Sunday, 4 July 2010

VCB 25: Hopped off a plane at PDX

Having spent most of yesterday in them I want to discuss airplanes and aiports As I'm sure you're aware I am currently in Orgeon (and was travelling to it yesterday - James kindly posted an obscene and blasphemous blog in my absences). My journey began at 6am British time and finished at 6am British time (about 10pm local time). So yeah... it was a long day.

I want to share with you some of my thoughts and observations from my journey. Let's start with check-in. Much like supermarket self-checkouts, I have a loathing for self-checkouts that is absolute. They say it saves jobs but there is someone at the counter to check your bags and then about 4 people to help people with the computers when they, inevitably, go wrong. At Heathrow they even have an extra person now to ask your security questions (separate from the bag check-in steward). I guess the point behind self-checkins has passed me by.

My next observation is at boarding. Despite their seat number not yet being called some passengers insist on lingering by the line getting in the way of other people. I guess these people think that if they don't stand up then the boarding crew will say "Well you obviously don't want this seat very much!" and then go on to block your seat and have you escorted from the airport.

Of course when people do queue there is the culture clash where being that British people attempt to form a nice orderly line... an etiquette unfortunately not understood or observed by other cultures who move forward in a bundle (therefore elevating the stress levels of the British travellers).

I'll tell you here about my first plane ride. Having been happy about getting a window seat I was somewhat disappointed to finda blank wall by my side. I did attempt to look through the sliver of window just reachable in front but I had on of 'those' people in front of me: 'those' people who insist on having their chairs fully back fro the entire duration of the flight with no regard for the person behind them. Plus she smelt of dried wee wee.

During the flight I watched The Wizard of Oz (although missed the 'theres no place like home' climax due to sleepiness) and Legally Blonde (don't judge me - I love that film). I also listened to Mugglecast's interview with David Heyman (Harry Potter producer) who, by the way, is lovely!

I also worked out that a woman next to me was travelling from Wimbledon. My clues were her typing notes from official Wimbledon match cards and the fact that she wrote 'tennis umpire' on the work visa entry form. Gosh I am practically Sherlock Holmes!

After that 7 or 8 hours I got off to the joy of border control, customs and baggage recheck. I hate this part. As I waited to go through border control I started shaking . I think my fear came from forgetting to enter the visa waiver programme last time I went (I was told I would be deported if I did it again), the fact that James was questioned for hours when he came to the UK, and that the guy before me was escorted somewhere by a guy with a massive weapon (giggle).

I find baggage claim and/or recheck makes me very anxious. I particularly worry about my bag being lost. A bit irrational yes, but who can say that they don't have this though as everyone elses bags are passing you by. I had also forgotten a luggage label. Oops. In addition I didn't want the sniffer dog to smell my teabags and I'd have to open my suitcase. Teabags were worth the fear though.

After this it was then a simple 5 hour flight without entertainment (you had to pay, ergh) and no flight progress map. My feet were still swollen from the first flight as well and the though of getting on the next plane wasn't pleasant. What happens if my legs had exploded? I just take off my shoes as soon as I get seated and then go to the toilet in my socks.

The best thing about flight number 2 was knowing I have done custom, border control, passport control and baggage recheck. I managed to see James literally within a minute of exiting the plane. Huzzah.

My answer: I hate thatI drop off but can't get any proper sleep. It really isn't comfortable in such an enclosed space. I hate first class travellers.

This blog was mostly written in Newark Airport, New Jersey in view of the Empire State Building.


PinkPixieDF (Heather) said...

I think I'll reply in my own blog tomorrow. I still haven't told the story of my experience flying to Japan. Getting there was crazy. I know how stressful international flights can be.

I'm glad you made it to the states safely. Can't wait to see you! <3

Kim said...

i hate that i have no leg room and i get a cramp in my right leg almost every time! i also do not like the people who put the seat back the whole time.

flying to NYC i couldnt watch the entertainment properly because of that. grrr

Katherine said...

This isn't really my worst thing, but I too do not understand people who are desperate to get on the plane before their seat number has even been called. You ain't gonna get there any faster sonny Jim! Personally, I like being one of the last ones on, less time just sitting on a stationary plane getting impatient!

In general there's not much that I really dislike about flying, although on our flight out to Dubai the air con wasn't working properly and it was incredibly stuffy, so I'll go with that!

Happy Fourth of July, love to you and James! xxx

Helen E. Abbott said...

@Heather - Can't wait to see you either!

@Kim - I hate it when the entertainment doesn't work... but still flashes stuff at you all the time.

@Katherine - Yes I either get too hot or too cold on a plane. Gr.