Okay so clearly I didn’t think this one through. I flew Bangalore – Bombay, Bombay – Paris, Paris – Munich all in one day!
I am not sure what I had in mind when I booked my tickets. I think it looked appealing because I had very short flight connections and therefore little loss of time in terms of reaching Germany. But one look at the situation in Kempegowda International Airport this morning made me regret this choice. I flew Jet Airways to Paris and then Air France to Munich. I was issued all three boarding passes in Bangalore but my immigration check was to be in Bombay. My 7am flight was on time and scheduled to land as planned despite the slightly disappointing weather in Bbay. So here’s what went wrong in namma Bengaluru. At 4:30 am when they opened the boarding counters for domestic flights, they had passengers for 1 Cochin, 1 Mangalore, 2 Bombay and 2 Delhi flights all at once! The result? Utter chaos. People whose flights were scheduled to depart in less than 30 minutes were yet to collect boarding passes, let alone complete security checks.
When I did arrive in Bombay, there was a long line for International transfers – Paris, U.S., Kathmandu, Singapore, London, Pakistan – you name it, we got it. The airport shuttle took its own sweet time giving us a nice tour of the runway before dropping us off at T2. That’s where I flashed my passport, collected new baggage tags and ran! Immigration was a nightmare. There were no immigration forms available and very few counters were functioning. After 15 excruciating minutes of shifting my weight from one foot to another, I saw them open a few more counters. Passing through the immigration check, realised that my boarding gate was one of the last ones. Mid run, I took a moment to remember Paris Nord on the morning of the trip to Lille. I had to sprint from Voie 56 to 34. Gate 73 would be no different.
Some time after my security check in Blore I had found out that I didn’t get any of the seats I had picked in the web checkin! I cursed Jet Airways profusely when I boarded in Bombay. Emergency exit. Middle section. No aisle. Flanked by fat uncles on either side. Full view of the toilet on my left, and partial view of the one on my right. Also, people continued to walk over my legs to check the other one when they found their first choice occupied. I took deep breaths and decided to just live with it. Trust me, that’s not easy on a 9.5 hour flight. I called my parents to tell them I was okay and promised to text on reaching Munich. Paris was a super short connection and I wasn’t sure I’d make it in time. After a 20 minute delay thanks to ATC, we took off.
I couldn’t take the toilet view anymore. There was no way I could eat sitting there. Even Vodka wouldn’t have helped. So I sweet talked a flight attendant into letting me move. Luckily there was just one aisle seat available in the first cabin and I greedily accepted it. My neighbour turned out to be in the merchant navy who had 4 flights scheduled until his final destination. I decided to pity his ass more than mine.
We actually reached Paris earlier than the original scheduled arrival, despite the delayed departure. For the first time, I didn’t sleep. I am dead tired from the HY close but I couldn’t sleep. I have always boasted of dozing off before take off and waking up after we hit the Tarmac. Looks like the charm has been broken.
It felt good to see sortie and arret demande signs. Felt like home again. It is hot in Paris btw. 28 degrees and I am feeling it. I rushed through the security check, took a bus to terminal 2F, cleared immigration and reached the boarding get to see the final boarding call for my flight. Close shave or what! I am now aboard the Air France flight to Munich and loving the fact that all announcements are primarily in German. I am alreading dreaming about my comfortable bed and the hot shower that awaits me.