I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

T5 ABC, easy as 123

Good lord.

OK so the food was cold, whatever, The beer was nice and I settled down to watch another episode and a half of the Sopranos, this time in the right order. Pretty good. I'm starting from series one cos I've not seen any of it before. The sound effects for punching are mad though, like some crazy 70s Kung fu flick.

Of course what I should have done is start on the preceding blog post but, well, I didn't. Plenty of time for that on the ground.

Scheduled landing time was 1740 but we touched down at 1719, woohoo! What's more we were at a pretty close gate to the flight connections centre which, along with security, was a total breeze. And better yet, emails told me my Joburg flight is leaving late! Boarding is at 1840 from a gate in the T5C satellite and I'm already airside in the main terminal by 1745. So no panic this week, and plenty of time for the lounge. A hundred or so more emails then come in telling me my is flight delayed a bit more, but then on time. Boo. But still plenty of time.

Immediately through security is the main lounge and I ask at the desk I'd there's a lounge in C - there isn't, but I should use the one in B. Fair enough, I've been there, two weeks ago on my way to Joburg on a connection.

The walk to transit is relatively unhindered. I miss a lift by seconds but the next is soon enough, the transit is fast, I know where I'm going. Excellent.

In the lounge, straight into the loo and get changed. Feels good. Then, found a seat and grabbed a plate of quiche and potato salad, and a can of Heineken. True groundhog experience. And then I sat down to write the last post.

You'll note that post ended somewhat hastily. I mean, I had time, but I wanted to eat and drink plus I still had to get to C, so, y'know, I didn't have LOADS of time. But enough. I left the lounge at 1825. 45 minutes til the plane leaves. Easy.

The signs in B say to go to a different transit area to where I got off. Huh, ok. But signs are signs so I follow them. There's no one else around and it looks like I've just missed a monorail. Never mind. A couple of other people arrive and then a transit...whose doors don't open. There are people on it but no announcements. Through the other side, I see people getting on it. I have no idea how to get to that other side. A tiny tiny teeny bit of panic sets in.

The family who had arrived were as confused as me. With no signs or announcements and, worse, another transit visible through the other side, seemingly going to the C gates, the panic gets a bit bigger. It's 1835 now. I run up the escalators and through the terminal to the lift I'd got up when I arrived. Same deal. No signs at the bottom, no announcements, and I just missed a train. It seems like I'm in exactly the same place as before even though I can't be.

This is bullshit. It's 1840. Boarding o'clock. Apparently, according to one sign I have seen, I'm 10 minutes from C. This flight is on an A380 and these are giant planes who open and close boarding early. For fucks sake. Panic is now very high. I run back up the nearest escalators, again through the terminal, back to the first platform. The family are there, having been told by some staff up top that yes, it's the right place, but there are monorails in both directions from there and they don't announce them. You just get on the one whose doors open. Christ. So now it's 1850 and a transit arrives and I'm texting Chris to tell him I might miss the flight, and having a conversation about homemade Cornish pasties with Alex. Priorities are priorities.

I get to C. Peg it up a third set of escalators in ~15 minutes and stride very purposefully towards gate C56, two along from where I surfaced. There's a lot of people hanging around and some announcement about crew not being ready yet so there's a bit of a delay, to a destination ending in -burg. I relax a bit. They repeat and say Hamburg. I speed up. For gods sake BA, do not fly to destinations with the same last syllable from adjacent gates!

Two strides on and there's another loud, serious sounding announcement. Apparently anyone intending to fly to Johannesburg should get to gate C56 immediately or be offloaded. Last and final call. Well OK then!

I have never seen an emptier gate which isn't actually closed than C56. I get to the desk and, phew, I'm through. I think no one else gets on behind me, but then I spot one person, And only one person. I am the last but one to board a heaving double decker plane. Jesus H Christ. Stressed, panicky, hot and sweaty, heart racing, but also laughing at myself a bit. Gotta get my free beer and post to my blog, eh? Just can't do anything simply...

The cabins are boiling hot and carnage, with everyone having a real barney about finding somewhere to put their bags. It's a common thread all fucking day. Mine fits under my seat, but I guess I'm not taking much for 48 hours away.

My boarding pass didn't beep anywhere. The exit row I thought I had secured, I had not secured. I'm in my previously chosen seat, 83A, the very last seat on the left hand side of the upper deck. I picked it so I can recline without worrying about the person behind me (if I'm in front of someone, I just don't recline, simple). I'm gonna need this recline too, if my heart rate ever drops down to a speed conducive to sleep...

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