The day is here. The 1st landing point towards our journeys to the Highest Pass and the much talked about, Leh in Ladakh India. The land which promised to enchanting, and memorable.
The Rear Guard Team of PoshGoondas gets on the way towards Chandigarh. I take flight before Jatin with a ‘short’ two hour hop from Atlanta to Newark. A layover between landing and departure of 4 hours. Jatin joins me from there on for our onward connections to India. All in all 3 layovers for me and 2 for Jatin for our outbound journey to Chandigarh, the Base Camp.
Air Travel can be tedious but never boring. There’s always at least one, if not a few stories, that every passenger takes away with them after they reach their destination. (I would say here that this probably may not apply to those who have to go through weekly work related flights steeped in monotony.)
Just in the short time I’ve collected a decent share of stories. Some I can relate, and some best kept to myself.
My journey started with using the much talked about Uber Car Service for the very first time. And it has left me quite impressed. The whole process as completely digital and transparent via the iOS app. Traveling alone to the airport, I opted to choose the ‘cheapest’ level – UberX. Between ‘requesting’ and car at the doorstep – all of 15mins. And as luck would have it, the car happened to be a BMW 6 series! (Ah well, after all, we are the Posh Goondas!) The driver makes good time to the airport. Trip ends; App collects money off the pre-registered credit card; Receipt zapped to the email. Easy. Hassle free. Convenient. Hooked.
Check in was as most check ins are. First Check In kiosk usually never works right! And the next one usually does. Onto the next section of the assembly line as the ‘passenger’ product is banged and shaped into how the airlines want you to be per their ‘rules and guidelines’. There should be a ginormous sign above all doors
Abandon choice, all Ye who enter here
I digress. Bags checked in, passport checked, pleasantries exchanged. I was assured by the person at the desk that “‘Today’ your bags will be just fine” in response to my remark that ‘with multiple stops it’s always a concern that the luggage reaches with me’. And my mind continues the conversation with the chap; what’s different about today? Are you personally going to sit with my cases in the hold? Do you talk to the baggage handlers – Manual or automatic? And have they told you that ‘Today’ is an off day for goof ups? Needless to say, I don’t get any answers and realize that I shouldn’t have remarked about the bags whereabouts in the first place !
Next Assembly line section. The dreaded Security Check.
Abandon all sanity, all Ye who pass through here
The Security Check Dance; Scan and choose the shortest lines to the X-ray machines – which magically becomes the slowest line you could have chosen! As you come close to the tray tables, madness takes over. All in one smooth (that’s what we believe it is) motion, shoes come off, belt slithered off, laptop taken out, pesky little quart zip lock bag with those pesky inconvenient plastic bottles, all laid out into separate trays… while getting all nervous for holding up the line. Now hope to high heavens that you have clean and un-holy socks in, your pants don’t drop off and while you stand in that ‘exposed’ position inside the scanner, hope that your privates are not laughed at! 😐 Thence, the race to get your stuff, but the bits back on and get out of that line before the person behind you gets upset with you!
With that drama done, quick ride to Terminal C in the ‘Plane Train’ (Really, people got paid to come up with that name? No. Really!)
I settle in at the Boarding Gate. It so happens that the flight is ‘oversold’ (Greedy little so
and sos) and 4 people needed to volunteer to catch a later flight for a $600 credit towards their next Delta flight. This delayed the boarding a tad. I was surprised at my patience! I wondered at the time, what happens to those 4 extra, paid up but uninvited, passengers if no one ‘volunteered’ Who gets to travel in the hold? How do they decide? Russian Roullette in a back room somewhere? Pleased to report that I travelled in the seat assigned to me without any undue drama. (Oh except that the Boarding agent didn’t know where my Indian visa was in my passport – while I was being stared down by the passengers that were held up behind me!)
And while we were humming around the Gate like bees to a hive, a Pilot walks back out to the Gate with a ‘I have the wrong Gate.’ How reassuring Old Chap, how reassuring! (Effect better in a stiff upper lip typically British accent, if you don’t mind)
As I write these lines, we’re on landing approach to Newark. Cloudy, bumpy glide in. End of the 1st leg. Now to get prepped for the 2nd leg.
The Goondas are taking to be Skies!