Everyone i’m pretty sure around me would have traveled in an airplane more number of times than the number that tells me my age, well almost everyone. My first time came in February this year, and to make it even more special it was to Paris, yes my first flight was also my first international flight. Well as awesome as that sounds, the kind of thing s i experienced in the plane were nothing less than the most apt qualifiers for ‘India’s funniest videos’, if a show like that were to come up. Starting from the time I entered the airport gates to coming back to India, each flight had its own way of embarrassing me. Before I get into the details, this trip was possible for me only because of one great friend of mine Karthik Laskhmanan who gave me the opportunity to work with him on one of his projects.
My dad was really worried, by really I mean the highest level to which someone can be worried about anything, he feared that I will be so bad in taking care of myself that he preferred the earth spinning the other way to me traveling alone. To start things off in the most awesome way, by the way this was one time I wished cell phones din’t exist, my dad called me for every 2 ft distance that I covered after entering the airport. He kept looking through the glass and telling me,
take a right, no take a left, ugh you went way too much to your left, move back right.
Umm ok dad, anything you say, I almost forget to be excited about my first flight! Anyway so I go over to the check in counter, ok what do I do now? Phone continuously vibrating, i know it was my dad. The guy at the counter asked me for my passport and my ticket, that was simple I thought. I still had not picked up the phone, so duh it kept ringing and vibrating, but seriously i needed to get my boarding pass here. For a moment I thought i should just run, thankfully the small brain I possess asked me to keep cool and get my boarding pass first. Ok so this guy sees that I am clueless and starts asking me questions like why I am going, he asked me to show all my documents and stuff. Well after 5 minutes of interrogation he said thank you sir and gave me my boarding pass and told me I could take my bags as cabin baggage or give one of them as check in baggage, ok pause, what is check in baggage? I’ve heard my dad say check in a hundred times but never realized what it was! Anyway I thought i knew the meaning of cabin so I chose cabin and then he gave me a look that said,
Dude please take your bags from the weighing machine and go!
Not my fault I thought it was cabin baggage and it would be delivered there! Guess not, so much for service, ok what was i thinking! Anyway i took my boarding pass and all my documents that I had kept in a neat file like I was going for a interview, well during my interview I was more relaxed than this. Not to forget I had booked my tickets late, and god knows for what reason I got a full upgrade for the trip, Premium Voyageur it was, all this din’t make sense to me until i returned back to India and traveled on a domestic flight. I take out my phone, not too sure if the display read 15 missed calls or 16, before i could call back my dad called again, and boy did i get a shouting for keeping my bags behind me while talking to the check in counter guy. My dad says
You are so surely going to lose your baggage at this rate, always keep your bags in sight. ” Few more really pleasant dialogues here “. Cabin baggage is baggage you carry along with you into the plane and store it under your seat or in the boxes above your head. Check in baggage is what you leave in that giant conveyor belt and it will be delivered at your destination airport where you can pick it up from another conveyor belt.
I said Bingo! Got that dad, and i promised i’d handle the bags carefully henceforth. Anyway I was still in his sight for another 20 m so he stayed on the phone. My dad loves me and I love him too 🙂 Finally there were these big boxes with “Immigration” written on it, I was warned by many people that these guys can throw you out if they get pissed off. So i called my dad and asked him how to go about this, he gave me a brief idea. Well then I walked up to one of the counters and the person there was a Tamilian! Well I thought this should be easy, he’d let me go easily. Not the case, he asked me questions like why who where and checked my documents twice. Finally he stamped my passport, ok he did not stand on it, he used those rubber stamps.
Anyway I assumed the process was done, for once I was right, called my dad and told him i’d sleep till the flight was announced. That was again going to be the first time wait, the pass had a gate number mentioned so I went there and waited for an hour or so. The flight was at 2 am, finally the flight was announced and there was a freaking huge queue, i went and stood in the longest as I assumed i was in the cheapest fare. Well I was wrong, one guy who saw my pass said, ” Dude you have the special entry gate for you, you don’t have to stand here!”, i was surprised and not too sure if this guy was pranking me to get me out of line. Well i took the chance and thankfully he was right, i got one of the big seats and it was so comfortable. My neighbor for the trip was a guy from Paris, he saw my excitement and the way i was looking out of the window he immediately asked me,” First time?”. I said yes, he asked again, ” First time Paris? “, i said yes and added “First time airplane!”. He gave out a laugh, lol, i laughed too.
Now for the series of comedy events that took place,
Flight from Bangalore to Paris,
The air hostesses were so freaking tall I was pretty scared they’d throw me out if I did something stupid, tried to keep calm on the surface. They started giving out dinner on the plane, me being the usual Indian thought we need to ask for dinner else they wouldn’t serve us, I raised my hand the air hostess came over and gave me a warm smile, i felt like ok they will be nice to me, “Ma’am i’d like a vegetarian dinner” and she says, “Sir please wait, don’t worry we will give everyone dinner in turns”. There went my face searching for a place to hide. That was so embarrassing, soon enough I had the dinner on my seat flap and I was wondering how to eat it, so i waited for my neighbor to start eating and I ate in the same order he had. Well food was really bad, and my neighbor seemed to like it. He left a small packet unused, I had that packet on my plate too, the label was written in French and all i could figure from the picture on it was that it had something to do with milk. So i opened it and saw hardly any milk in it, what do i do? Well i just sipped it up and thought “hmm, French don’t like milk”, they have so less. 5 minutes later, the lady comes and asks me if I wanted tea or coffee, umm ok I chose coffee and she gave me some black liquid. I had no idea what to do, so waited for my neighbor again and now he opened that small packet and poured it into this and drank! Crap i thought, what do I do now? I just kept that coffee thingy aside and waited till someone cleared it off.
Once the flight landed i was glad that i was over with it and hoped the next few flights would not be so hard on me. I just got out of the plane and holy mother of god! It was freezing out there and it was raining, the temperature was 2 degrees Celsius. A drop of 20 from my comfortable Bangalore temperature. Well I tried to like the chill, it became fun after a while, will never forget the shiver that i experienced there. Got into the bus that takes you from the plan landing area to the terminal, yes I was in CDG! The bus kept moving and is the airport big or what! Ok this post is becoming way too long. I’ll write my next few posts each describing one flight. 3 more to go, follow the series! The funniest parts are yet to come.