Some random observations from my trip:
I miss the days of simply walking up to a plan and boarding. I miss the days of having a water bottle with me — from home — that I could take on board. I dislike the frenzy of ripping off jackets and shoes in security lines, while trying to keep an eye on all the valuables being whisked into the x-ray machine.
Having said all that, it could be be worse. It could be the security at Charles de Gaulle airport, which achieved third world levels of chaos.
CDG had no helpful signs warning one to take off shoes or have ones passport ready. There were no clusters of employees at the x-ray machines to help things move quickly. Instead people were milling about in a frenzy, grabbing trays into which to throw their possessions. Some took off their shoes and belts, others didn’t. Some took their computers out, others didn’t. It seemed to be completely random whether people made it through the metal detector, which was only intermittently manned.
To add to the chaos, the airline employees came through the same checkpoint. A steady stream of them kept pushing through the crowd, running their cards through a scanner attached to the wall, and racing through the metal detector, elbowing passengers aside. Architecturally, the airport is beautiful; its functionality, not so much.
The airport at Milan was equally poorly organized, but much smaller and friendlier, which made the whole thing easier to handle. While there, I met a poor lady whose bus driver had taken her to the wrong airport. She’d made it to the right airport by taxi (100 €!), arriving only 20 minutes before her flight was due to leave. That was one frazzled lady.
As for me, I’m too old for 36 hour days. Even when I was a spring chicken, they wore me out. Now that I’m a tired middle aged mother, they’re just silly. Fortunately, it all gets easier from here on out, culminating in a lovely, relaxing cruised in about a week. Yay!