Time for the airport drama story.
Do you watch the Amazing Race? Do you know the dramatic suspenseful scenes where the contestants are poking along in a taxi desperately trying to reach the airport/pit stop/next clue location? Well that was us Sunday morning. Only we weren’t plodding along in a slow taxi in India. We were careening down the Boulevard Peripherique in Paris at at least 90 miles per hour as our shuttle driver attempted to get us to Charles De Gaulle, worst airport in the world, in time for our flight. Why was he hurrying so despite his protestations of “pas de probleme”? Perhaps it was the scary vibes coming from the Traveling McMahans in the back row as we agonized about being late – again – to the airport.
Here’s the problem. We told Golden Air Shuttle Service (recommended by none other than Rick Steves) that our flight was at noon. Which it was. Big mistake. “We pick you up at 9:15. No traffic on Sunday,” they said on the phone. Fine, I can sleep a little in. They arrived at 9:15 precisely. All was well. Until we drive around Paris for 50 minutes picking up other passengers. And oh, merde, this street is closed, we must circle around then pull a maneuver through two parked cars that came thiiiiiiiiiis close to scratching both of them.
We finally arrived at the airport at 10:30. The snippy girl in the row ahead of us who’d been overheard saying sweetly “if I miss my flight I miss my flight, life goes on,” jumped out in front of us and tried to get in line ahead to pay 0 her flight was a full hour later than ours. The helpful passenger next to us shared that she’d told the shuttle her flight was an hour earlier than it really was .She was sitting pretty.
We on the other hand got through the first two preliminary security checkpoints, used the kiosk to check in, then got in line to “officially” check in and hand over our three bags. Line one closed right as our turn came. Line two closed as our turn came. In desperation we cut in line in front of an appalled couple on a later flight, but they saw our faces and were afraid to do more than mutter under their breaths.
“I’m sorry, you have no seats. You are on the waitlist now,” said the agent at the desk. “Please check your bags and proceed to boarding to see if they can get you on the flight.” She instructed Brian to place our oversized duffel bag on a rack near the desk.
We went next to security where naturally I was frisked, wanded and had my carry on searched, then ran the distance to the furthest boarding gate in area B. We stood in another line to be informed we could in fact have seats, just nowhere near each other. I somehow kept a pleasant, vastly fake, smile on my face in inquired politely why we had lost our assigned seats. “Oh you have assigned seats?” Much keyboard tapping, a phone call and a wink ensued. Our seats were given back to us.
Whew. Popped a Xanax each and settled happily in for nine hours of coach food, service and movies.
Next year we’re lying to the shuttle driver or better yet, spending the night before at the airport.