I am now only days away from flying back to my little island. My bag is almost packed and I am slowly ticking off the items on the To Do list, stuck on the fridge. Now comes the rounds of saying goodbye to all my desert gals, knowing that it will be September before we will be exchanging our summer escapades over a Starbucks. It always feels strange leaving this world behind for another, which is also familiar, I don’t think I will ever quite get used to that.
As I approach the final desert days, my mind starts to wonder towards the long day ahead, just to get me to those island shores. That 3000 mile, never ending, 19 hour door-to-door journey, which by about hour 8 I am well and truly bored of. What is it about travelling that seems to only highlight all the things that drive me absolutely nuts! So here it is, my travel bugbears, my pet hates and everything that makes the journey home transform me into a crazy person.
The travel delights start from the off. Anyone that has travelled through Kuwait airport knows it’s a “special” experience. It feels like you are stepping into air travel of 30 years ago, it is never quiet and always feels like everyone in Kuwait is travelling on the same day. The sea of people never diminishes, no one seems to know what direction they are going in and undoubtedly I end up against the flow, even though I am going the right way.
The check in begins fairly smoothly until the the dude behind the counter gets completely confused that my journey ends in Jersey.
But that it leaves from another airport, that you don’t land from Kuwait.
How can this be?!
How can I have a connection from somewhere else that BA fly from?
How can this be even possible in 2017 and what the hell does this mean to his normal procedure.
So as usual, I go through the whole explanation that the bags don’t need to have transit tickets on them, I am more than aware that I need to collect my bag at Heathrow and make my own way to Gatwick. Somewhat bemused he finally concedes that this is ok and I can now move through the rest of the airport, where I literally run to Starbucks to get fuelled for the journey ahead.
The joys continue as the gate is called and boarding begins. This is a truly lovely experience (do you sense the sarcasm) where people seem to have no concept of queuing and the priority boarding lane is a free for all. The additional security check always finds the women with all the metal jewellery, huge sunglasses, Gucci bumbag, who thinks it’s totally ok to walk through the arch with all this paraphernalia and then kicks off when she’s asked to remove it all…..oh and you can guarantee that I will be behind her.
Then boarding Kuwaiti style then begins…
- Mass rush to the gate door, as no one listens to the pre boarding separation by seat row number or frequent flyer status
- The seat number on your boarding pass is obviously just a guide and you can just pick whatever seat you want, even if someone is sitting in it!
- The expectation that your luggage has to be directly above you and its totally acceptable to move other people’s out the way so it is
- People still wondering around the cabin as we are taxiing for take off
- Kids refusing to sit down and using the seats as a trampoline.
And this is all before I have even left Kuwait! It’s gonna be a very long day……….
Upon landing in the UK, comes the battle to get off the plane. As the wheels touch down there will already be plenty of passengers up and walking around trying to get luggage from the overheads, all the while the fly attendants are screaming for them to sit down. Then with absolutely no concern for any other passengers, as the pushing to get off the plane begins and whilst we are all queuing in a (fairly) orderly fashion there is always one that thinks that rules don’t apply and wants to shove everyone else out the way. At this point my defensive elbows come out, I strategically place my handluggage in the aisle to slow down their arrogance.
Haha 1 to me, sucker!
At last I am off the plane, back on UK soil and already everything seems a little better. Erm spoke too soon. As I am in my efficient, slightly power walking, ok I am practically marching, a women on a mission towards passport control, but my pace is slowed down by a mass of people who think its a great idea to stop for a chat right at the point where you need to decide on which lane to take. With lots of FFS under my breath I manage to swerve, jump and ninja move my way round the chatty bunch and get myself through and eventually grab my bags. Phew, one step closer to my island haven and at last, I am out of the 2nd airport of the day and its still only lunchtime.
The journey to Gatwick is an annoyance, whether I am sat on the over crowded National Express coach or by cab, but I don’t notice as I am too lost in the greenery. I gaze out the window at the trees and sprawling grass banks, such a contrast to the desert and I know this because I am romanticising about trees and I am on the M25! See this is what desert life does to you, even a tree lined motor way gets me excited to be back in Blighty.
Airport number 3. I head for check in and the confusion of the desert morning starts to unravel. As they scan my boarding card and take my luggage it seems that a message was left by the poor dazed and confused desert dude. The lovely lady, who I am now standing in front of, doesn’t really understand the code that he has used and so more confusion continues. She makes a phone call and runs the 6 alpha numerical “code” that was left behind in Kuwait to her colleague on the phone. After what feels like another hour to my journey, she and the bloke on the other end of the phone, have worked out that the “code” means absolutely nothing and he probably just typed it in to look like he was doing something at the other end!!!
GIVE ME STRENGTH……still 4 hours to landing in Jersey.
I don’t know what it is about Gatwick aiport but it seems to attract people that have no idea how to travel. The liquid ban has been in place for at least 10 years now, so why am I always behind the whole family that have decided to bring bottles of water, jars of Harrods jams, perfumes, peanut butter and any other confounded thing they could think of to slow me down.
So to calm me down and make to the most of being on English soil, I usual decide to grab myself an uncensored trashy magazine, that will keep me occupied in my remaining hours. This is fine in theory, until you have to battle with the bloody self service machines in WH Smith, that want to ask you every question under the sun before you can actually pay for the mag. When did purchasing something become a round up of personal information gathering and a Mastermind style integration…..
NO I DONT WANT A BLEEDING BAG….NO THERE IS NOTHING LEFT IN THE BAGGING AREA….OH NOW YOU WANT MY BOARDING PASS WHEN ITS AT THE BOTTOM OF MY HANDBAG……I JUST WANT TO PAY!
The brick wall has now well and truly been hit. I am tired, grumpy with all the FFS moments and because I am back in UK, I am definitely cold. At this point the final hours, literally do feel like my final hours. I just want to get home and I know that I still have another plane to board to cross that final stretch of water.
Finally, I am boarding (again) and this is where the journey starts to pick up. The familiarity of making my way to the same gate, seeing the same crew that you have come across so many times before. Then the cliched moment, that because its a flight to Jersey you will know more than one person on the flight. The knowing nods, smiles and people exchanging pleasantries on where they have been and how are the kids. This is when I know I am one step closer, just 35 minutes away from that beautiful rock and just 35 minutes from being able to breathe fresh clean air, in which I instantly forget the journey that got me there.