After getting up at 3.10am and checking out of the Heathman Hotel we got in the taxi that we had pre ordered for a 4.10am pickup to take us to Portland airport. The taxi journey was about 18 minutes with the cab driver constantly passing all other cars, not that we were in a hurry, we had given ourselves plenty of time as we always do when checking in be it cruising or flying.
Day 134 – July 14th.
We arrive at Portland airport at 4.32am and walk in, joining one of the three or four lines of people checking in for their respective United Airline flight. The queues were each about ten people long, so we stand in line and slowly, very slowly ease our way towards the desk. The priority-first-business line was moving faster and so it should, I’m cool with that.
Eventually we are next in line following a lady that has connecting flights going to Ireland.
Now, behind each desk IS a person, yet at each of the desks is a machine where YOU must enter your details… Back to the lady going to Ireland, she’s done all the screen tapping and is at the point where she should have received the print out of her ongoing flight’s boarding pass, however the machine has other ideas for her. The lady behind the desk is somehow helping a gentleman from the Priority line and said that the machine will print shortly.
A few minutes later and still no boarding pass for the lady, the desk lady (I say desk lady, each of them have different uniforms on so you have no idea who’s who) takes a look, a few taps of the screen results in nothing and so she then proceeds to manually print one from her side of the desk.
Finally we stand face to face with the ticket machine, great, however the machine is still showing the screen details from the lady going to Ireland, not cool hey. Slightly frustrated we get the attention of another desk lady and explain the above… She taps the screen profusely achieving nada, she then turns it off, never mind the much bigger line of people behind us.
So now she manually takes our credentials and keys them into the system, (wow they can still do that) but some bright spark decided that it would be more efficient to install machines that only slow down the procedure and that’s if they work: FYI there were THREE other machines that were out of order, sorry no photo, I was a bit stressed. By now, it’s 5.05am and our flight departs at 5.40am.
The desk lady helping us has our details in seconds and checks in our four bags, which to no surprise you have to pay for at the desk (I knew that we had to) but I just don’t get all this stupid tedious time wasting procedures at the last minute, I mean, I booked and paid for the flights months ago.
Anyway I paid with credit card $120 for the bags no dramas with paying, that’s cool, but why now, when I could have paid for four bags sitting in my undies on my hotel bed drinking a beer while calmly making these reservations… No we have to all go (yes all, many people were distressed at the procedure) through this painful experience.
Back to the bags, one of which was 7lb over weight and I was told to remove a little or pay excess!!! WTF… never mind that the others were all under the 50lb limit, oh well, I did the airport nightmare and removed the items with rapid pace.
Boarding cards in hand we quickly join yet another long line of travellers (sheep) that needed to pass through security. At least these lines were moving slightly faster. Some lucky ones who had a TSA something next to their name on the boarding cards could take the express lane, maybe 4 out of 40 had these that were in our vicinity, another crappy gimmick, apparently the airline choses these people at random, laughing out loud I am. What a joke, never mind those that are desperately getting close to missing their flights.
As we move along I question one of the staff about getting through this security quicker and she replied it will only be 12 minutes sir, clearly didn’t give a dam. Eventually a very friendly passport control man smiled and said a few nice words, “have a great day” to my surprise, I only just get it now why, because he is only checking domestic flights and not International, That’s my theory anyway.
Waiting to go through the screening machine, we hear over the loud speaker, “final call for flight 1442 to Denver”, we have about 20 or so people in front of us… this ain’t going to happen I said to Moni, then I tell the nearest dude, “thats’s our final boarding call, can you get us through here like asap” he said… wait for it…
“Oh well, you will have to try and get yourself to the front of the line then” I said to myself Portland Airport check-in sucks. And with that we asked out loud (the people around had already picked up our distress signals) if we could squeeze through to which they very kindly did allow us to the front.
As quick as we could we were screened, shoes off, computer out, all metal off, then that screen machine picks up everything, even the metal buttons on the trousers halfway down the leg, and my reading glasses!!
Gathering our stuff off the conveyor, without packing the stuff away we run to the gate, which lucky for us was just to the right of the security, if it was any further away we’d have missed the flight, we were the last ones on, even though about 12 people were still finding their seats. Walking down the aisle Moni packs away her computer and finally gets her shoes on!
From getting up at 3.10am, the cab at 4.10am arriving at the airport at 4.32am we only just made the flight by 4 minutes as we pushed away from the bay… An hour and ten minutes to clear check-in and passport/security for a domestic flight at Portland airport, just terrible, no wonder we love cruising so much more than flying, at least when finally boarding a cruise ship I sit down onboard not feeling like i’ve been participating in an race around the world.
We fly again soon from Denver to Fort Lauderdale, we will be at Denver airport at least 2 hours earlier than the scheduled flight, I do hope it goes much smoother and stress free than today. Phew, happy to be in Denver now.