

But they don’t.
It’s no excuse.
Really it isn’t.

There is a baggage allowance for ever person and most of us don’t have the luxury of always travelling business or first class so we have the standard 20kgs we’re allowed to take.

Some travellers, such as the one I experienced,  like to take that on as a challenge.

“Let’s see how many things we can get into this suitcase, pretend it’s 20kgs, strap five bag straps around it to keep it closed while we sit on it to squash it down and check it in. What’s the problem!”

Now,  I mean it’s really not my issue and people should do what people are gonna do …… BUT …. It’s pretty darn obvious to me that if your suitcase doesn’t really close, no matter how many of those bag straps you tie around it, it ain’t gonna be within the baggage allowance limit.

But.

Said travellers will still look completely shocked when the check-in assistant says “sorry ma’am your bag is 31kgs” …..(never mind the issue of the no-closing-fully-overloaded bag) …

“Oh dear, are you sure?” They say.
“Yes Ma’am”
“Are you sure your scales are right?” They question.
“Yes Ma’am”
“Can you test my bag on a different scale? I’m sure yours isn’t right.” They try their luck.
“Sure ma’am (said through ‘the customer is always right’ gritted teeth), bring it on over to the next counter”

Traveller pulls said suitcase off scale and, with the help of the extended family who have come to wish her a safe journey, they each take a corner and drag it, huffing and puffing, the clearly 20kgs (!!!) suitcase over to the next counter.

All working together, they count the lift in “1…2…3…LIFT” and put the clearly 20kgs onto the scale at the next counter.

Shock!! Horror!!
31kgs.

“Ma’am, as you’ll notice, the scale is the same as the first”
“I really can’t believe it. Our scale at home said 18kgs. Can we try one more?” They say in disbelief.
(I want their scale for my weekly weigh-in….13kgs under…awesome!)
“I’m afraid not ma’am, there is a long queue of people trying to check-in.Your bag is 31kgs on this scale, on the last scale and on any scale in this airport.”

Traveller realises they aren’t going to get anywhere with this super-savvy check-in assistant.

Traveller pulls said suitcase off scale and, with the help of the extended family who have come to wish her a safe journey, they each take a corner and drag it, huffing and puffing, the clearly 20kgs (!!!) suitcase over to the original counter.

All working together, they count the lift in “1…2…3…LIFT” and put the clearly 20kgs onto the scale at the original counter.

Traveller now has to open the offending suitcase….. first carefully removing the five bag straps they’ve put around it to try to keep it closed,while carefully ensuring none of their “intimates” fly out when the suitcase bursts open with freedom in mind …. And take stuff out.

They’re oblivious to the growing queue behind them and the sound of tapping feet and huffs and puffs ….. Probably from frequent travellers, like me, who are thinking …. “Seriously??.”

They hand 13kgs of their suitcase content to the extended family, and continue to check-in, still grumbling under their breath that airport baggage scales are shockingly overweight!

The check-in person is a saint.

As I’m heading through security, I see the extended family helping the traveller put all those 13kgs back into her hand luggage and in her handbag.

I’m taking a different queue.

Come back for Part 2: The Security Check!

Please Sir, May I Have That Seat…Or…It’s Mine!! It’s Mine!! It’s all mine!!


So, I love watching people.

I especially love watching people getting on the train.

For those of you who perhaps don’t use trains often, you need to get on one, sit back and be entertained!

One family member … Of course I won’t say who …

No! I’m not telling!

No! Stop asking – you’re just being annoying now!

No!

Now where was I?

Ah – right – family member. This Family Member usually enters a train by falling into it! I’m serious! It’s true! I CANNOT make these things up!
Good thing they close the doors on the other side! (now THAT would be funny – in one side and out the other!)

But anyway, where was I? Again??

Ah yes – Trains.

So, people have their favourite seats. Fair enough. I could admit that I do too but that is not the point of this story, and of course I would never admit to it anyway!

But when Mr Regular Traveller gets on the train and someone else, someone new, someone completely unknowingly (Let’s call him Mr Newbie) sits in Mr Regular Traveller’s seat Well … I like to sit back and watch the silent drama unfold.

The poor little Mr Newbie doesn’t even know what’s hit him when out of the side of his sightline, there is Mr Regular Traveller throwing daggers at poor little Mr Newbie.

Not real daggers. Daggers with his eyes. You know what I mean. Don’t make me explain!

Problem is Mr Newbie is oblivious so it just looks like Mr Regular Traveller is grumpy and hates everyone.

You KNOW what I’m talking about! EVERYONE has done it!!

Then there are those passengers that wait on the platform, at EXACTLY the right place for the door in order to get on the train first and get “their” seat!

Little do they know that Mr Newbie is standing at the next door with his eye on the same seat, totally oblivious to the fact that Mr Regular Traveller is already revving his engines, beating his feet into the ground to get a headstart through the door.

Well. The drama that unfolds would make TV Drama History.

Well, it could.

Probably.

Maybe.

Okay. It won’t – but it certainly is entertaining to watch!

The train pulls in.
The doors slide open.
The passengers get off the train.
Slowly.
Mr Regular Traveller checks the availability of “his” seat.
Mr Regular Traveller checks the passengers around him.
He puts one foot on the train while other are filing off (obviously he already has an advantage)
And waits.
And waits.
And waits.
“COME ON PEOPLE! I have a seat to get!”
And waits.
And then. It’s all clear!
He launches himself on the train.
Elbows his way through the crowds (one person) and stampedes his way to his chair.
He’s looking left.
He’s looking right.
He’s still ahead of everyone.
He gets to “his” seat.
Wipes the sweat from his brow.
Looks up.
And sees a pair of feet in front of “his” seat!

Mr Newbie has beaten him!

Who does this person think they are!
Mr Regular Traveller glares at Mr Newbie. Rolls his eyes. Even tuts (although I think that may be in his head and totally inaudible).

Mr Newbie is oblivious. Merely settling into his seat and reading the gossip for the day.

Mr Regular Traveller is devastated “I’ll get you tomorrow.”

Problem is. Tomorrow Mr Newbie becomes Mr Regular Traveller.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I need to retrieve MY seat from someone elses posterior – or at the very least make sure thy are watching while I roll my eyes at them!

Here…For Your Entertainment


Specifically Train Entertainment!

I’m the first to admit that I usually turn my earphones up – really loud – and of course, avert thine eyes!

But. This morning. Probably one of the most entertaining journeys on the London Underground in the past 8 years. We pulled into Caledonian Road Station and as the doors were about to close, a man jumps onto the train and stands right next to me. I know instantly that he is about to break out into song. Great right!? Just my luck!! So of course, I do the London Underground thing and stick my nose further into my Metro paper.

Completely out of breath – Him not Me – probably from running from carriage to carriage, he begins to sing. Pretty normal right? I agree. But then. he breaks out his secret weapon. Tap shoes! I’m not kidding! Okay, well they sounded like tap shoes.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. He’s out of breath. He’s singing. AND he’s tap dancing! Some of you may have removed yourself from the train at the next available opportunity. (It was a fleeting thought in my mind too). But. His performance was worthy of Lord of the Dance (not Rings – that wouldn’t make sense). I’m not kidding! Michael Flatley would have been proud!

It was irrelevant that he thought we would all be wiped off the earth within 20 years. And that he thought we were all gatekeepers to this world (yes … YOU too) … and Sir – you incorporated both those facts into your song very well.

Bottom line. You were great! And gave me a happy start to the week. I especially loved the Michael Jackson ending. You were most entertaining.

And to the guy who was standing opposite me, chatting football teams with your friend. You know who you are. We shared a smile at the entertainment —- Same Place Same Time tomorrow?