Katherine Hayton | Airports are stupid
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14 Sep / Airports are stupid

There are many things that are annoying and uncomfortable about airports. Signs that point you in the direction you want to go until you think you’re close and then dry up and leave you having to retrace your steps to try again. A plethora of clothing stores which I don’t need, and a complete lack of comfy seating, which I do.

Even if you’re lucky enough to be on one of the sacred flights that leave on time you still have to set aside a good chunk of your day just to spend time in these infernal hells.

I have Koru club membership, so I keep thinking this gets me out of the majority of the inconveniences that befall most travellers. I keep thinking that. I’ve yet to see any real proof. There’s a lot of nice food and drink freely available, but if you’re travelling at a popular time of the day, say between 6.00am and 9.00pm for example, then you have to trawl around the entire lounge to try to locate two seats together. They won’t be in the area you want to sit – for some reason children accumulate around the areas we usually sit – but you put up with it because you’ve already put in a couple thousand steps, and you didn’t have breakfast because you were going to the Koru lounge so you knew you’d be able to pick it up for free.

Free. Freely available. I’ve obviously used these words as synonyms. Synonyms for very expensive food and drink that you would have to work far harder at consuming to get anywhere near to the amount you spent on obtaining them. Payment made in advance against goods and services that you didn’t even know if you’d ever be able to collect. So, nice food and drink that’s costly available.

And having Koru lounge membership doesn’t stop you from coming into close contact with all the other horrors that the airport has in store. Eight minutes’ walk. That’s how far away our gate was from the main terminal. Eight minutes. We set out thinking that the airport would have catered for all people in that calculation. It would have to take into account the little old folk and the tiny wee toddlers and the obese middle-aged. Yeah, we’d be able to knock this one off in four minutes, maybe three. Maybe five minutes if we ambled.

Well, we didn’t amble and guess how long it took us? Give up yet. In that case I’ll tell you then.

Eight minutes.

The eight-minute walk took eight minutes to walk. I was horrified. I don’t know how the little old folk were doing. Certainly far too many toddlers made the long walk in time. Something about me not factoring in that they wouldn’t be travelling by themselves and therefore might be carried part of the way. I wish I’d been carried half of they way.

We then got to experience the lovely plastic seating in a variety of one style that was available at the gate. I say at the gate, not at our gate, because it wasn’t. Our gate ran out of seating before a tenth of a plane-full of people showed up. But at least we didn’t have to sit on the ground. You may say the people who sat on the ground didn’t need to sit on the ground either, they could have stood on the legs they were born with unless they’re Oscar Pistorius. You may say that – I couldn’t possibly comment.

Finally we were in the third wave of people to be called to board – or last as we called it – and we made the long walk down the airbridge to the plane. It was a dual airbridge, because the Gate had a (L)eft side and a (R)ight side. There was a glass and plastic barrier up to waist height to stop us accidentally going to Niue.

That would have been fine. A high glass and plastic barrier is enough of a sign to me that I shouldn’t cross the centre line. I try to follow the straight and narrow line.

So why in their infinite wisdom did the airport decide to put tempting signs all the way along the barrier extolling the horrors of breaking the implicit rule and jumping over the barrier? Did you really think that Katherine was going to jump over the barrier. At waist height. At her (non) fitness level?

Well Katherine didn’t think of jumping over the barrier. Not till the airport decided to pop into her mind that this option was possible BECAUSE OTHERWISE THEY WOULDN’T NEED SIGNS TO TELL YOU NOT TO DO IT!

Auckland airport if you DON’T want Katherine to jump the barrier, you don’t tell Katherine NOT to jump the barrier. Katherine is tired and susceptible and the last thing that Katherine needs put in her head when she’s been waiting in a plastic crowded hell for three hours after already having flown for an hour and twenty minutes after waiting for ninety minutes at a different airport is ideas about how barriers are made for jumping.

And then you further tempted Katherine. By placing not ONE sign – putting the idea into her head – but a second sign. Now Katherine thinks there must really be something good in this barrier jumping otherwise they wouldn’t go to so much trouble to try to ensure that I don’t do it.

And then just before Katherine has to commit to the plane, what do you do? Just before Katherine has to board the plane that’s going to make her legs swell up and her eyeballs lose the ability to focus and her ears to bubble and squeal and pop and her head to bang like a (insert simile for headache here please – I’m too tired to think of my own [and make it clever guys – put the effort in – don’t just bang in drum ’cause I could’ve done that for goodness sake.]) Just before Katherine has to spend an exceptionally painful and ache-inducing five hours and forty minutes trapped in a metal tube in the sky, what do you do?

YOU PUT A THIRD SIGN EVEN LARGER THAN THE OTHER TWO!

Katherine was forced to seriously consider going to Niue. Katherine got so far as to put her hands on the top of the barrier and try to lift herself in the air to see if it would hold Katherine’s weight if she decided to vault over it like she’d never thought of doing until someone decided to repeat over and over that she could.

Luckily Katherine loves the thought of Mission Beach more than she loves the thought of Niue or the Auckland Airport Police Station. She loves Mission Beach even more than she loves talking about herself in the third person.

So Katherine I kept on my side of the barrier and made it onto my plane. There was horrible things after that which have undermined my ability to think about going to New York at this time next year, but such is the nature of pain that I’ll hopefully have forgotten that in two months’ time let alone twelve months.

And we landed and got off in heaven so it just sounds like whining now. And I’ve even got it off my chest now. Onwards and upwards.

By Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog

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