Monday, 19 December 2011

... Tanzania: Airport Queuing Etiquette... Or Lack Thereof

Someone in their infinite wisdom advised Schiphol Airport that it was more conducive to have you go through security control at your gate. Along with the rest of your fellow passengers getting onto that big plane parked next to it. And the gate area would be barely big enough to swing a cat. Wonderful.

The "rule" of airport queuing still applies here, everyone rushes forward even if their row has not been called because of course the plane will take off if you are not in your seat before everyone else. I used some common sense and waited until I was one of the last few still seated in the waiting area to avoid having to queue with all my gear. People were pretty grumpy about having to do this prior to boarding with 200-ish others. You could at least avoid having to remove your shoes if you went through the fancy machine where you stand like you're surrendering so you don't get shot although you also wonder if you're about to get sprayed from head to toe with Deet or something. Unfortunately despite a hassle free trip for me through security I got pounced on by some airport official. My backpack was "too big for the plane". Funny but I didn't realize I was flying crop duster to Nairobi. I tried protesting. Not just because someone with a case the size of a fridge was strolling past us to board but mainly because luggage has a nasty habit of not arriving in Kilimanjaro when you fly via Nairobi. Everything I needed for my hike was tightly packed & air compressed in that pack and if it wasn't I was wearing it. Even staff at YVR had advised me to not check in any luggage at Schiphol and all my own research had been my reason as to why I was doing carry on only. But it was all in vain and it was too tiring trying to remain polite with this absolute imbecile and I reluctantly handed over my pack.

I've never flown Kenya Airways before. The plane was full but the staff were polite & efficient. I made myself comfy and had fallen asleep before we'd even pushed back from the gate. I woke just as we were taking off, made sure my TV was on the map route and promptly passed out again.

My ticket had read "strict vegetarian" at the bottom of it. When I received my meals I wondered if they had taken this to mean "must not resemble food". Most of the contents appeared to be puréed and perhaps added to their containers using a hose of some kind. Still looks can be deceiving and I must say everything I was given that I ate was surprisingly tasty. I guess my advice would be don't judge a book by its cover.

Aside from that the flight was pretty uneventful. I was able to watch a violent looking thunderstorm in a huge mass of cloud and a beautiful sunrise over Kenya just before we started our descent into Nairobi.

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