Schiphol

February 10th, 2016

As much time you may or may not dedicate to packing and heading to the airport, eventually you do end up feeling rushed. In this event, I blame Microsoft for that. Before leaving, I wanted to perform the recomended monthly test of the ground fault circuit breaker I so often end up skipping, before switching off all circuits except for the one feeding the fridge. Yet, my laptop decided it was a good time to install updates and service packages just as I made my way to the circuit board and I decided it would be better to leave it powered for the time being and wait until it finished. This actually bought me some time to take out a last bag of trash, so Johan Cruijff was right when he said “Elk nadeel hep z’n voordeel”

Though I had already checked in online yesterday, it does give peace of mind to have dropped off all checked luggage and be cleared by customs. Arriving at the railway platform minutes after the train left and having to wait for another to arrive did, obviously, not bring me any closer to this peace of mind – but it should, yes should, be manageable to be at the counter before it closes. And indeed, I did arrive at the counter more than one and a half hours before the scheduled departure of the flight, and after being greeted by ecceptionally friendly ground staff and dropping off my luggage, it is time to go through customs. Beside the booths where humans perform the passport checks, there are now some automated gates, apparently able to optically read out passports and
match it with the info on the RFID chip. It appears The Netherlands secretly seceded from the European Union, though – because, when I tried it, a message popped claiming these gates are only to be used by EU citizens. Which, to my best knowledge, I still am…

Not feeling any urge to shop or visit a cafe, I decide to manage some last emails and such near the gate where the gracious little bird that’ll bring me to Dubai is already parked. The difference in size is striking, compared to the Aeroflot jet at the adjacent gate. Obviously, I take some pictures. I still have that awkward hobby of wanting to snap an image of every plane I’ve ever flown on. Why? It just happens to be one of the things you start doing and never stop with.

As the gate opens, the same ground stewardess who initially printed my boardung pass and issued the claim ticket for my bag also is the one scanning my boarding pass and granting entrance to the gate. It takes significantly less time to embark the plane than the previous time I flew to Dubai, but the reason behind that is that the economy class of this flight is not nearly filled to capacity. I’ve got an entire row of seats aboard this A380 at my disposal, which proves a great opportunity to get some rest. As much as I dislike reclining seatbacks, that much I appreciate being able to occupy three or four seats at once and turn them into a makeshift bed. though they offer literally thousands of things to do or watch aboard this flight, nothing beats getting some sleep – or, well, sleep, and the ability to connect to the internet throughout the flight. What happened to Justine Sacco in 2013 has become a thing of the past :)

In Dubai, there’s a four hour layover. Leaving plenty of time for some food and drinks. The airline issued a meal voucher, which bought me a sandwich and a soda – and afterward, my creditcard bought me a delightful cup of coffee, and a Lebanese lager to pass the time until the gate opens for my flight to Jakarta.

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