a different side of Israel

The Joys of Air Travel (part two)

By Debbie Gold Hadar

El Al BoeingIn part one, I discussed a trip down memory lane: specifically, the memory lane that exists between the alighting point outside London Heathrow Airport, Terminal One, (where there are never enough trolleys, and someone always catches the back of your heel with theirs as you walk into the terminal) and good old El Al check-in, AKA Area P (sigh).

Today we progress from Area P (sigh). Onwards, ever onwards.

We walk through the separate El Al “we don’t actually trust the regular British x-ray machines, so we’ve had some flown in from the Weizmann Institute that are so accurate they can count the bristles on your toothbrush” security check, watching enviously as the other passengers simply whiz through the regular but obviously less thorough security check.

Well, as Sharon Stone quoted her agent: “It’s Israel. They invented security!”

We meander slowly through the impossible-to-get-a-WIFI-connection-departure-lounge-for-the-common-person. Of course, there is the King David lounge, somewhere. Except of course, that’s not for the likes of us. We are too crumpled, too hassled, and too weighed down by personal and carry-on baggage to look the part in the King David lounge. No, no… that is for the likes of the twelve year old child who looked me up and down disdainfully from her overly wide and damnably comfortable seat, as I sadly trudged through to cattle class (row 31, seat K).

How is it I work like a slave and yet I can barely afford a seat back there, while a twelve-year-old – twelve! – gets to sit in Business/First class. Grrr.

[Of course, back home, in Ben Gurion Airport, they have a lounge for the cut-above-the-common-person that I erroneously fancy myself to be (in reality I hold a specific kind of credit card, that I only got through a deal offered me by my husband’s work). Seymour and I sat in there on the way to our trip. I quite enjoyed the ambiance, and was more than satisfied by my stale croissant; to a pleb like myself it seemed the height of luxury. Seymour was less impressed by the glamour, although he did like the baby plum tomatoes at the salad bar. Ahem. Once again, I digress. Bad, bad Debbie.]

We detour unavoidably through WH Smith’s, as we raise an enormous, plastic-lidded bucket of tasteless coffee to our lips with one hand, and select various cannot-board-the-plane-without-these items.

We emerge from WH Smith’s, with an oversized carrier bag clutched in our now coffee-cup-less hand, containing the latest issues of Private Eye, Q, Empire and Viz (no need for the Jewish Chronicle, they’ll give you a free one on the plane if you fly on a weekend), a large packet of Maltesers and a litre of designer water; bought only so you can have a permanent slurp-bottle on your desk at work.

Well, this container is much less easy to knock over, and lasts much longer; thereby reducing the number of times yours klutzy-and-truly causes the electricity in the building to fuse by spilling water from a cup onto my keyboard, and more importantly, the number of times I have to schlep to the water cooler to fill the damn thing up.

And then we start walking.

To Gate 56: the only gate in Heathrow Airport that’s actually situated over 100 miles from the M25*. If you have attired your feet in designer heels for your flight home, now is the time to retrace your steps to the departure lounge ( for the common people, natch) and visit the sports shop for some comfortable, flat-heeled albeit overpriced and trendy footwear. Because this walk is long. Not just regular long. No, no. I mean really looooooooooooooooooong.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To be continued…

1 Comment

  1. Mark the Gooner Goldberg

    October 5, 2006 at 4:21 am

    Just keep it rolling darling, I love reading your stuff

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