Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I used to have quite a bit of luck while traveling.  Now, I consider myself lucky if I reach my destination intact.
I used to love flying in planes, but now that I do so several times a year, I dread it.  I now enjoy waiting in the airport more than sitting in a cramped, crowded plane full of the dredges of humanity.  Say what you will but for me, it's the destination, not the journey.

It seems that I'm always next to the fattest person on the plane, and he never has a tightly sealed asshole.  My time next to these farting lumps of crap makes my air travel almost unbearable.

I flew to Poland for spring break once, leaving on Friday after classes and taking the bus to Boston.  The day before, it was a clear, sunny day, but now it turned into a gigantic blizzard that delayed the bus almost an hour.  I was to fly Northwest Airlines, and when I reached Logan almost all the flights were cancelled save for this one.  We were told that the plane was flying into Boston, and if it could land, then the flight would continue as scheduled.  The plane did not land and the flight was cancelled.  The ticket counter was mobbed with people and I was told that the earliest flight was on the following Monday.  I snapped at them, asking if any other airline would be able to connect me and they promptly bought me a ticket for a Swiss International Airlines flight on Sunday, arriving on Monday.
Oh, but that's not all.  On my return journey, my flight from Warsaw to Amsterdam was delayed.  I barely made my connection, from Amsterdam to Boston, but Northwest Airlines lost (with whom I flew back to the States), lost my luggage and left it in Amsterdam.  I got it back a few days later, but Customs had searched my bag (and repacked it quite shoddily) and removed two half-liter bottles of vodka.  Since it's legal for a non-US citizen to bring a liter of alcohol into the US, what are they doing removing a liter of alcohol from a citizen's baggage?  I called up NWA, who told me that I had a case and should call the TSA.  The guy on the other end told me flat out that I was probably not going to see either my Zubrowka or Wyborowa ever again.

A winter jaunt to Poland ended up quite similar.  I flew out on Air France, with a connection in Paris.  I had a nine-hour layover, which is plenty of time to go and explore Paris.  And explore Paris I did.
Paris is many people's favorite cities.  Now, I've only been there twice, and I won't deny that it has it's charm, it's culture, it's utter beauty and inspiring sites, it's history, gardens, restaurants, theaters, museums, churches, bridges, porn shops.  Paris is a city that everyone should visit within his or her lifetime; it's just too much to pass up.
The subway line from the airport to Paris proper is eight Euros one-way (and I thought public transportation was over priced here!)  I took the metro in and saw what I could.  Most of what I saw is in my Cheburashka post.  I didn't have tons and tons of time, because I still had a flight to take to Poland.  Plus, it was Christmas Eve.  I had heard that Paris is beautiful at Christmastime, and it is, but it kind of looked the same as it had when I was there six years earlier.  It was a clear, sunny day, and I got to watch the sunrise.  It was rather warm and all I needed to wear was a polar fleece.
I digress.  My tale about Paris is something for another time.  I should bring up that I arrived in Paris with about three hours of sleep in the last two days (no joke.)  So I had my fun in Paris, got back on the metro and went back to Charles De Gaulle.  I passed customs, and went to find my gate (remember, this was a connection flight so I didn't have to check in.)  Suddenly, after about a half-hour of being in the airport, the screen said my flight was cancelled!!!  Can you believe that shit?!  I went to the Air France desk, along with the other members of the flight, and was told by the lady at the desk that "the pilot didn't show up.  He was sick or on vacation, she didn't know."  I was fuming by this time, but she gave me a lunch voucher to use at the airport and a hotel voucher, which came with a dinner and breakfast voucher.  She told us that the next flight tomorrow would be at nine a.m. and that our baggage would be on the plane and meet us in Warsaw.
We (the stiffed travelers) waited outside on the curb for three hours for the shuttle to take us to our hotel.  Three hours.  Every so often a shuttle bus for a different hotel (or set of hotels) would come by and stop; we'd run up and ask them if they were going to our hotel.  Of course they would say no.  It didn't take long for us to ask, "Are you going within walking distance of the hotel?"  They would again reply that they weren't.  Finally, thankfully the shuttle bus arrived and spirited us to our destination.  I saw in anger and rage that our hotel was RIGHT NEXT to allllll the other hotels, to which these other shuttles were going.
We all got our rooms and I collapsed into bed at around 6:30, missing dinner, which started at 7:30.  I still regret not being able to get my full amount from that voucher.  I did use my breakfast voucher, and the breakfast was actually quite good (being a continental breakfast.)
Our flight to Poland was fine, but the assholes left my baggage back in Paris.  They couldn't even put it on the place after more than twenty-four hours.  It was Christmas Day at this time, but they did deliver my baggage to my door the very next day.

There are many tales such as these.  I can't recall every fat, disgusting person, next to whom I've had to sit (I tell about that horrific Russian lady in one of my first posts.)  I hope one day to rekindle my love of the actual activity of traveling from one place to another, but until then, I'm stuck in economy class.  I'm doomed to loose my luggage and circulation in my legs.
I actually like airplane food.  (It's the last thing I enjoy.)

No comments: