Saturday, June 27, 2015

Flying sky high 3 “The Mile High Club”

Plane Rides across Jordan, USA, France and KSA

Travel tip: Planes fly counter Earth’s rotation to reach destination faster.

Jordan: We jump into the car & leave to the airport. We’re glad to be heading back to Jordan. The twist this time is that our grandma is coming with us. Being carried away with the music, I did not realize if we missed the exit to the airport or not. So my brother told me to take the first one coming up ahead, when in reality it was the one after. As I turned right, my brother yelled “It’s the next one!” so I did my best to swerve back on to the main road. Drifting with joy, my grandma yells out “Who’s following us!? Are We being followed!?”, anxiously looking back. Awkward silence looms the car as she’s been watching to many police dramas.

We arrive at the airport & drop our bags off. As we are ascending the escalator to the waiting lounge, I ask my sister to hand over my pack of hollow cigarettes. As she did so, the pack fell open, scattering all the cigarettes over the moving steps. As we rushed to pick them up, the security guard at the top of the stairs must have suspected us of being drug smugglers. I can’t imagine what could have hinted that. It can’t be my sister’s reaction of screaming “You & your pot head friends!” at the top of her lungs.

My sister was seated next to my grandma and I was seated next to my brother. I did not get any sleep the night before, so I was drowsing off upon departure. My iPhone was next to me on the armrest. I knew it would slide off but I did not expect it to fly off into infinity. There was nothing I could do about it being under the influence of Zzz. We could not call my phone, as it was in airplane mode -__- but luckily everyone was kind enough to help out using the flashlights of their phones. I turned the whole cabin into a strobe light search party for the hearing impaired. To my dismay, we found it at the end of the business class after almost giving up.

Once the seatbelt signs were switched off, my grandma decided to put on a pair of earrings. She could not find the holes in her ears without a mirror so she simply pierced new ones by forcing the earrings in. Ah the joy of narcotics. The head stewardess’ expression was priceless as she tried to keep a poker face on, taking orders from my grandma with bleeding ears.

USA: Surprisingly, Rochester Airport, Minnesota was never an international airport until a Saudi Prince landed there on a direct flight from Saudi Arabia. On long flights, it’s a Saadoun tradition to watch recap episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. on the plane.

Usually it’s always me who is on Cloud 9 between flights, so it felt good to be on the other side this time picking my brother up at the airport. My brother was flying in on Delta Airlines and it hit me right then and there, how absurd their safety video is. When I first saw it, I thought my drink was spiked. Then again, if I compare it with ME Airlines in-flight video, theirs is much wackier showing clubbing scenes & strippers for family tourism.

My brother was in the States on a surprise visit to his fiancé. Her mom’s from Kuwait, and their passports are blue. When waiting in line at TSA checkpoints, Americans always whisper “I never knew we had a State of Kuwait”. No comment…

France: What can I say, the craziest country in the world. One of their ex-colonies, St. Martin Island, has a beach called Maho in which planes fly over tanning bystanders at minimum altitude.

On a domestic flight between Paris-Cannes, I had to get rid of most of my toiletries and bottles. So now, each time I see happy passengers with their bottles of water, I think to myself “Smile now, but they'll make you throw it away later.”

As I waited in the security line to scan my luggage, an officer in charge kept chanting what to throw away and what to keep. Little did she know is that my bottle of water was Orange Sparkle all the way from NYC, which cannot be found on European shores. My bottle was clearly half full and she insisted that I toss it aside. I tried to explain to her the significance of my drink, but she interrupted me by asking “Where are you flying to?” I told her I was heading to Cannes. She responded “Well, there is plenty of water there! In the trash please.” And that was the end of my short-lived indulgence.

After retrieving my bag from the scanner, a French TSA officer urged me to open my bag. Half my bottles were for my hair, given the fact that I was flying to a humid destination (Diana Ross flash backs). It was evident that all my bottles had a ¼ left in them but since they were labeled 200ML, the officer remained stubborn. To my left were Algerian officers who must have felt sorry for the Bedouin trying to negotiate, so they rushed to my aid. But it was too late. As bottles were dramatically tossed in slow motion before my eyes, the only bottle that I could salvage was my deodorant.

My advice to passengers with carry-on luggage is to always carry bottles of 150ML & below. And if you ever find yourself in my situation, then ask for a declaration form to salvage what you can.

KSA: Since 2009, my flights to Jeddah have been somewhat jinxing pop stars. When I first arrived the week of 21 June, Michael Jackson passed away. Fast-forward to 2012, on a transit flight via Jeddah, Whitney Houston passes away that same day. 0_o

Speaking of transits, I hate it when Lebanese lie, saying they lived in a particular country or city when they have only stayed at the airport for a few hours. Some even go the whole 9 yards, claiming they forgot how to speak Arabic! I would not be surprised if some of them forget themselves into oblivion, believing they have suddenly become Mexican with an identity crisis in less than 2 hours.

By now, I think I am jinx-free because no celebrity, I know of, has parted this life so far.  

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