Fear and Loathing at the Airport (Part 2)

Yesterday I blogged about checking in on line and how I was nearly denied boarding. In the end, I boarded my flight with time to spare because the efficient staff at Hong Kong International Airport whisked me to the front of lines and took me on a short cut to the gate.

Ten days later, I was at the same airport about to embark on yet another press trip. This time, I was to meet the trip’s organizer at the point of departure rather than at the point of arrival.

Because I was taking an airline that I didn’t have a “relationship” with, I received an e-ticket in my in-box, but there was no invitation for me to check in on line. All right by me, considering the previous week’s nearly missed flight!

Arrival at Chek Lap Kok

I arrived at the airport right on time. Two others were already there. Someone had already checked in. We awaited the other two. As it turns out, three of our entourage had checked in on line, and three of us had to wait in line and do things the old fashioned way.

We slowly worked our ways to the front of the queue, checking in em mass, so to speak. We were hoping to get seats next to one another The clerk manning the counter was not exactly charm personified. He had a surly expression on his face and answered our questions with a total lack of enthusiasm.

We rolled our eyes several times, wondering what, exactly, his problem was. We also wondered what was taking him so long. He was spending so much time looking at the screen of his computer and pushing buttons, we started to wonder if he was playing Solitaire rather than processing our reservation.

In the end, our passports were returned and we were handed our boarding passes. He failed to inform us that there were available three seats next to each other.

A bit annoyed, we headed for security and passport control. We were on our merry way. Following breakfast, we went to the gate. No shortcuts this time.

We had to travel along a relentless series of moving sidewalks, past countless Starbucks outlets, each once screaming out to me, “Why don’t you stop and buy a cup of java?”

Arriving at the gate, we were greeted by a lengthy line. As we snaked to the front of it, the agent boarding business class passengers waved to us, allowing us to let her to process our boarding passes.

As we made our ways down the jetway, I joked, “It seems to me that if we got to use the business class entrance, we also should be allowed to sit in business class.” Yeah, right . . .

Another Long Queue

We faced another long queue at the entrance to the plane. When I showed my boarding pass to the flight attendant, she pointed to the stairway, and said that my seat was upstairs.

I sprinted up the steps and – to my very pleasant surprise – found myself in the calm surroundings of business class. I approached my two companions, who were already sprawled in their commodious seats.

“I think this is business class,” I said. “I think you’re right,” they responded. I took my seat and waited for the other three in our group to ascend the stairs. They never did. Copyright: Michael Taylor

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