Blog DOB: 25 Dec, 2012
Normally you can leave a pushchair at the aircraft steps. At the Air France check in desk at Charles de Gaulle the clerk looked down at the pushchair and shook his head. Not tonight, evidently.
As the three year old was fast asleep, and there was still almost an hour before boarding, this seemed quite monstrous and I queried why the pushchair had to be checked in now. This certainly wasn't the case when we flew out, we left it at the aircraft steps.
Visibly annoyed at us he looked about for someone else to confirm the check in. He came around to our side and walked across the floor, had a brief conversation with another AF clerk and returned. The pushchair had to be checked in.
I lifted E out, still sound asleep, and struggled to fold the pushchair with one hand and one leg while the check in clerk watched, un-amused. He then produced a large plastic bag and started to pack the pushchair into it, advising us it had to be taken to Area 8. It couldn't be checked in at Area 10 with the rest of the luggage.
Go to Area 8? Whatever about having to check the pushchair in, you would at least think we could have pushed it to Area 8, with E asleep, rather than trying to walk a high wire, balancing a sleeping child, a folded up pushchair and the hand baggage. What customer service!
A day later I hear about poor Jean-Jacques Jauffret, a French scriptwriter who was called "enormous!" by the check in clerk. Imagine, they actually came around from behind the check in desk and very publicly measured his waist. Incredible!
It never ceases to amaze me that upon landing you have this sudden rush to stand up & open the overhead lockers before the plane has even stopped.
So here is the very serious question for all you fellow frequent travellers.Why?
In all fairness it is not as if the plane is going to stop any faster or that you the passenger are going to be able to alight the plane any faster as a result of this procedure.In fact if you stop & think about it logically we are probably slowing the process up.Never mind from a health & safety point of view,it is adding stress to the journey because you feel you are obliged to join this melee & jockey into position in case you lose your place.
Particularly if you are sitting on an aisle seat as i tend to do for legroom you automatically sense the tension rising in the passengers sitting next to you worried that you are not going to move. So you end up conforming...