The Layover


This blog has been dormant for quite a while now, though I promise there’s a WSDC 2014 wrap-up on its way eventually (unless I forget).

Currently on a trans-pacific flight with a layover, which has dragged out because of mechanical failures. Thankfully the airport has free wifi, and in my boredom/amusement, I have decided to make a few observations.

[It has occurred to me I am doing nothing more than an inscent and annoying stream of tweets in blog form. On the plus, I’m saving all of you the pain of being flooded with each individual update.]

The first leg

Nothing really happened. We got delayed, crazy pilot taking us through turbulence, then warning us about the turbulence whilst we were holding onto our seats and enjoying the seconds of seeming weightlessness.

The second leg

There was this person on our flight who for all intents and purposes did not know English, notwithstanding the obvious difficulty this might pose going to a foreign English-medium country for a whole year… Ended up having to coach them on how to fill out an arrival card.

They then forgot to get off the plane. Cabin crew did an announcement, and I suspect they didn’t get off until the cabin crew went to fetch them.

3:30

Entire plane’s been asked to disembark into the waiting area at gate D73. We’ve also been told to get our bags, which makes me wonder if they’re going to switch us to another plane. We were greeted by a long row of drinks as we entered the waiting area, a few people have begun scavenging. To be fair, they have provide us with a toilet.

Almost instantly someone set-off the alarm on the door between our waiting area and the main terminal area. Best follow-up, the security guy who released the alarm, managed to set it off himself whilst going back to the real world.

We’ve got a crying passenger, but still no crying baby…

3:42

Our crying baby has arrived. Crying passenger has become a sleepy passenger.

Internet has slowed to a crawl… probably the unfortunate effect of having 200 tired, unhappy passengers all trying to use the internet at the same time.

3:48

Turns out the row of supplies includes food. So it’s not just liquids.

All assortment of phones have now appeared, unsurprisingly I’m the only one with a laptop.

3:57

Crying kid now… next will be a crying teen, the young adult, then adult, oh wait, we already had a crying adult… (see crying passenger) ok, this logic no longer works

3:59

I love inflight entertainment systems though, the three things needed to stop a riot if a plane is delayed: (1) food and drink, (2) a functioning inflight entertainment system, (3) Thai masseur [I may or may not have a biased perspective on this last one]. They’ve got 2 of 3 so I say the airline is doing quite well.

All the more reason against inflight systems that don’t switch on until after take-off, which are sadly a bit too common occurrence on some airlines.

It does occur to me that they’ve sought to replace inflight entertainment systems with free wifi. Seats are no more comfortable, though I suppose lying sideways is now possible, if it wasn’t on the half empty plane anyways.

Lots of people inching towards the food and drinks. Ohhh, crisp packets!

Snoring man to my left, thankfully very much irregular and not too loud. He does pose a risk though… I can feel more snores coming my direction.

4:03

Now a full 3 hours after we landed, and at least 2 after we were supposed to have taken off. Crying-then-sleeping-distraught-passenger has decided to awaken.

Security guy has popped in to grab some food and drinks for himself 😀 This is my favourite security guy yet. He’s attempting to motion for permission from the cabin crew, and has decided just to take it and leave.

He also happens to have about a dozen lanyards around his neck. No idea why he needs so many security cards.

4:06

“We are looking at a five and a half hour delay.” Noticeable gasp of shock. Then again, it’s already been like a 3 hour delay.

4:07

We’ve attracted a second crying baby, or maybe it’s the same one. Can’t see around this massive fern tree.

Crying baby this time has decided not to stop. Maybe the idea of not being in a plane for another 2 hours painedit so much it felt compelled to cry.

Angry man in a yellow face-mask is complaining at the desk. He has a matching yellow shirt.

No idea why the facemask is necessary. He keeps lowering it in order to speak angrily to the cabin crew anyways.

Facemask guy has left the counter, then circled back with a new approach route. Now trying to get behind the counter.

My fav security guy is now with the cabin crew. Probably because it gives him a table to put his stash of food and drinks.

Facemask guy joined by another yellow-shirter, also complaining about something.

4:13

Laptops starting to emerge as people realise the length of the wait they are in for.

I’m still slightly surprised at how many people manage to do these trans-ocean flights in long sleeves and long-trousers. I mean it’s just so uncomfortable and hot, even if planes do get quite cold.

Inflatable pillows and neck rests have been deployed. No sign of an inflatable bed yet. Crying->sleeping->sobbing->philosophising passenger might like that.

“We’re trapped in a cage that represents the airport.” I’m gonna start calling originally-sleepy-passenger the drunk passenger. They’re acting more and more like they’re drunk. Not that I have a particular wealth of experience as to how one might act in that state.

4:20

Managed to video-bomb someone skyping their girlfriend.

The washroom is now officially out of paper for drying hands.

Passengers and myself included keep getting faked out by the ‘final call’ calls from other airplanes, even though the two announcements have a very distinct tone, volume and style.

Have acquired some food. Beautifully I have realised despite offering 7-up, coke, sprite and 2 types of juices… no water is on offer at the mountain of food. The gods clearly do not like water.

Humanity has gravitated towards the power sockets. Perhaps the way to bring down Central is just to install USB sockets on everywhere on street level.

“I don’t want to get agitated.” claims the distressed-maybe-drunk passenger. Erm, they’re already seriously agitated!

7:00
Woke up from my slumber to find the entire area in a minor craziness. Seems they’ve been making quite a few announcements over the PA system.
The crew caused major confusion when asking people if they’d all gotten custom forms and had filed them out, despite everyone having been given one when they boarded… smart passengers, or maybe just stressed ones to be fair.

7:03
We’ve been told to grab our current possessions, and to clear customs/immigration, grab our checked-in baggage at which point they’ll give us food vouchers, for like dinner I guess… cause it’s already 7 and crisps can only placate a human for so long.
On the way to customs I discovered a designated ‘Area of Refuge’, which was really just a fire-proof door. Was sadly disappointed.
On the plus, Vancouver International is quite nice with a massive fountain, cool indigenous weaves, and even fake statutes.

8:40
After going through a super giagantic queue in order to get our meal vouchers (with almost 2/3 of the plane still in the queue) I’m now heading off for dinner.
We apparently get an actual flight at midnight.

11:43
Had another nap, now heading over to check-in counter to see if we have a plane on our hands. Fingers crossed!

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