Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Pros and Cons of International Travel

As we all know, travel is fraught with complications.  That's part of the adventure.  But sometimes, the complications are just comical.  Here's a pro/con list of my trip back to Jeddah.  The pros and cons are slightly inverted in places, but you'll get the general idea.

Con:
Had to say goodbye to my parents...  Tears.

Pro:
Got a good seat on the bus to Boston!

Pro:
There was a movie showing on the bus!

Con:
It was a movie I had ZERO interest in watching.  (Tron or some such nonsense.)

Pro:
Wifi on the bus. Slow, but manageable.  As long as I didn't try to stream Netflix.

Con:
I tried to stream Netflix.

Pro:
Reached Logan almost on time.

Con:
Longest. Line. Ever. To check in.

Pro:
Turns out said line was only for the flight to Cape Verde! Score one for the zero-wait Air France line!

Pro:
Coolest gate agent ever doesn't even blink at my 67lb and 55lb bags, just waves them onto the conveyor belt.

Con:
Longest. Security. Line. Ever.

Con:
Having to drink my last Poland Spring sparkling water before security...

Pro:
Plenty of time to drink said bottle of water!

Pro:
TSA agent with a sense of humor and a smattering of Arabic!

Con:
Flight delayed one hour. 

Pro:
More time to hang out with free internet!

Con:
Flight delayed two hours.

Pro:
More free internet!

Con:
Seriously, how many times does the gate agent have to say, "if your row has not been called, please move away from the gate area. You are only delaying boarding for yourself and others."  Nobody moved.  Except slightly closer to the gate area.  I think this was repeated 15+ times.  It was almost funny.  But not really.  Especially when my row was called and I had to fight said space-invaders to be able to board the plane.

Pro:
Gate agent calls out list of rows that do not have audio/visual functionality. Mine is not among them!

Con:
Upon boarding, realize there is no audio/visual functionality in individual seats anyway. 

Con:
Full flight.

Pro:
Nice, quiet, considerate row mates.

Pro:
BEST airline meal EVER.  Unbelievable.  Beef with wild mushrooms over mashed potatoes. 

Con:
Curried orzo chicken salad accompanying said entree = not so yummy.

Pro:
Slept (relative term) most of flight.

Con:
Breakfast on flight sucked.

Pro:
Flight only landed 90 minutes late.

Con:
Next flight not listed on connection board, and I didn't have boarding pass, forcing me to wait in line for an agent.  For 30+ minutes.  Only to be told Air France cannot issue a boarding pass for the Saudia flight, despite it being an Air France codeshare.

Pro:
Quick connection to next terminal.

Con:
Nobody at the Saudia counter in next terminal.

Pro:
Air France agent seems willing to help.

Con:
Air France agents (now plural) don't seem to realize it's an AF/Saudia codeshare, and it turns out the Saudia staff never actually staff their in-terminal counter.  Please proceed through immigration.

Con:
Immigration line RIDICULOUSLY long.

Pro:
Immigration line moves ridiculously fast.

Pro:
Stamp in my passport!  Woohoo! 
Note:  though totally unnecessary, those of you who know me know this was the highlight of the trip. 

Con:
Saudia flight not open for check-in yet, despite it being only 3 hours before flight.

Con:
Make that 4 hours.  Delay.

Pro:
Saudia finally opens its check-in desks.

Pro:
Agent takes pity on me and promises me a row to myself on a fairly empty flight.  I can't believe her entirely, but I appreciate her attempt.

Con:
Must go through immigration line again.

Pro:
Stamp in my passport!  Woohoo!

Con:
Most.  Boring.  Terminal.  Ever.

Con:
I am in France, and I cannot get a croissant or a ham and cheese baguette?!  Seriously, WTF?!

Pro:
Leftover sandwich from airport in Boston for just this occasion!  (originally planned to be used during flight, but said meal was too good to pass up.)

Pro:
The one store open is the French goods duty-free store.  I stock up on cheese, chocolates, more cheese, and other items.

Con:
I did not get to purchase any Jacquard Fran├žais table linens, which I'd been looking forward to since my previous trip through CDG three weeks earlier.

Pro:
More money for cheese!

Con:
More of a flight delay.  This is starting to eat into my arrival time.

Pro/Con? You decide.
Seven pilots wait to get on my flight.  Seriously?  What exactly does this mean?
Result:  only two went into the cockpit.  The other five went into First Class.

Pro:
I indeed have an entire row to myself. 

Con:
It's only a two-seat row.

Pro:
Hey, it's a row to myself, I'll take it.

Con:
Family of seven going for Umrah seated all around me who has clearly never flown before.  (This is typical on flights to Jeddah, which are always full of pilgrims, but it gets old fast.  Yes, young child, if you press that button a light will turn on.  If you press it again, the light will turn off.  Yes, if you press that button a bell will ding and the flight attendant will come ask you what you need.  Pressing it again before she reaches you and then pressing it again as soon as she turns away is not very nice.  Nor is repeating this over and over and over.  And then getting your brother to do it.  And then your father.  And then your little sister.)

Con:
Meal = icky.

Con:
No ginger ale.

Pro:
I have Orangina left over :-).

Con:
Said family never, ever stops talking.  The entire flight.  Even when they were shushed.  And not just by me, I promise! 

Pro:
That's not entirely true.  They stopped talking once we entered the miqat/ihram zone.

Con:
15 minutes before landing...

Pro:
Only landed an hour late!

Con:
I have now been traveling 26 hours and desperately want my bed.  An hour ago.

Pro:
Deplane and board bus in record time.  Get to terminal and am in short line for immigration.

Pro:
Immigration officer processes me quickly and with no questions.

Pro:
My expeditor is there waiting for me!

Pro:
My first bag comes quickly.

Con:
No second bag.  No second bag.  No second bag.

Con:
Baggage conveyor stops.

Con:
Baggage conveyor appears broken.

Con:
Airport personnel not in a hurry to remedy the situation.

Pro:
They finally switch to another conveyor!

Pro:
My second bag is one of the first to come through!

Pro:
I'm waved through customs without having my bags checked. 

Pro:
My wonderful driver is waiting at the curb!

Pro:
Traffic isn't too bad for 2am Friday after school gets out!

Con:
Prospect of lugging three heavy bags from car to my building and up stairs.

Pro:
My wonderful driver insists on helping!

Pro:
I have my keys!

Pro:
My cats greet me at the door!  They remember me!

Pro:
My apartment is spotless, and my housekeeper cleaned off the dining room table and my craft table!  Score!

Pro:
Bed.  As wonderful as I remembered.

Con:
Cats tried for several hours to break down and/or claw through my bedroom door to get to me for cuddles. 

Pro:
I finally fell asleep despite the clatter.

Pro:
12 blissful, uninterrupted hours of sleep.

Pro:
A day off before having to go back to work.

Pro:
I managed to fully unpack and get my laundry ready for my housekeeper!

Pro:
Cheese and sausage for dinner!

Con:
The store didn't have fresh bread, and multigrain crispbread just isn't the greatest thing.

Pro:
Hey, it's French cheese and sausage...


And that, dear readers, was my latest travel adventure.  I am fully unpacked, my laundry is done (not by me!!), my cats have forgiven me, and I still have lots of cheese and sausage left.

3 comments:

fsowannabe said...

Hilarious. Glad you made it back - who took care of your cats?

Brooke said...

Loved it! Travel seams glamorous sometimes, but then you remember the bad food, bad breath, and bad seat neighbors.

glad you arrived home safely :)

Nomads By Nature said...

You are on the weekly round up! I got your other post too! You can find the post at http://webtexans.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/the-red-white-and-blue-round-up/. If you have any objections or concerns please let me know! Have a great 4th of July weekend!