Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Travel Tales, A New Record

I have resorted to my 2006 position of sitting on the floor next to the pole of power. It’s ok, I’m just one of many people powering up in this unhygienic fashion at the D gates. I’ve been in the airport for 9.5 hours now, and apparently the plane coming to get me is about to take off from my destination city. I am seated across from Jamba juice, and I’m also drinking a Jamba juice. It is not very good, but it is the only fruit based food I’ve found today. Let’s talk about lunch. I had a yucky, and I wasn’t sure if it was yucky because of its lack of flavour, or because of the video of a gross man foot being massaged to advertize for the spa. The funny thing is that after lunch I went to get a massage at the spa. Not the foot kind, and it wasn’t very good.

The internet is very slow at the power pole, which is between the change machine and the payphone. I didn’t think people used such things much anymore, but a woman wearing very little came by and got change. But she didn’t use the payphone, so what was it for?

This is a horrible airport. Outside of security, there is not even a coffee stall. I had to walk for a mile to get to the Marriott, which wouldn’t even store my suitcases while I paid them $20 for a breakfast where the best part was the hollandaise sauce, which probably came from a can. There was a dead cockroach next to my early morning pole of power, fruit flies in the bathroom that was so lysolish that I coughed, and there are flies flying around me now, as if I were as dirty as my surroundings. I’m not, because of the results of the Toothpaste Adventure.

The Toothpaste Adventure
A smart world traveller familiar in international arbitrage, I naturally pre-ordered a bunch of things on Amazon before arriving here, and brought an extra suitcase for them. This morning in the airport, this led to me having 3 suitcases and reduced mobility due to a striking lack of trolleys. So, working the arts of feng shui and cramming, I managed to embed the extra suitcase back into the larger one. This enabled me to find coffee, as above. This also somehow led me to lose both of my Extrafly Lotsaflyer cards. This is not the right thing to do when you’re delayed at an airport with an overweight suitcase.

Anyway, feeling cruddy in my dental regions, I decided to risk opening the compression/embedded suitcase monster to seek toothpaste. This was a big mistake, as the suitcase exploded all over the Marriott’s bathroom, blocking the door. An increased level of effort was required to shut it this time, and the structural volatility was increased. The disaster is exacerbated after the re-close, when I realized that the toothpaste I grabbed was actually athlete’s foot cream. This does not work to clean teeth, and my feet were not itchy, so it’s a disappointment. Later on I bought toothpaste, which was a luxury afforded to me after crossing security into the land of facilities!

Anyway, as I said, I have been up since 4, after 2 hours of sleep, and am now at the laughing/crying phase. Or potentially hallucinating, as I just saw a 3 man band walk down the gate area playing a tuba, banjo and trumpet. People around me are shouting, despite the American dream to live in a quiet suburb. Many people, like the change girl, are wearing little clothing, since it’s what they call summer, although I’m in my woolly hoodie. Most people stare at me thinking that since I blend into the wall, I probably can’t see them. I admit that my vision is starting to blur, but I’m pretty sure it’s a real band. I find the tuba pretty cool, and am not sure if this is due to my mental state.

Internet paradox
My flight departure time on the board says 3:45, which is impossible since that’s when the incoming flight is landing. However, the internet is not fast enough for me to get an update online while sitting here. So this means I have to give up my pole of power to go ask at the gate, where they probably won’t know more. However, should reality really be breaking, then the flight would be boarding now, so I have to take this risk. The complete lack of information continues, so I need to sit near the supposed gate, despite a lack of available power there.


  • In this airport, I’ve seen a couple leashed together, and a man walking with his two legs loosely tied together. I wonder when this trend will make it to Singapore.

  • I often think Singapore service is lacking. But this morning, despite ongoing interaction and my muchflyer status, no single staff member ever said please or thank you while “helping me”. Instead, they said they’d let me off the luggage fee which doesn’t apply to my ticket anyway.

  • The change girl has put on a hoodie, so I was right about her lack of clothing.

  • There are now 4 staff at my gate, zero of whom are flight crew, and zero planes.
To my horror, I have spotted coworkers waiting for the same flight. This is the second time on this trip that I’ve been caught in full schlep in this way. The last time was worse, as I was off a 15 hour flight and filing my nails. I know, inappropriate, but they get really breaky on long flights.

A plane is in sight, and there are cheers at the gate. Normally I just imagine this, but this time it’s real. Or a further breakdown in my perception of reality.

There is a musical university band group occupying much of the flight, going to London during the Olympics. Why through Paris?

The previous flight has arrived, so after 11 hours we have a plane and this makes me feel weepy. A man in plaid shorts and a striped shirt has tried to return onto the plane after disembarking. He’s evidently forgotten his fashion sense onboard. He already has 2 bags, so this should be enough. If he delays me further, I will cause a ruckus. In further exciting news, pilots have entered the plane. I heart pilots. This means I must have my last (hopefully) pre-flight toilet break.

Reasons for Further 3.5 hours Delay on Plane
  • The band’s musical instruments were not properly weighed, so scales must be found before departure. How can this be, would gate agents have though that musical splendour substituted for normal luggage process? My coworkers and I consider kicking their instruments should we see them on the luggage carousel.

  • Too many other, more popular planes, taking off.

  • Storms at our destination.

  • Rerouting flight plan around storms.

  • Waiting for original route again because reroute would require more fuel.

  • Storms here.

  • Getting more fuel.

Luckily, during the getting more fuel delay, we were allowed off of the plane for a 10 minute pretzel break. Pretzels taste best after a 15 hour delay, and help encourage plane departure.

Best Quotes from Band Members

  • Girl, pointing to a wee Embraer plane asks: “Is that the larger plane type that we’ll fly on the Europe?”. She then takes pictures of the clouds and darkness for the whole flight.

  • Boy, to his mother, whom he called every 20 min: “I just want to go home, I’m never leaving this state again”.

  • Girl, to flight attendant: “Can you please arrange it so that we don’t miss our connection?”

  • Girl, during pretzel break: “Should I get off the plane now? I don’t know what to do. What would you do? You’re a professional.”

  • Another girl, during pretzel break: “This airline just really sucks, and they should just give up doing business”. This led Laura and her colleague to ponder what would happen if sucking led to giving up business and the possible devastation to the airline industry.

Reasons for 3.5 hour Flight Delay the Following Day

  • Smooshing of a luggage container preventing it from fitting in the cargo space.

  • The late arrival of one of the pilots.

  • A mechanical repair due to a warning light in the cockpit.

  • The subsequent need to replace the flight crew since after a 3 hours delay, their working hours would be too long.

This means that my total trip was delayed by over 27 hours. This is exciting, because my previous record was around 22. You may send congratulations in the form of gifts.