I just got back from Helsinki last night, and what a long voyage it was! It all started with not being able to complete online checkin the day before (I still don’t understand why, even though the people on the helpline told me this wasn’t uncommon). Here’s a rundown of my airport adventures:
I arrived at the airport later than expected (bus took about 45 minutes, not 20…), but still at 12:30 (flight scheduled for 2:00 departure). Waited in line for over an hour, because I couldn’t check in at the kiosk despite what I’d been told via telephone the night before. Finally got to the front of the line at 1:40. The clerk checked my bag, but gave me a standby ticket. Argh! I ran through security (fastest one ever!), got to the gate, and was finally assigned a seat. Relieved, I boarded the plane only to find a woman already in my seat…with my seat number on her ticket! I had to stand in the back of the plane with the (admittedly very friendly) flight attendants until a seat was arranged. They finally put me in business class (very nice!) and our flight departed 25 minutes late. I was not the only one with issues….
Flight got in 15 minutes late. I hustled to passport control, and good thing because another 45-minute line awaited me! I went straight to my gate after that, only to hear the announcement that this was the final call for boarding if you already had a seat and wanted to keep it (this was about a full hour before scheduled departure). I went through the mini-security setup at gate (another passport check, more baggage screening, and that new x-ray thing) only to enter a second waiting room. I opened laptop to text Mike (my phone had died on the flight to Amsterdam for unexplained reasons) only to be told rather rudely by security to shut my computer because boarding was starting. As if there weren’t over 100 other people boarding who could go in front of me for all I cared! But I sent my texts, boarded the plane, and found I was sitting next to a kid (not young enough to cry, so it was okay…although she watched my TV screen over my shoulder the whole time, which was awkward). In-flight highlights: getting ice water spilled across my shoulder and chest by a clumsy flight attendant, the 1- or 2-year old girl 2 rows up who scream-cried for the final 3 hours of the flight, and the disgusting lump of bread and cheese they tried to pass off as a panini on the last leg of the journey. (I’m not really sure how you mess up bread and cheese, but they managed it.)
Finally, things went my way! I passed all the other passengers on my speed-walk from the plane to Customs (I was about 8th in line by the time we got to Customs — I wasn’t screwing around!). I got through Customs really fast, found my luggage already on the conveyor belt, went through secondary screening super quickly (the guy asked what food I was declaring, and when I began the list with “A big bag of gummy bears…” he chuckled and waved me through). I tossed my luggage on the next belt, went through security before the rest of the sheeple (a term my brother-in-law introduced me to that’s short for sheep-people…meant for those kinds of people who blindly follow others’ example), and got to my gate in plenty of time to enjoy a phone call with Mike, some gummy bears, and a near-nap. The flight home was on one of those tiny planes with only one seat on the left of the aisle, and two on the right…and I was on the left. Bliss! I slept from the moment they closed the door until the moment we landed. Then I came home and slept some more.
Today: a day of laziness and relaxation. And maybe some Harry Potter….