Man versus Airport

Madrid – Barajas Airport – Its innovative and attractive facilities, equipped with the latest technology to offer passengers greater mobility, efficiency and speed, with modern baggage handling systems, shopping areas and a greater number of flights make Madrid one of the airport capitals of the 21st century –

ScreenHunter_458 May. 06 21.16

A 7.30am coach journey to London Luton airport and part of me already wishes I’d brought a suitcase. My trip is two days in Madrid, four days in the Pyrenees, followed by five days working in Paris, and a weekend getting drunk in Paris. Rucksack it is!

Cut to the airport and I’m standing with my rucksack, ski boot bag,  laptop in hand (and iPad) to make my hand luggage look smaller and therefore not get charged £50 to check it in. I’m wearing a jumper, hoody, jacket….and ski coat – obviously no room in my rucksack…and the sun is shining, the airport is stuffy. I am sweating.

Luton airport apparently offers a wide variety of fast food and drinks BEFORE departures. Once through, you are left with a crappy cafe and a low budget restaurant. I opt for the crappy student-esque cafe and pay just over £10 for the worlds worst, smallest, badly cooked breakfast. As the dried seeds of the fried tomato fall off my fork I’m trying to think of ways to carry my laptop onto the plane so my hand luggage will be slimmer due to the face that I struggled to push it into the baggage slot at check in.

After a failed attempt at hiding my iPad in the back of my jeans underneath my clothes I’m queuing to board the plane and I’ve settled on carrying the laptop and iPad beneath my coat, which is draped over my arm and cross my fingers. Then a tannoy announcement:

‘Attention, this flight is full. Will anyone volunteer to put their handluggage into the hold free of charge? ‘

Boom. I’m there, bag deposited, and told to queue in Speedy Boarding. I’ve cheated the system, I’ve saved money, and I’m heading on holiday. Man 1 – Airport 0.

…Two days later and it’s Man 1 – Airport 3.

An early start after two great days in Madrid with an 8:30am bus to catch a train… to get a bus to the airport. By 10am I am standing outside terminal one, two hours early, ready to fly.

I’m midway through the snake of a queue at gate 137 waiting to board. I’m frantically trying to achieve three stars in Angry Birds, unaware of my surroundings. The snake of a queue moves slowly forwards and then, as I’m ten people from the front, a sudden halt. People are appearing on the horizon, beyond the gate doors. Those that had boarded the plane are coming back.

BING – Flight Delayed.

Man 1 – Airport 1.

The screen flashes to a time of 16:05,having been originally scheduled for 12:35. Gutted. Questions are thrown in the air, the airport worker bombarded with a French, Spanish and English verbal assault.

BING – The screen flashed again. 17:35 expected time. Devastated. Man 1 – Airport 2.

The worst part about this was that there were no announcements, I truly felt bad for the airport staff. It was question after questions, most likely the same one, just delivered in a different accent. One Spanish question, and the worker snapped. This could have been avoided had they made just one announcement.

After receiving my two free snack vouchers amounting to just under ten Euros (I was able to buy a sandwich and  bottle of water) it dawned upon me that I was no longer able to land in France, catch the train, and two buses planned to climb into the Pyrenees. The only way to get to the Pyrenees at this new time would be via car rental, which would cost an extra £130.

Man 1 – Airport 3.

If this is karma, I’m paying to check my bag in advance next time.


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