Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Travel Blues

When I was a little girl, I used to stare up the night sky to catch a glimpse of a plane flying by. I loved to see the blinking lights of the plane and would wonder what exotic destination it was heading to. It was my secret wish to one day fly on a plane. When I was a teenager, I finally got the opportunity for my first flight when my siblings & I went to visit my aunt in Australia. I was estatic and was awe struck by the hugeness of the plane. Everything was so new. How do I take out the tray from the seat, where to fix the headphone for the in-flight entertainment, etc..Even visiting the toilet on-board was a learning experience.

Many years later, after dozens of take-offs and landings, flying has lost its lustre. I still love to travel... But the process of arriving at the destination is something I put up with as opposed to look forward to. Unless one can afford to fly business or first class, trying to sleep on the cramped economy class seats on a long-haul flight is a great challenge. Now with some budget airlines, you don't even get allocated seats and have to rush for seats, unless you're willing to pay for priority boarding.

Then of course, there are times when your luggage and you don't end up at the same destination at the same time. One time, my suit bag went to Japan - without me! Another time, on a Bangkok-KL flight, my suitcase didn't even leave Bangkok. It didn't help that the flight was re-routed to Penang as the plane couldn't land in KLIA due to bad weather. By the time we arrived at the KLIA, it was way past midnight. Then we waited forlornly at the conveyor belt for a suitcase that never came and watched as other passengers headed off with their luggage. By the time we finished making a report on the missing luggage, tracked the suitcase, extracted a promise that our suitcase would arrive tomorrow afternoon, we only arrived home in the wee hours in the morning.

Perhaps one of the worst experience of flying is when your flight is delayed or cancelled. I suppose it is only natural to feel upset when your travel plans are disrupted. Recently, hubby had to fly to Hong Kong for work and headed off to the airport at 2.30pm for a 5.30pm flight. At 7pm I get a call from him. I was puzzled as he should have been airborne by then and last I checked, you still can't use mobile phones onboard. Turns out that the first officer had a middle year imbalance and could not fly. Check out the very short video clip of the resulting chaos.

300 agitated passengers. 2 counters to deal with the flight cancellation. As it was the last flight out for the day, they could only reschedule for the next day. Passengers with connecting flights missed their connection. Tourists missed a sightseeing day. Hubby missed his morning meeting. Flights had to be re-booked. Hotels in HK had to be cancelled. Accomodation had to be found in KLIA for visitors. It was chaos. A group of China tourists were shouting and banging on the counters. Police had to be called in to restore order. That night, hubby only got home at 10.30pm. The next morning, he was up early to catch the first flight out. Poor dear!

Oh well, one has to learn to deal with these nasty surprises when we travel. That's why I always pack a good book, my Ipaq and Ipod when I have to fly. Might as well make the best of an unpleasant situation. Plus, now that I am blogging, it's an opportunity to post about it!

1 comment:

Sweet Jasmine said...

It is indeed stressful travelling with such an encounter....