this was first drafted when I was juggling between work commitments, work traveling, personal travel planning and piecing life together post the most recent crisis surrounding myself – car hijacked, more home robberies, change in leadership and direction … the stuff I’d rather not discussed about yet …
and yeah, an empty home remains an easy target with or without superior security system and patrolled guards – ask me! 2 robberies and 1 car hijcked does make me some what an authority …
But let’s get back to the subject at hand: dicey connections Survival Tips, one that I am penning in a hotel lobby in Kandy. One that gets penned primarily out of utter boredom, remoteness, exhaustion (can only do 2 hours gym per day) and outright extortion by the Sri Lankans in Kandy …
But of course, being typically a Malaysian, FREE wifi was enticing, besides the fact that this place is a cultural desert with no CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Star Movies, etc. … just 4 out of 8 channels with Cricket matches on the TV.
The town center is much too far by Sri Lankan standards and risky – with the tut tut snaking its way down 7kms the steep hills – into the bowels of congested heat, dust, chaos and noise … a fact that I was not told of during the hotel reservation. And a fact which is taken advatage of by not only the hotel but the tut-tut drivers in pricing transportation charges.
Now, back to dicey connections Survival Tips
Preparing for your flight these days means more than just making sure you have travel insurance and packing your suitcase. With increased airport security and measures, we are take a long time to just get ‘processed’ through the airport; from check-in to finally boarding the plane. But some people do just seem to glide by and others don’t. And by this I don’t mean those with a “bin” or “mohamad” in their names trying to educate Americans… but just the general terms that some people get through with less hassle than others.
Being an ex-consultant I used to travel a lot with tight schedules etc. and have survived some dicey, crazy, out of whack connections; i.e. flight with impossible transit times and the need to do a Usain Bolt from one terminal to the other … again, we’re not talking about some outskirt dead town, but the busiest airports of the world like LHR and LAX.
I had written the ‘tips’ below for friends who have just discovered that they may not make it to their connectng flights from T1 to T5 LHR and thought I’d share … every little thing counts… every minute counts!
1st/Biz Class and early check-in luggage are given priority in baggage stow way and hence first to appear on conveyor belt. Make sure your BIZ CLASS STICKER IS PROMINENT on your check-in bags.
Travel with compact and neat bags (without straps etc hanging around) – baggage handlers tends to “classify” those cumbersome bags with the oversize baggage, strollers etc – last to come out and may be on a different conveyor belt!
Once you have check-in, the plane will have to wait for you to show up until the final call and gate closes. This means if you are late, you can bypass or go through fast check-in/baggage drop lane. Hence, check-in online if possible.
If you have check-in baggage the plane will have to wait for you to board the plane. If there’s no sign of you, the plane will be held up as the unaccompanied baggage must be removed before the plane takes off – so, guys, pray this happens on your flight if you’re running late! lol (though that’s generally associated to ‘terrorist attempt’)
Ground staff can speed you through express lanes – let the ground staff know about your connection the moment you land.
They can whisk you through immigration (very useful for LAX and LHR) and allow you to cut line of have immigration open a counter, without other people boring their hatred eyes into your back.
They can put you on the handicap/service carts to get you around the terminal quicker than on your legs.
They can issue you a LATE PASSENGER PASS (very embarrassing and prominent) and escort you to your gates – the thing is they do the embarrassing shouting and shovelling for you, just look sheepishly down at your feet.
Use your frequent flyer privileges where possible – separates you from the ‘herd’ to get special attention – but be really polite and apologetic about using your privileges. People help people that are nice!
Chose your queues carefully – go with seasoned business travellers – avoid families with young kids and old folks.
Wardrobe – shed your layer clothes, wear flat comfortable slip on-and-off shoes and remove metal objects from you (jewellery, belt buckles … etc) before you go through the detectors. Flat shoes also means where need be you can run!!!
Hand luggage – comply with the size and again use a compact bag that you can handle well while running …
Research the airport terminal layout and ask, ask, ask for directions! If the person you are asking is clueless, just smile and say thank you and dash off even if s/he is mid-sentence. Don’t worry about offending them. What’s the likelihood of you ever needing a favour again or meeting him/her? Besides, s/he will probably just shake his/her head in amusement while you run off.
Bon vayage and happy travel … signing off from Kandy, Sri Lanka