Los Angeles, CA
Travelling is all about the people you meet. Take today for instance. We like Bob, but we’re a bit disappointed in Joe, even though it worked out all right in the end.
To give you some context, I’ll wind the clock back about 22 hours. It’s 6 AM and we’re standing on our front porch waiting for our friends W and C to collect us for the two-hour drive to Brisbane airport. We’re off to Vancouver again, but we’re not looking forward to this particular flight as we have to transit through Los Angeles. We do all we can to avoid LAX, but just couldn’t resist the incredibly cheap fare that our new friends at American Airlines were offering. Ah well, we only have two hours travel, three hours wait, thirteen hours travel, five hours wait then three hours travel and we’ll roll into Vancouver the same day as we left. Hmmmm.
Anyways, in what seems like no time at all we’re cruising up the ramp to departures at BNE International. So far, so good. Now for the tricky bit. We’re actually travelling on a Qantas plane, so I reckon we can smooch our way into the Qantas lounge rather that sit outside drinking overpriced coffee. Nanette is a bit dubious. “Won’t they see that we don’t have a Qantas ticket?” “Nah – see, it says QF15 on the slip there.” “But, it also says sold as American Airlines.” “Yeah, but it’s only in really, really little print.” So, here we are with Bob. You’ve probably met Bob. He’s the guy whose job it is to stop people without exactly the right paperwork getting into the airline lounge. Bob looks at our boarding passes. He looks at me, obviously makes some sort of generous personal judgement, and gives me a nod. “Thanks Bob. Oh, and I’m bringing a guest in as well.” We like Bob.
It feels like six thousand hours later when we arrive at LAX. The flight has actually been pretty good, but for some reason we’re a bit tired. We negotiate the new electronic entry system and collect our bags – yep, you have to collect your bags and then re-deposit them when you transit through the US. We’ve done this before, and know that the rules keep changing. Enter Joe. Joe’s a security guy at a desk near the exit. There’s a sign that says “Connecting flights”, but I’ve been Instructed by my travelling companion to check with Joe. “But, I’m sure we just follow that sign – well, almost sure…” “Just ask the guy!” I tell Joe we have to head to Terminal 2. He grunts and points to the exit to the left. I ask about our bags. Joe grunts that sort of grunt that speaks volumes, and tells us we must take our bags with us.
So, here we are again, sitting at our boarding gate two hours later. We might have complained about sitting for over an hour cramped on the little wooden bench at the unattended check-in counter, but Nanette, as she does, managed to take two small children under her wing and give their exhausted mother a bit of a break. I guess we were meant to be there.
When the check-in desk did eventually open, the lady was a little surprised we didn’t leave our bags at the connecting flight desk at the other terminal. Then it dawns on her – “you didn’t happen to speak to Joe did you?”