Where do I start with this day?
I arrived at Birmingham Airport about 2 hours and 20 minutes early. I was then presented with a huge queue to get to the queue for the bag drop. To be fair to the people at the desk, they seemed relatively efficient, but there were 2 floating staff who were chatting to each other and laughing, rather than handling the queue. There needed to be:
- A specific “bag drop only” queue, which most people would have breezed through.
- A “special cases” queue for those families that turn up with 45 cases and wonder why they can’t take them.
- A “check in” queue, where people who have not already checked in can go.
Something simple like that would have meant the queue moved much quicker and the floating staff could have organised that easily if they could be bothered and weren’t morons. Of course, that couldn’t happen because we are talking about the Air France / KLM gate, so you know it’s going to be terrible. I sent a few tweets to both KLM and BHX that contained lots of expletives. Sorry if that offended anyone, but tough!
Eventually I got through the “queue to the queue” for bag drop, then I joined the “queue for the queue” for security. Yes, there was a queue to get to the place you normally queue! Once again, an obvious case for sorting your staff out. They know when they will be busy in advance, so they should staff accordingly.
I finally got to the boarding gate and could see the plane, but they were unloading for ages. Turns out there were a team of Para-Olympic athletes on the plane and the ground staff did not anticipate how long it would take to get them and their wheelchairs off. Once again, bad planning. We took off 40 minutes late, which was a worry since I had a very short connection at Amsterdam for the next flight. Just before we landed they announced some people had missed their connections, but mine was still possible if I legged it. Fortunately for me, the next flight was delayed also, so I made it!
I sat on the flight from Amsterdam to Panama, sighed with relief, then got a massive headache. I thought I was going to have one of my puking episodes, but I managed to down some paracetamol and sleep for a bout 10 minutes, which was enough to take the edge off.
I arrived in Panama, but my luggage didn’t. After a queue to deal with my lost luggage, I queued for about 40 minutes to get through the bag check, without my bags.
After a death-race taxi ride to the hotel and the travel was over. At that point, if I had the option to got straight home I would have done. The flights themselves were fine, as were the flight staff. It was the chaos on the ground that was the problem, which left me feeling like I never want to fly again. It was a terrible day!
I met up with Debra so she could watch me eat cheese and talk me down. Then it was bed and the hope that I would never remember this day!
Tomorrow is ORAUG PTY, the first event of the OTN Tour of Latin America 2016 (Northern Leg).
PS. The video is dedicated to Mark Rittman, who loves my travel videos, describing them as “boring” and saying, “nothing happens in them”, which is of course the whole point of doing them. 🙂