(I have no idea why I have labeled this part 4, but that is what it was called in my notes, so I am sticking with it)
Who would have thought I would have more to say so soon, but I guess traveling is a big part of the reason I am here (here in this case meaning in the UK, as opposed to here meaning on Earth… I know you could have read that either way?). Plus, there was a bunch of travel near the end of 2015 and with work in early 2016, so I guess I had the opportunity to see more things happening at airports. So, let’s begin...
- Speaking of Heathrow (which I am sure I have before...) even though it is the best airport in London (As I have discussed here) there are problems. When you arrive at Terminal 5, coming from the Piccadilly Line, you HAVE TO, catch the lift to reach departures.
See, if you are like me and generally think walking will be faster, you walk to the escalators and end up in arrivals. The problem is that for whatever reason finding a way to walk directly to departures is really hard (at least for me?). Meanwhile if you had just taken the lift with everyone else you are taken directly to departures.
The problem with this is “Why should I have to take the lift?”, which I guess technically isn’t a big problem, other than the fact it involves waiting in line (something the English love, so this all probably was on purpose).
- In Europe lots of cities have internet access on their tubes and trains. I don’t just mean “they can get mobile data access”, I mean, they have free WiFi available all the time. The UK is behind Europe in his field.
- I think this counts as a travel story - I was sitting on the tube, and a lady sat next to me who had really long hair. This wouldn’t be a problem except as soon as she sat down her hair was all over me. I kept moving around (and therefore moving/pulling her hair that was stuck to my clothes) to try and make her realise her hair was everywhere, but this didn’t work. The final straw was when I realised that her hair had someone got into my mouth too (I can’t figure this one out?), and so then I… well… sat there quietly being upset with the situation.
What is the proper etiquette here?
- How do people not get into fights at airport security? I don’t mean fighting with security staff (they are doing their job, and we all know the rules, there is no reason to be upset with security staff), I wonder why people aren’t yelling at other passengers.
I saw a guy walk up to the security trays, pull a full bottle of water out of his bag and start sculling it. He then handed the empty bottle to a staff member. Only at this point did he begin removing his laptop etc. This was a busy time of day and he didn’t exactly finish his water quickly. It did hold people up.
As that was happening, another lady was standing second in line to put her stuff on the x-ray conveyor belt. The person in front of her was ever so slightly slow to do something, so she pushed in front and put her bags down and went to the metal detector. A staff member noticed this and she got pulled aside for further searches. I laughed.
- I had a confusing moment where I wasn’t sure which of the following things were real words of not:
Airport, Aeroport, Airplane, Aeroplane
Luckily since this post is just a collection of thoughts I had during various trips I can pretend I had this thought several years ago. When I was 7.
(Seriously, please comment and sort me out? Some of them aren't real, right?)
- Leaving Vienna I saw possibly the greatest thing that has ever happened on a flight.
I got on the plane, put my bag in the locker, and sat down. This process went as it always does because it is the same thing you do on every flight ever. I had everything I was going to need on the flight in my hands already, so it was all nice and quick. No dramas here.
Everyone else on the plane however acted like the whole boarding process was a brand new idea thought up just for this flight.
After an agonisingly long time watching people struggle to figure out where bags go, the captain made an announcement saying we had a take off window, and said people should hurry up with their bags. A few minutes passed, and no one had really made any progress with their bags away or tried to sit down, so rather than keep waiting the pilot just pulled away from the terminal and started taxiing to the runway. People started panicking, and almost falling over because the plane was moving. It was fantastic.
- In a shocking moment of self reflection I had a thought - I might not be all that good at travel after all.
Well, maybe not travel, but finding my way around airports. Just above I mentioned my inability to get from the Piccadilly line to Heathrow Terminal 5, but I recently found myself almost entirely unable to locate my gate while traveling alone. I knew the number, and I could see signs pointing to that number, but for some reason I ended up in a bathroom, and then a flight lounge on a different floor before actually ending up where I needed to be.
Sure, that could happen to anyone, but for someone who bemoans the way everyone else seems clueless about airports I was a little disappointed in myself.
- I think I actually like most airports, especially when I am traveling alone. See, when I am alone in an airport I apparently completely forget there are other people around at all. I don’t care how I look, or if the things I do seem strange, I just want to make myself as comfortable as possible (of course, being me, I also want to be as out of the way as possible and not be in anyone's way… it sort of works out). It is liberating?
Arrive 3 hours early? Doesn’t matter! Find a power point and sit down. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting on the ground, no one in this country will see you again (well, unless this is in London, in which case you probably went to school with them).
To highlight this in November I found myself alone at the Barcelona airport early in the morning, hungover, hours before my flight (I am an idiot, you should understand this by now). After thoroughly checking out all the stores there were closed I went on the hunt for a power point (I figured I would sit there watching stuff on my phone, so I probably wanted it plugged in). Eventually I found a power point, but it was on a wall with nothing nearby. I didn’t feel like sitting on the ground at the time, so thought I would pull a chair over to the wall (it didn’t seem like anyone would stop me). In my haste the chair I decided to move wasn’t just four chairs in a row stuck together, it was an entire block of eight. Since I had already started dragging them when I realised this, I continued, and eventually I was nicely settled in a seat with power. I am sure no one noticed:
- I wish I could remember this better, but, I have a note telling me:
Farting on planes is funny. Not “haha” funny. The sound clearly isn’t the problem, but everyone knows it happened”
I don’t know if I farted, or someone near me did, but apparently it was a thing that happened. It is similar to the tube, except that I think you normally expect the tube to smell bad, planes less so?
- When did it become fine to walk around the plane, or, to stand up as a group in the aisle and have a conversation? I am sure this never used to happen.
I have been on a lot of 2 hour(ish) flights recently, and generally this doesn’t happen, but as soon as the flight is 3 hours people apparently believe this is a totally fine thing to do. I think it was when flying to Turkey, it was around 11pm - a perfect flight to sit down and sleep if ever there was one - and for some reason a group of middle aged English people thought it would be better to crowd the aisle next to my seat and talk across three rows to their friends.
That was only about half of my current travel notes, and I have a few more big flights coming up soon. Stay tuned for the next Travel Chronicles next month maybe?