Friday 3 December 2021

Setting off for something

Packing neat not heat

I cannot at all understand where all my friends get the idea that I pack too much when going away. In my view, I pack what needs to go with me, for it is better to have more than you need than to be met with missing what you should have taken.

I am nowhere in the league of Donatella Versace who arrived at London Heathrow in one of those Airport television programmes and she was missing a suitcase out of 63. The airport staff were searching high and low for it, it made for interesting television viewing.

In any case, because I have a Platinum card with AirFrance/KLM, I have the standard quota of 2 pieces of checked-in luggage and one more. Since there were things, I was taking over for myself and for Brian, I utilised the full quota, even as my friends protested over the phone that I was going to overdo it, I am moderation personified, damn it.

Loyalty creates priority

Obviously, I had to call an Uber XL to carry 3 suitcases, a suit bag, and a rucksack, all brimming with goods, as one does. It meant I had to get a trolley at the airport to get my stuff to the check-in desk. There was a long queue for the standard check-in and just 2 people ahead of me in the Sky Priority queue.

At the desk, I presented my passport, then proof of vaccination, 3 jabs of Pfizer BioNTech and a Fitness to Travel Certificate, a negative result from a COVID PCR test, which is standard for any travel consideration and thankfully a lot less expensive compared to what I paid to the same test in December last year. The directors of that company are probably sunning themselves on their yachts in Dubai having made a killing in the pandemic. Disaster capitalists, all of them.

Far, a longer way to lounge

Then, I was through to security, the Fast-Track Lane as I displayed containers of liquid, electronic devices, then through a scanner where I had inadvertently forgotten a pound coin in my pocket and some creams were secreted in my rucksack. It’s been a long week.

Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport is new, and I had never been through it before. I cannot understand why the lounges are so far away, tucked away from the madding crowd and presenting an ordeal to get to if you use a cane or need some mobility assistance.

Once late, twice deflated

My flight to Paris was to take off at 6:05, the lounge had been open early and it was good to settle there for just about an hour before leaving to board my flight which left Manchester 35 minutes late and that ate into the time I would have had to shop and lounge in Paris, I had quite a short stayover, I had to go straight to the gate for my flight to Cape Town.

Now, I was expecting to be on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, that was what was advertised when I booked my flight, well, fancy ending up on a Boeing 777-300, cramped, noisy, no WiFi and well, let me not complain, I sip the champagne and lie down, it is a 10:40 hour flight to Cape Town. Savoir-faire.

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