Traveling has been in my blood since birth, did I tell you that once when I was little my parents were traveling on a ship (the only means of traveling at that time) and of course being a bet on the low side of cash, were sleeping on the deck of the ship; apparently I woke up and started crawling and fell of the deck but was hung by a nail that held into my cloths, my aunt wok up and her instincts told her that I would be somewhere close, she saved me by waking my dad and mum, lucky you, otherwise where will you hear all of these stories from! Kidding
Anyway, the number of airports I visited in my life made me realize that no one does a good design for airports. Why do we have to go inside this humongous building, and wonder around aimlessly, buying junk that we do not need, or drinking coffee that we should not drink especially before a flight. Shouldn’t the airports be just a landing space and we are transferred in a similar fashion to our suitcases on a belt directly to the airplane? Everything can be done smoothly, a check point for the bags and people, the belt is split into two in the same way a train carriage is split, and then we find ourselves near the nozzle that takes us to the plane. No fuss and no sweat. Easy peasy, or just say any rhyming word that you liked, however commercialism had made the architects, and the airport authorities work hard to make us spend every cent that we own on the merchandise sold in shops at the airports, and just before you go on the plane, they put for you a huge jar with a charity sign on it, where you are asked to empty your pockets of the loose change to help a school in a place that you had never heard of; if it was for real, no one on this earth will be uneducated.
Just imagine if my idea works, how much time would every one save? these days they want you to be at the airport a minimum of two hours before the flight departs, if you are gold card member or traveling on business class, you finalize your checking in arrangements in ten, maximum 20 minutes, and then what? you run to the lounge, stuff yourself with food that you do not really need, as you will be served a meal (unless your carrier think that you only want to eat a plate of fruits in an 18 hours flight, which is what Emirates airlines had done to me in few of my flights) then you are called to the plane, you run to it completely sweaty, of course all of you know that the plane pumps in hot air when it is stationed, so you will stink and soak in sweat until the plane taxis and finally takes off; If ships are fast, I would travel by ships any time, you do not need to waste these precious hours on nothing.
About running, last Thursday I had an early flight to Doha, so when they announced that we should go to the plane, I realized that we were boarding from the old terminal! That is a marathon run by itself, so I started to walk briskly (didn’t do a morning walk that day, so the exercise was good) half way through I hear the voice that says the doors of the plane are closed, I stood their starring, not knowing what to do next? Shall I just continue to the gate which was going to take me at least 7 more minutes? Or I should just return back? While staring at the nothingness in the airport space an airport staff passed by, I asked her if I should go to the gate. She said yes? So this time I run so fast pulling my laptop bag along, went down the escalator, and run faster to reach the gate, to my astonishment they were still boarding some passengers? My mouth fell, and I started to growl, I asked why they have to lie, I could have had a heart attack? Asking a 55 year old to run at 15 kilometers per hour is not something to brag about, all they did was to give me a smirk? What do I do with that? On top of it, I had a meeting in Doha, and to go there smiling like a fish was their responsibility, they offered me a cold towel, and another smirk? And that is it? What do you do with people like that except to thank your stars that you are one of the remaining sane persons on earth?
Once I attended a conference in Hong Kong, the day we were supposed to leave was a little bit windy and raining; no one told us anything. So I went to the airport, wondered around until we had to board, went inside the airplane, stuffed my luggage inside the thingy on top of your seat, took my shoes off, wore my traveling socks, took my book out and started to read. The captain announced his name and greeted us, in English and in Cantonese, the airplane started to reverse from the shoot, suddenly the airplane stopped, and went back to the shoot, the captain announcing again that we should all disembark, and go inside the airport again. We didn’t know what was happening. Then of course we realized that there is this huge typhoon hitting Hong Kong, and we have to wait until it is over. Soon we find the runways completely empty, everything was taken inside, and there is no sign of life except rain and wind. We can see the shores and the waves rising so high, I thought it will actually come in and holds the airport building were we will be food to the fish in no time.
Long story short, we stayed at that airport for 48 hours, with no food, and no covers. When we finally left, I thought to myself that I will never step foot in Hong Kong again, the chaos inside that building was frantic, no ground staff was prepared for such disaster even though those countries always have disasters. So what is the point of having brilliant award winning buildings, holding non-award winning staff? Us the human beings are a very awkward breed, we think that we are non-improvable, and everything else requires our attention excluding human beings.
One last point, we were leaving the airport, all of us passed the check point quickly except for one person, when she finally emerged we asked her why was she late, she said that apparently when she came inside that country, the person on arrival did not take her information properly, so they had to re enter them in the system, imagine something happens and that country is hit by a typhoon or another natural or unnatural disaster, she will not be missed as she is in limbo, no one will know where she is; you remember the phrase disappeared in tin air? haha, that would have been the correct statement! when they finally reach the count and figure out that there is one person missing who traveled on EK 848, but never actually entered the country of destination? Imagine that.