I know the above is a bold statement to make, but after being on the move for as long as I can remember, I am starting to really believe in my own notion. Whoever thought it’s all about the journey possibly didn’t have to contend with the challenges, such as:
- Long out-of-the-way public transport (or self-driven) journey to the airport. Throw in the complication of finding the correct terminal and less-than-2-minute drop-off rule and erratic drivers trying to get to the side of the curb, for extra dose of stress.
- Then the joy of budget airlines, which are usually in the deserted part of the airport, which is the haunted version of Hotel California, because you can
check-outcome in anytime you like, but you can never leave.
- Ever-so-lengthy security checks that require one to take off their jacket, take off their shoes, put your tiny 100ml liquids in a ziplock bags, pull out your laptop, pull out your tablets. What about your belt? Should you keep your watch on? What about this bracelet? What about the wedding ring that you promised not to ever take off? Will it be just easier to wear a onesie and strip down to your undies? But what if your bra has a metal wire? GAH!!!!
Even though we have been bitten hard by the travel bug, Mrs FOMOist and I agree on spending least amount of time travelling, which means we check-in online, already have our liquids and other items in our hands before security and usually have something in our stomach so we don’t have to pay £6 for a £3 sandwich at the airport.
On the other hand, we have friends who have cute airport rituals like having a glass of champagne before they go on their trip. Inspired by the hope of a relaxed start to a wicked holiday, we decided that we will try and get to the airport early enough to grab a bite/beverage – beer for me, tea for Gee. So how did that go? Here’s how:
- Scenario 1: We have checked in online so it’ll be plenty of time if we arrive 1.5 hours early. We arrive at Stansted. Walk up to the gates where you have to scan the barcode of our boarding pass. Luckily the lady checks our boarding passes and advises that since we are flying Ryanair and not an EU citizens, we need to get our boarding passes “checked”. WHY??? So we spend majority of our time queued up with people trying to drop their bags = no pre-flight food or drink.
- Scenario 2: Our flight leaves from Gatwick. We have an hour, we decide we should grab Macca’s before boarding the plane. We wait till it’s only 30 minutes to boarding so our meal will be nice ‘n’ hot to enjoy in-flight. We queue up and then we wait, and wait, and wait. The end result = no Macca’s and the 10-minute walk covered in 2-minute bolting action, while dragging our little wheelie cabin luggage.
- Scenario 3: We are homeward bound after a relaxing holiday in Stockholm, we’ve got some Swedish Krona left, oh just enough for a beer each. We settle down and start working on the beer. 15 minutes to the flight, we pick our bags up and can’t find our BA flight on the board. Run up to the nearest official looking guy to be told that we are at the wrong terminal and will have to leave the terminal, go through security and customs at the other terminal before we can catch our flight, scheduled (and on-time) for departure in 15-minutes. While prepping up, we ask the dreaded question of “how far is the other terminal?” to which the man replies “at least 10-minutes, if you run!”. We run for our lives like our pants were on fire, and are the last people to enter the plane! At this point we decide that we might actually make a good The Amazing Race couple.
- Scenario 4: We have an afternoon flight from Istanbul so we can get home at a decent hour to relax before the working week. We get to the airport and advised that the flight is delayed by 3-hours, but because the check-in time remained unchanged, British Airways did not bother advising the passengers of the delay. I am sure I speak on behalf of everyone here, I rather spend the 3 hours on the streets of Istanbul, than stuck at the airport. Anyways, we are here, let’s go through customs. Mrs FOMOist and I give our respective Australian and NZ Passports to the officer. He looks at the passports, realises he doesn’t know what to do with them and announces that the counter is closed and we need to go line-up again. As frustrating as it was, we’ve got time so let’s do it. Finally get to the other officer, who makes a couple of calls, stamps the passports and puts my passport so close to his side of the desk that my hand knocks it on to his feet. At this point, this customs officer huffs and puffs and gives me the look of disgust like a father who would smack the shit of out his kid for being stupid.
- Scenario 4: The good ol’ eGates. The concept is so much more promising than the reality which is more like lottery – you never know the odds of you going through the eGates. For your reference, if you are doing Movember, those chances are nil.
So there you have it, my bitter explanation of why it’s all about the destination! And my long lost twin Freddy.