Saturday, May 30, 2015

Drama At The Airport

I love air travel and the buzz of airports. I like my cold TML in Java’s at Kenya’s JKIA; a Club at Entebbe’s Karibuni Lounge, the smell of stale cigarette smoke in the smokers lounge at Jo’burg’s O. R Tambo and a John Smith’s pint along with shepherds pie in Heathrow’s Five Turns Pub. But I loathe other passengers.
Airports are like a Hollywood film set, except, none of the cast (passengers) has a script. There is also no director and filming goes on all year. If there is a theme to the ‘movie’, then it’s people and their baggage.

My golden rule about flying is to get to the airport as early as possible, wiz through check-in and head to the nearest pub for a beer before they call the flight. That gives me enough time to check out pretty Stewardess and watch the drama and mayhem that Oga Woman flying to Lagos, Arab Man and Harem, Ugandan Woman and the rest bring.  
At Heathrow or Dubai, Ugandan Woman stands out because she is always overweight – not with her butt in this case, but with her luggage. She never has enough money left over to pay for the excess kg’s and wonders how she going to get the equivalent of a 20ft container of bras, clothes and wedding planning equipment she bought during her spree, shrink into the 23kg baggage allowance that British Airways allows. I have seen them go into shock and disbelief while pleading with BA Woman that: “I only have ten pieces of luggage – surely I can’t be overweight?”

Other passengers fall into the following categories.

Everyeventualityists think they are ready for anything. They have plastic bags with somosas, Splash juice, bogoya (in case of flight delays), the bible, and two Danielle Steel novels bought from Aristoc the day before to read on the flight but, won’t once the in-flight entertainment is switched on. Though prepared, they always forget their vaccination documents.

Chancers bring large laptop bags, suit carriers and cabin luggage - bumping our heads as they struggle to their seats. They board early and fill the overhead compartments so there’s no room for anybody else’s bags.

Exceptionalists are tourists who have been to National Theatre’s arts and craft village and bought the biggest giraffes, gorillas or buffalo crafts on display – if not, the set of local drums they saw while at Ndere Centre and are baffled as to why the airline won’t make an exception and let them take their precious items on board.

Makedoists are stingy. They would rather have their bursting-at-the-seams suitcases, burst open than spend money having Chap - who wraps luggage in cling foil do the needful. And there is the danger that the cheap Chinese Samsonite replica suitcase bought across the road from Radio One, is going to split open, so they travel with rolls of string and masking tape for emergency DIY repairs.

Inadvertentists think they are the only people with wheeled suitcases. They camp at the carousel picking up every wheeled suitcase – even yours, which is wrapped in cling foil while, ignoring theirs which have split open and littering the carousel with their underwear.

Indignants believe security rules inconvenience them. With enough bling on their fingers and neck, they also have coins scattered in all 20 plus pockets of their cargo pants, which set off the metal detector each time they walk through then, roll their eyes when Security Man barks yet again – “Empty all contents of your pockets!”

Flusterers, are the ‘ba tumbavu’ so I say because they always pack boarding passes and passports at the bottom of their bags or in one of the ga-zillion pockets on their cargo pants then hold up the queue at the boarding gate as they try to figure where they put them.

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