This afternoon we fly to Hong Kong, so I left the office at 1, waited for my wife to arrive in a taxi, then hightailed it to the airport. I was super stressed (nothing but a surfeit or emails, but even so my head wasn’t in a holiday mode) and then checking in seemed to be the most incompetently Kafkaesque manoeuvre I’ve ever known. There’s a document check where they don’t check your documents, there’s a demand that you don’t print out both your boarding passes on one sheet of paper (because security hates trees, I guess) and then when we got to the gate, a highly advanced scanning device checked our boarding passes and then made an angry noise because they hadn’t been rubber stamped.
We went back to the document check and the woman there looked at us like we were a couple of Martians, then desultorily stamped each of our boarding passes with a rubber stamp with the faintest amount of purple ink. We took those back to the security check, they scanned them again, the machine again claimed they hadn’t been stamped, and then the security guard shrugged his shoulders and let us through anyway.
So, er, what was that all about?
Then for the first time in five years I had my luggage x-rayed, and then after that we went through the automated passport gates, where apparently everyone had forgotten what a fingerprint reader looked like and were mashing their thumb’s on the instructional TV screen instead (for which I suppose you can blame smartphones and their fingerprint reading tech) and then we got through, another security check where somebody scrawls on your boarding pass with a biro, and then and only then we’re we through and free to sit down in a bar and have a calming gin and tonic.
At which point my wife tried to hug me, and instead of which smashed me right in the mouth with her forearm, a blow that would make any muay thai fighter proud.
Like I said, that didn’t start well.