Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Airport notes

While I'm getting over jet-lag, here are some observations from spending a lot of time in various airports over the past few days.

Logan airport, Boston

-right by my gate, people are sitting in a restaurant eating what appear to be very heavy meals, and drinking alcohol. Aren't they thinking about what effect this is going to have on their stomachs during the long international flight? (note: my last meal was McDonald's, so maybe I'm not the best example. But, it was still a few hours before my flight and I did not overeat).

-an elderly man with a hearing aid in front of me is holding a piece of luggage on which the first name on the tag is "Slug." I wonder if he plays baseball?

-pet peeve: insufficient updating of flight announcements. Once I was in some airport, I think in Philadelphia, and my flight was delayed until further notice. There weren't any seats in the waiting area, so I sat in the adjacent one. All the announcements sort of mingled together. I assumed my flight was still delayed. I heard a last call being made, but I didn't pay attention to what flight it was. Then I went up to the counter to check on the status and the screen was flashing "departed." Uh oh! They let me on after all, though. The plane hadn't actually taken off yet.

Anyway, since then I've been nervous about delays. You have to stay in the boarding area to listen for announcements, but you could end up waiting for hours. This time, my flight was at 4:15, but they said we wouldn't board until 4:00. At about 4:00 I got in line even though there had been no announcement yet. Then I looked up at the screen and it said "departed." I think they must have the screen programmed to flash the scheduled times rather than the actual times. That seems illogical. I thought the whole point of having the display is so that people can see the latest information. Anyway, I had a mini-heart attack until I asked people around me and confirmed that the flight had not yet left.

When we were still waiting in line, they said, "This is the final boarding call. We're ready to depart." There were still 50-60 people in line ahead of me. Hopefully they weren't thinking about departing with 100 people still not yet on the plane? It all seemed rather disorganized.

Frankfurt airport

-When I managed to locate the security checkpoint for the section of the airport where my connecting flight was, an airport staff member came over and tried to make some of us go in a different line. It turned out that one of the lines had no female attendant available to frisk people and therefore they were separating us by gender. However, a lot of travelers didn't know this and didn't understand why they were being separated from their husbands/mothers/etc.

-After I got through security, around the corner came a man that I've seen on television. He's a dwarf and stars on TLC's "Little People, Big World," a show that I had been watching while at home. It's interesting to learn about them trying to lead normal lives with dwarfism. Anyway, it was definitely unexpected to run into this guy in Germany! I thought about saying something like, "Haven't I seen you on tv?" but he had already zipped away on his motorized scooter.

-A little while later, I ran into someone else I knew. It was my new boss at the language center where I'll be teaching. I had known she was flying back to Russia, but I didn't know that we were on the same flight. I had also only seen her once in person, a few years ago, but somehow I recognized her and went over and introduced myself. Then we waited out the rest of the layover together.

Pulkovo-2, St.Petersburg

-nothing new here, just the usual Russian charm. :)

6 comments:

  1. Airports are so interesting and so frustrating. My last experience was flying with Isabel back from Wyoming when she was 18 months old. Our first flight was delayed so we missed our second flight, but we wouldn't have missed it if the lady at the gate had told me it was actually delayed also. We ended up missing it by just a couple of minutes by the time we got to the gate and then had to spend an extra 10 hours in the Dallas airport. That is not fun with a toddler!!! I love all the opportunities for people watching though. I'm glad you made it back safe and sound and I'm so glad we we're able to get together while you were here. It was so nice to see you!!

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  2. Glad you made it back. Hope we can connect sometime soon.
    Karen

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  3. It's charm for me!

    I enjoyed your Airport Notes. Good idea for a post. Brought back all the joy.

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  4. I miss you too!

    Shelly, I've definitely been there. The worst is when you watch your plane taking off without you. You're right about people-watching, though. It is fun, especially in international airports.

    Karen, do I have your email address? Or do you have mine?

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  5. I have your email on my computer, but it didn't survive the trip. It's being fixed right now by DELL here. I will check my account from another computer...and then email you.

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