Saturday, July 14, 2012

My ramblings - Domestic airport observations...

I thought I'd write a travelogue today but have ended up listing some observations that I saw in the last few days.

Like father like son?

What a pity it is the way we set examples for others - we crib and cry about the wrong that others do, but how good an example do we ourselves set? I noticed a father and an inquisitive son step outside an ATM after they withdrew some cash. Once outside, the father proudly tore the ATM receipt in eight pieces and threw it on the footpath as if they were flowers that he were showering in a marriage. What an example indeed?
Ask and you could get it

I didn’t know it was this bad - last time it took me 1.5 hours to get to the Bangalore airport. Today it took me 2.5 hours. As we approached the airport, I checked the time on the cab’s dashboard and was pretty certain that I would miss the flight - just 30 minutes for departure and I hadn't done an online check-in as well. But the cab time was 10 minutes ahead - I rushed to the departures entrance and was confronted by two queues with more than 6 people in each. It would slow me down if I waited there. 

I saw a couple of North Indian security guards sitting idle in front of a 3rd entrance; there was a board that said “Staff only.” Looking at the guy I had a feeling he wouldn't budge but I still thrust my ticket and id at the man and told him my flight was at 9:10pm. And he causally, in Hindi, replied that there was plenty of time for me! Fortunately the lady beside him noticed my hurry and told him, “Just check.” Not happy at being rushed into this, the security guy examined my id card very closely. Seeing me at this empty queue, a couple more passengers joined behind me. The security guy said that my name on the ticket didn’t match with the id card - I pointed out that the id only had the first two names and not the third. He examined the id and ticket for a few more seconds before waving me through. The lady then said, "Check theirs also," referring to the two people who were behind me.
Listen to your mom!

I then rushed to the Check-in counter to get my boarding pass and drop my check-in baggage. There was less than 40 minutes left and today morning a colleague missed his flight because he arrived at the airport 30 minutes before departure - you are supposed to arrive 45 minutes before departure. He had to cancel and rebook on the next flight which was 3 hours later. For me there was no other flight after this one tonight. 
Fortunately in Bangalore, there isn’t a separate security scanner for check-in luggage; you just go directly to the airline counter and drop your bags - but the queue here had more than 12 people. After talking to one of the airline boys, he created a new queue where I was the first in line. I don’t think anyone else would have liked it! I thought the lady at the counter might say, “Sorry,” but she didn’t. She said, “I’m giving you the last aisle seat I have.”

In airports, you can feel relatively relaxed once you get your boarding pass - because then even if you were held up in security check, the airline would start searching for you and expedite the process. The security check queues were moving very slowly and only a few were operational. After ten minutes, a energetic security personnel opened one more line for screening. He was so fast with the metal detector instrument that he completed 4 people while the others had finished just one. And it wasn’t that he took any shortcut - it was just that he was so energetic and brisk when he waved the metal detector on your body. The people in the queue were delighted to see the speed at which he worked. 
The moral of the story is, as most of our moms would say, “There is no harm in going to the airport or station early. What big deal are you going to do at home in that one hour? Why not spend it in the airport?”
Why the hurry?

It reminded me of something else. Every time in flights, I always dream of a day when everyone in the flight will be patient while exiting the plane. Today was typical - as soon as the flight slowed after touchdown, most people stood up and start pulling out their bags from the overhead compartments as if they could leave the plane immediately; why so much hurry for such a petty thing?
Oh well, that’s enough for today... No space for a travelogue - next edition will be about the first baseball game I attended in US.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ok. wo