The trials and tribulations of international air travel

Those who have traveled, even just a little bit, know that at the very moment you enter ‘the system’, you are at the mercy of some mysterious entity that does not have your wellbeing at heart. One might assume that processes and procedures used in moving herds of people from point to another in a pressurised aluminium tube would be tailored to suit the traveller. But no. This is not the case. Each airline at each airport seemingly develops their own methodology in complete isolate, devoid of any synergy with anyone else. *So, it’s the traveller’s duty to figure these things out on the fly. At some points in the process you can expect a security check, while at others you might not. This doesn’t mean there won’t be one though. To which I say: expect the unexpected. Or simply put, best start looking for that paddle-like item to replace your regular paddle, and it’d better be long, ‘cos the creek you’re in ain’t a pretty one. Those of you who’ve travelled are nodding. I just know you are. Luckily, the travel I’ve done lately has not included the US, so I’ve been sheltered from the dreaded TSA. At least my luggage is TSA compliant. I’m not sure I am.

So here I sit. In a cafe in Copenhagen airport. We arrived at 1pm from Cape Town via Dubai. This was an arduous trip worth noting. Sleep deprived, hungry and dehydrated, we arrived in the Danish capital hoping and praying that our luggage had made it. It would seem that the travel gods are with us, and our bags lie in a mound on the trolley alongside me. Now, arriving at 1pm, and departing at 7pm…six hours to kill? No matter, the duty-free is quite good here, and the seating is also comfy Scandinavian-designed too.Bu, Wait! Not so fast there, Trev! You’re leaving at what? 7pm? Well then, you can only check your luggage in at 5pm. And no, we don’t care if our super technology helped you actually get a boarding pass at 2pm, it’s not going to work. So we’ve resorted to paying an exorbitant sum for a ham and cheese panini, while having our aural senses being accosted by Beyoncé on repeat.

This, however, is trivial compared to the toddler tantrum that was flung on the incoming flight from Dubai. Where do such cute and tiny children learn to be so easy to despise? And how come the parents had not the shred of remorse for this misbehaviour? At times like that, we always look back and say “If I’d done that at that age, I’d have been thrashed to within an inch of our lives”. I’m not sure this is the answer, although, there would have been rafts of people queuing up for the privilege to dole out punishment to both child and parents alike to see if perhaps, it would work. It would have made interesting watching to be sure.

And this is where this entry has been born from – fatigue, sleep deprivation, extreme agitation and anxiety to move forward with our travels. But, the watchword in all of this; for the parents of the tantrum child, the onlookers, the airline staff getting an earful from weary travellers, is patience. With dollops of patience, kindness and consideration for one-another, we’ll all manage to see the end of the day less worse for wear than if we took out our frustrations on one another. So patience it will be…

So once again, there are no pictures to accompany this brain-dump (brain-fart if you must). I promise this situation will be taken care of deftly once we’ve sorted ourselves out later in Prague.

* On one particular departure from Kinshasa, my documentation was checked NINETEEN times between getting out of the car, and getting to my seat. 19!!! I needed my passport and boarding pass at the bottom of the stairs to get to the top of the stairs, yet it still needed to be checked at the top.

And when I DID get to my seat, there was someone in it. I got upgraded to business class that day, so whinging and whining about it is a little unfair.

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One Response to The trials and tribulations of international air travel

  1. Leslie Ives says:

    This post really make me laugh – you get travel and you explain it so well I can actually feel it.

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