Adventures in Asian check in process

Phuket airport has restored my faith in American airports. Seriously whenever you feel the urge to bitch about the US, visit a foreign country. Like Thailand.

The second you walk through the double doors of sliding glass you are faced with an x-ray and security. Everything must go through the screening.

Then you walk to a monitor to find out which check-in counter is for your flight. Ours is Shanghai Airlines counter 26 and 27.

They are still boarding the prior flight. So we wait. A group of Chinese are milling about but no one is in line yet. Until the counter monitors change to reflect our Shanghai flight.

Suddenly everyone surges toward the counters. No lines really. Just blurred flows congregating near each check in counter. We line up at the individual check-in. Big Mistake.

The fat asshole, who I dubbed Fat Bastard, decides this is his line. He is going to use it to check in a tour group of fifty people. So he brings all their passports up to get the tickets. Then he motions for all of them to cut the line and check their bags.

Unfucking believable. Major major cojones. I would love to be that big an asshole. He lounges at the counter like he owns the place. Fat Bastard.

We are now stuck in place as all his tour people shove ahead of us and everyone behind us refuses to give an inch. The line next to us won’t let us in. Everyone is yelling in Chinese. People are infuriated by Fat Bastard, but he don’t care.

Finally, we walk out of line and go to the end of the far right group check-in line.

When we get up there, the check-in attendant tells us it is always like this. She laughs with us about Fat Bastard. Gives us emergency exit seats so we’ll have more leg room.

We take quick look at souvenir store and realize we saved money getting ripped off in town.

We decide to hit customs. Get in the Caucasian line to avoid another disaster where 50 Chinese cut in front of us again. Our line moves smoothly. Although 3-4 Chinese are arguing about something.

We get to waiting area. I eat some Ham and Cheese sandwich Lays chips. They were delicious. Then I had some corn buggles with cheese coating. Even better. Ate a slim Jim. We watched Romeo and Juliet touching and kissing while we waited for plane. I told OL you touch my nose, I vomit on you.

Then we think the gate changes because it changes on the gate monitor and the main monitor list. Head from gate 66 to 5. But it’s a glitch. Ten minutes later monitors switch back.

I pee again. This time there is toilet paper. It seems to be something Thailand always under stocks. At the hotel and in public restrooms.

We begin boarding at 12:05 am. Boarding involves everyone going through with their boarding pass, departure card, and passport. This is very confusing for the over 50 people who keep holding the line up searching their bags for all these pieces of paper.

Won’t let anyone by despite the stewardess trying to take my boarding paperwork. Grrr. Then we go through a gate to a bus which shuttles us to the stairs to board the plane. Shades of Easy Jet in Venice.

On the bus, a guy takes a seat from a gimpy old lady forcing her to use her cane to walk up 4 stairs to another seat. Wow makes Hong Kongers look downright polite. Plane is a six seat per row with one tiny aisle to the bathrooms in back. We are in seats 12a and b.

No one sits in 12c. Thank goodness. But the exit row seats have walls between the seats that don’t let you expand outward. Squash the butt and thighs into a tiny seat.

The flight is about 5 hours. They hand out drinks and snack boxes. Bun, coconut muffin, chocolate, raisins. Then they proceed to leave the seat belt sign on for the entire flight.

Guess what I gotta pee. So three times I got up and went.

First time, they were collecting boxes and two carts blocked my way back to my seat. So I had to reshut myself in the bathroom.

My claustrophobia kicks in because I know I can’t get out until the cart passes. So to distract myself I pee again. Then I get out and realize the other cart is still coming so I hop into the other restroom.

Btw, did I mention I’m the first one in both but they both reek of urine. Think gas station with one restroom stench.

Second round of claustrophobia. Now I attempt to pop a zit in my jaw to distract myself but it’s one of those not yet ready to burst zits.

Finally, I get out of the urine stench and head to my seat. I end up dozing on and off for 3 hours. Nice.

Though I get very sweaty. And my neck hurts from the position I’m cramping into.

Landing goes smoothly. But for the guy who refuses to put his seatbelt on and the woman who decides she’s going pee whether or not we are descending already.

What an experience. We disembark to a bus to the Shanghai Pudong Airport, which is very modern with signs in English and Chinese. Reminds me of HK.

Except the people from the flight are so aggressive. Elbowing and shoving. I can’t believe anyone says New Yorkers are rude. Compared to the Chinese they are Queen Elizabeth proper.

Pushing is a way of life here. So I just have to be my biggest baddest self.

I hit the ATM and the currency exchange to get rid of my baht. Super efficient. OL got the luggage. We walked outside to the taxi stand and got a taxi to the Asset Hotel.

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