Sunday, June 6, 2010

Flying KLM

  The excitement began before I even left the airport.  As I was approaching the security checkpoint, I realized I hadn't dumped out my water bottle, so I had to drink the whole liter bottle then and there to avoid having to leave the line.  As I went through the metal detector, the security agent laughed and pointed towards the nearest bathroom; but then the agent next to him pulled me out of line, and I got a complete pat-down, top to bottom, checking the soles of my shoes (which they don't make you take off in Canada) and so forth.  Then they took swab samples from the inside of my backpack and ran them through a machine.  All very dramatic, and more to the point, distracting.  It wasn't until I was shuffling around getting into my seat on the airplane, 45 minutes later, that I realized I didn't have my laptop.  I had no idea what had happened; my worst fear was that someone had taken it from the gray bin it was in at the security station, while I was getting patted down, and had just walked away with it.  One wicked adrenaline rush later, I was back out at the gate, and an extremely helpful fellow there contacted the security checkpoint agents, and they confirmed that they had my laptop.  Apparently this happens "quite often," the fellow said.  I have joined the ranks of the turkeys.  My laptop got run, literally, over to the gate by a very nice woman who was too out of breath to say much by the time she arrived.  I refrained from kissing her, and I made my flight.  Score 1 for Trudeau airport and KLM gate agents.  Score zero for my ability to walk and chew gum at the same time.

  The only difference I have detected between flying KLM and flying a U.S. airline: no spicy tomato juice.  I got normal tomato juice when I asked for it; they just ignored the word "spicy" I guess.  Normal tomato juice is gross, even after I had them put a shot of vodka in it.  But the shot of vodka was free.  Is it on U.S. airlines?  It's been so long since I flew, I can't remember.  The Hindu meal I got was a chicken breast with short-grain rice, with steamed green beans and carrots; perhaps not in violation of the Hindu religion, but not a meal any Hindu would recognize as being from their culture.  I remember back in the day, when ordering a Hindu meal would get you a glorious lentil curry, and all the other passengers would stare in wonder and envy.  Where have those days gone?  On the other hand, I'm not Hindu, of course, so who am I to complain?

  Aren't cloud landscapes amazing?  This from my window seat, coming in to Amsterdam.  It makes you realize how complex airflows are; but normally all that complexity is invisible.  Clouds are like heat applied to the lemon juice ink: the invisible pattern is revealed.

1 comment:

  1. You can still get "free" alcoholic drinks in economy class on most intercontinental flights, but the trend is still on to charge extra for anything that can be considered an extra item or service, like luggage and food and blankets and pillows and headphones. As for the Hindu meal, yes, not what they used to be. We have given up on any special meal requests, which is what the airlines wanted us to do, I am sure.
    -Dad and Mom