Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Things I've Learned From International Air Travel This Year

found this fun themed article a few months ago on jezebel.com and I thought I could do my own version of it since hers was kind of lacking in general knowledge and actually just focussing on travel within the U.S.

So here we go, a list of things I've learned during my 10+ international flights in the past year...

  • Ryanair is a bitch. Any airline that requires you to stuff your purse in your carryon should have their ass kicked. The stress that Ryanair baggage limits puts me through makes me question whether or not the cheap airfares are worth the rise in my blood pressure when I have to deal with them. Other budget airlines are similarly a pain, but Ryanair by far takes the cake.
  • Sometimes you get nice check-in people, sometimes you don't. I got an extra 5 kilos of luggage on my flight from Italy to Turkey this summer, but in Cape Town I counted on them treating me similarly and not weighing my carryon and boy was I mistaken. I had to take out my 2 precious bottles of wine I bought while wine tasting in Cape Town and she still gave me shit about how my small laptop backpack couldn't be my 1 "personal item" because it was too full and I already had a rolly suitcase carryon. I'm sorry lady but I've flown on a handful of international flights with my rolly suitcase as my carryon and my small laptop backpack with my purse stuffed inside as my personal item and haven't had 1 problem. Consistency is not a strong point of the check-in process. This is good when you get exceptions, but its a bitch when you don't.
  • Having someone drop you off at the airport, or better yet to come with you inside to check-in, is a luxury not to be taken forgranted. After many a flight where I've had to make my own way to the airport, via expensive taxi with all my shit in tow only to arrive at the airport and have to lug heavy suitcases around to find my gate, I've had the luck of being able to be dropped off/picked up at the airport by friends lately. I mean I can do anything (I am WOMAN hear me roar and all that stuff...), but to have a guy push your luggage to the check-in counter is just so nice every once in a while.
  • I look German enough to get spoken to in German while on Luftansa flights. It's awkward since I know absolutely no German, so my response tends to be a blank stare and then a quiet "um, English please?" And then hostesses on the Turkish Airlines flights get annoyed if you insist on speaking broken Turkish with them if you are not actually fluent in the language. (see my blog post on the airplane linguistic dilemma) But at least people don't assume I'm a loudmouth obnoxious American? Still strange to not be labeled as your own nationality while traveling.
  • It is apparently a common practice in some countries to applaud upon safe landing of an aircraft after a 1 hour flight. I've experienced this in Italy most notably. I don't get it. I mean, is there another option? Are you applauding because you didn't die? The pilot is supposed to land the plane. And he can't hear your applause from the cockpit. 
  • That whole "please wait until we've reached the gate to open overhead compartments" doesn't apply to Turks. Or Italians. Or to Spaniards. As soon as that plane lands, people stand right up and take down their carryons and start pushing to the door while the plane is still taxi-ing its way to a stop. It still makes me laugh. What's your hurry people? And what happens if some luggage falls on your head since the plane is still moving? OR do I just follow too many rules because I'm American...
That's what I have so far. Anybody else have any to add?? 

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