Privatisation is BULLSHIT
My flight to
Cost of transit: INR 151.
Time of transit without jumps: 65 minutes
Time of transit if one jumps: 25 minutes
I’ll admit I haven’t done this transit in
There’s a reason people are rude and bitchy in airports. It works.
The afternoon of my departure, I received a phone-call from American Airlines. ‘Hi ma’am this is Anchal from American Airlines. Am I speaking to Ms. MinCat? Your American Airlines flight to
Smug, I disconnected, since I had been expecting just this to happen, and had my butt safely covered, getting to
Once I got to
1010pm. I’m getting slightly stressed out. The girl is nowhere to be seen, so I approach another one, who is, I later realized predictably, having a long and amiable conversation with a group of, you guessed it, white Americans. ‘Ma’am we’ll do our best, don’t worry we’ll have you on the flight, please wait in this queue, if it doesn’t move in 15 minutes I’ll help you out.’
1025pm. Nothing has changed, except my teeth have been ground down about a millimetre. The girl I last spoke to is avoiding looking in my direction. There are about four guys in suits standing about watching one guy at the first class counter do something. I approach a third girl. I say, look the flight leaves in an hour and a half, please look at my ticket. ‘In a minute ma’am.’
1035pm. I catch the last girl again and am a little strident, look I’ve been here for nearly forty minutes, and what happens if I miss the Continental flight because you won’t look at my ticket. Reluctantly she takes my ticket and passport, telling me sternly that ONLY IF my itinerary reflects that I have indeed made that change will she ticket it for me. She joins the gaggle at the first class counter and shares several jokes with them.
1050pm. Another girl comes to me with the ticket and says here, go to Continental. I say, it’s almost time for the counters to close, aren’t you going to contact them or send someone to help me? She waves a porter at me, who has no clue where we’re going or why. As we go towards Continental’s counters the girl who took my tickets passes by with a stressed out passenger in tow, and looks at me and then pretends she hasn’t seen me. I see that the screens that were displaying the Continental logo have been turned off, and break into a run, only to be stopped by a nice man who says, I’m sorry, the flight is closed, we can’t hold it for American passengers. We told them to have their passengers with us by 1030pm.
11pm. I return to the American counter and let it rip. ‘Will someone pay attention’ I bellow. A girl at a ticket terminal looks up and says ‘yes?’ ‘The Continental counters are closed,’ I say loudly and stridently. ‘The agent said you were asked to send us there by 1030. I’ve been asking for someone to look at my ticket from 10pm. Now please tell me how you’re going to get me to
Essentially, I had been polite, I had been patient, I had been, in fact, quite non-Indian. Unfortunately, since I was neither white nor first class, I got no service, and eventually I am paying the price for behaving well. The question I put to the manager: Do you WANT people to be obnoxious? Because that’s the message you’re sending.
European airports, at least the ones that seem spanking new, are eerie.
Madrid Barajas has a new international terminal, and it is an architectural wonder. It has high, undulating ceilings; it is banded in bright primary colours; it’s airy and cheerful. It’s also ridiculously large. And empty. There are huge rows of empty seats for waiting passengers; long, vacant corridors; tons of shuttered shops; and miles of walking through glass-enclosed walkways before you actually see someone who wasn’t on your flight. You even need to take a subway train-ride of about 5 minutes to get to baggage claim (this after the 20 minute walk from the gate to the train stop).
Paris Charles de Gaulle seems to be trying to do the same thing! It has high ceilings, VERY chic modern seats (comfy too), double rows of internet terminals separating gates, glass and chrome and sleek lines everywhere, bright strips of coloured lighting, the glass walkways and beautiful views of the city from them, modern art on the walls, warm carpets, glass towers with LCD TV screens every 10 feet….and no people
*Actually all airports charge those kinds of fees, about 30% of the domestic travel fare in the