Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A flighty tale

Last week saw me head back to the UK for a bit of business and a little time with family - but of course to get there involved me in catching a flight. Can anyone remember far enough back when flying was actually fun ? - Well not anymore !

Checking in a Riga airport was as usual a pleasure, but then the fun began. Every time I go to the airport something has changed, and this time the main bar has now become a coffee shop, and so the only place to get a beer is in the main departure area - but as it was 4.30pm it was closed !! - well at least the person who should have been serving was having a "break". After about 30 minutes he condescended to reopen, so I asked for a beer - " Sorry no beer" was the reply, OK said I can I have a glass of white wine ? "Sorry no white wine" was the reply once again. At which point I gave in in - Can anyone tell me what other airport in the world closes the only bar in the airport in the mid afternoon, and then apparently has nothing to sell ? -Me thinks this bar in in the process of closing.
The return leg from Gatwick was equally challenging, albeit for different reasons.
I arrived some 3 hours before departure, only to find the longest queue ever known to man. It was difficult to tell what they were all queuing for as there was a check in for Tallin by Estonian Air, a single check in for Vilnius by Air Baltic, and two unattended Air Baltic Check in desks. Now as I have an extreme dislike of any queue I went over to the Vilnius check in to enquire where the Riga check was, and was advised that it was the two unattended desks and they would be open in 15 minutes, so I parked myself in front - First in the Queue !! - Immediately a significant portion of the major queue moved in behind me. Still at this point the Vilnius check was devoid of passengers. But lo and behold a brave woman came and asked if "this" was the Vilnius check in ? to which the agent replied " I think the sign above me is a give away, as it says Air Baltic Vilnius Check in !" - and once again a whole swathe of the queue joined the Vilnius check in. Why they were standing in other queue I do not understand.
Now the Tallin flight was interesting, as it contained a number of England fans, and everyone of them was checked by the police, with passports being checked, and also to see if they had valid tickets for the game against Estonia.
I had feared that the Air Baltic flight would be inundated by these so called English fans, but fortunately the only group we had was an elderly group of opera buffs, so no problem there !
Now my ticket said Air Baltic, the check in said Air Baltic but the aircraft said Comdoner ( or something like that) which transpired to be a Turkish airline, with Turkish crew, apart from solitary Latvian stewardess. I guess Air Baltic are running out of planes !
One final comment on the joys of air travel, Gatwick Airport is a raving disaster, from check in to the departure lounge it makes Riga look like the queen of airports.
On my return I have learned that another one of village members has been seriously mugged, and is now in hospital, so to S.... (English - with a passion for Chelsea) I trust that you recover soon. Apparently he was smashed with a metal bar, and has a damaged arm.
And yet again De Lacy's has seen the arrival of a group of English cretins, purporting to be English fans, and there behaviour was such that even such stalwarts as J.... (Irish - builder of dream apartments), J.... (Irish - banking magnate) and S.... (Welsh - would be sticker together of bits of wood) all left their drinks and departed due the behaviour of these dipsticks. Thank God they will all be in Tallin tonight (although Estonia has my sympathies), but no doubt they will be back on Thursday night, hopefully the management of the village hall will have the sense just to ban them.
As for my stay in the UK, well the family are all well, and my grandaughter is growing up fast, but what is going on in the UK ?, it is filthy, the streets are covered in cigarette ends, the women in the main are of oversized proportions and the male fraternity all seem to be qualified cretins. Or is it simply I am getting old, and less tolerant of those around me ?

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