суббота, 6 февраля 2016 г.

Airport adventures

It is time to switch back to the travel topic and to tell you about the days spent in Portugal in late October / early November. This time even the flights were eventful, so I can't help sharing recollections of them with you.

There is no direct air communication between Saint Petersburg and Lisbon. So I had to choose a transit flight for the first time in my life. Both stopovers were made in the cities familiar to me: Paris and Rome.

Part I. Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport

I know three persons who flew through Paris and whose luggage was lost in that airport (and reunited with its owner only several days after). I don't know anyone who used transit flight with stopover in Paris and got his/her luggage in the destination. If you are such person, then please let me know in order to keep the statistics up-to-date.

Do you think that they lost my luggage as well? Oh, that'd be too easy. They didn't. Actually, they couldn't. I took the necessary precautions and hadn't any luggage but the carry-on one.

Anyway, I still felt a bit nervous about that part of the journey because I had only one hour to get from one terminal to the other one. It had to be achievable (otherwise, they wouln't sell tickets Saint Petersburg - Paris - Lisbon with only one hour between two flights). When 15-20 minutes after the landing I was approaching the desired terminal on the shuttle bus I even started to think that it was easily achievable

Soon I realized how naive I had been: several dozens of people stood in the queue to the passport control. Fortunately, employees of Charles de Gaulle Airport turned out to be very efficient so I successfully passed to the next level of the thrilling adventure "Board the plane in time" sooner than I expected. 

The path was not clear yet: a minute later I ran into the luggage control. It was absolutely unexpected: being a transit passenger I didn't saw any sense in this additional interim check (moreover, on the way back there was no luggage control in Rome). I still had around 15 minutes when I passed this stage as well...  

I was nearly running (as far as it is possible in such a crowded place like Paris main airport) glancing from time to time at the indicator boards telling me "Boarding. Last call" and at the signs assuring me that I'm moving in the right direction. Finally I was there, in the large oval hall with the boarding gates along its boundary. Certainly, my gate was in the opposite corner of the hall which center was crowded...

Five minutes later I felt relieved sitting in the plane. It'd be very sad to spoil the marvelous days awaiting me because of being late for a flight. Note to self: never choose a transit through Charles de Gaulle having less than three hours between two flights!   

Part II, in which the absence of luggage becomes a source of problems. Rome, Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport

I had 2 hours 15 minutes this time. There was no crowd willing to pass the passport control and no other obstacles as well. That's why an hour before the boarding I just sat down near my gate and continued to watch "Truffaldino of Bergamo" on my tablet.

When the boarding time came, it turned out that they changed the gate (without notifying the passengers as far as I could see by the behaviour of the others). The new gate was located nearby but out of sight for us who waited near the prevously announced one. Anyway, it couldn't cause any troubles, just irritated me a little.

First thing I had to do was to print a ticket (in Lisbon I was able to print the ticket only for the first part of the route). Before that I had a funny conversation in broken English from both sides with the employee of the airport whom I told three times that I have no luggage, and thus, no bag tag number from the Lisbon-Rome part of the trip. Then I moved to the neighbouring queue (for the boarding). Soon I showed my ticket aaaand... yep, it turned out that they printed me a ticket with some bag tag number! I'm still curious what was in the luggage corresponding to that number :) However, I had to print my ticket once again and here my troubles began. 

It took them merely seven attempts to print a new ticket for me (I guess there was some conflict with already printed tickets). And their system... oh, it was undoubtedly the handiest one I've ever seen. To begin with, it was DOS-like, with command line interface only, and the employee who was trying to resolve my issue didn't seem to feel comfortable with it. But its main feature was that the passport data had to be typed in from scratch after each unsuccessful attempt. Hope they didn't memorize my name and my passport number for the rest of their lives :)

Airline departure delay implicitly connected with myself - achievement unlocked :)

And one more airport I will be cautious to use as a stopover in the future.

1 комментарий:

  1. > I don't know anyone who used transit flight with stopover in Paris and got his/her luggage in the destination.

    I actually flew through CDG twice last summer (LED-TUN and return) with luggage and there were no troubles. Still, I'm trying to avoid that airport based on my experience :)

    One hour for international transfer (with passport control, I mean) is a rather short time, I'm surprised you were brave enough to buy it.

    And additional security checks for transfer passengers is common in CDG: I had to pass one on my trip from LED to TUN too. Don't remember about check on TUN-LED, though, maybe they do additional checks for flights arriving from non-EU only, just because they're not sure about checks quality. What's interesting question here is what they do if they find a forbidden item (say, a knife or a firearm) - it looks rather difficult to check it in luggage when you're transferring without passport control (and, thus, luggage is automatically transferred to your next flight).