Monday, December 18, 2006

Airport HELL

First, let me clarify that I am NOT speaking of the BWI airport, which was most accomodating, nor Ft. Lauderdale's airport which we also had no problem at.

However, when we flew out of Orlando's airport this morning, it was a nightmare I never would have anticipated. Lines and chaos seem to be the two most prized things in the airport. For out 11:10am flight back to BWI we arrived at the airport at 9:15 - almost two hours beforehand.

We got to the ticketing area and there were two lines - one from each entry way - both ending in the same spot. We waiting in one of these lines until we got to the front where an employee was listening to each person's situation and then directing them to the correct line. So, then we waited in a second line. (Ingenius system wouldn't you say?) By the time we finished checking in we became worried about time since James still hadn't returned the rental car. So, knowing security would take longer for Cecilia, the stroller, the car seat, the diaper bag, the camera bag and whoever had them, we decided to split up - James left to return the car while I pushed or carried Cecilia and all of the forementioned items on a cart to security. Oh if only the saga had ended there.

I waited in one line only to be told when I got to the front of it that my cart could not come through (at BWI they did permit the cart through and the only sign to tell me it was not permitted I later saw on the far right of security) and if I needed help I would have to go back to ticketing and ask for help there. So I got out of line, pulled over and put Cecilia and everything else either in or on the stroller or myself. So I was now pushing Cecilia in the stroller, my purse and the camera bag hanging one off each handle bar, all of our coats and her blanket and a towel draped over the stroller, the diaper bag on one shoulder and carrying the car seat with the one arm not pushing the stroller. I got back in line at security. After waiting in one line and nearing the front by only a few people, they closed that line and I had to get in another. I finally got to the front of that line where they checked my ID and our tickets and let us pass into a mob of people who were pushing for the next found of lines to get through the X-ray machines. Eventually, we got up to the counter on which to put everything. I put up the diaper bag, the car seat and the camera bag and my purse while I took off my shoes. I got a bin and places my shoes BESIDE the bin. A security employee commented that my shoes had to go through security on the belt - not in a bin and then took the bin. By now I was ready to lose it. I picked up the jackets and blanket and towel for which I had gotten the stupid bin in the first place and threw them on the counter. The employee wasn't even't paying attention and just pushed everything through on the belt. I finally got Cecilia out of the stroller but, not familiar with folding the stroller without shoes on, I couldn't do it. I had to set her and our IDs and tickets on the floor and she began crying. Finally, an employee saw me struggling, and came over to help with the stroller. She asked how to fold it, I explained, and she got another employee to fold it and put it through. While getting everything together after security was not too difficult, Cecilia was scared and crying hysterically. Having been surrounded by so many people and mommy struggling and going from out of the stroller to in to out to in I finally took her out and held her putting the car seat in the stroller.

Now, completely forget for a moment that we are in Hanukkah or that Christmas is a week away and this is a season to be kind and joyful and generous - ignoring all this, I was still a paying customer by myself with an infant struggling and it took until Cecilia broke down screaming on the floor before ANYONE - employee OR passanger helped me. And for the record, in the end I received far more help from other passangers than from employees.

P.S. - get this - while going through security at the BWI airport, the guard told me that it would be easier for them if I placed the ziplock bag with Cecilia's peaches and juice separate from the other things. So, in Orlando, I did this ... they never even checked them.

The Orlando airport has to be the slowest, stupidest, most idiot run airport when it comes to ticketing and security I have seen in years. And to think this is an airport that sees an especially high number of tourists with small children!

It will be a frozen day in Orlando before I ever fly out of there again.

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