Paris 10/2008 Fight Home



Paris Fight Home

October 12, 2008

Our flight back to the US is not until 12:30 and because we do not have to check luggage, we leave the hotel at 9 and go over to the RER stop at Les Halles. We manage to buy our tickets and take the train out to CDG with little drama.

Unfortunately, when we get to the check in lines at United all hell breaks loose. The United computer terminals are all down. It takes us almost 45 min waiting in the First/ Business line just to reach the ticket counter and when we do, we get shuffled from one computer to another because they continue to have problems.
In addition, they tell us they want to check our luggage even though what we have is well within United's carry-on rules. We say, "no thank you" and take our chances. Finally, after some sort of miracle we have our boarding passes in hand and head to passport control.

When we get there the line is enormous, snaking back and forth. There are only 3 or 4 windows open for about 500 people. Oh, and can someone tell me why there are no bathrooms up here? I would have had to go back downstairs, through another security check, to find one.
I wait.

After about 30 min we are through the line to the other side and we head for the Red Carpet Room where we are told we should not stay and should rush to our gate which is boarding. We make a quick pit stop and walk/run to the gate where there is another full-on security checkpoint.
I take off my shoes, coat, scarf.
I pull out my liquids and my laptop.
I put everything with my bags on the belt and push it though the x-ray machine and walk though the metal detector no problem. I start to reassemble all my stuff and they ask to open my bag.
"No problem," I say.
The TSA agent pulls out my can of foie gras and says, "You cannot have this."
"Why not?"
"Because it is not allowed"
"Why not?"
Because it is in a can. She then tries to tell me "cans" are not allowed on the plane because they could be dangerous and sharp if they are opened.
I want to say, "if you are doing your job right, no one will have anything on the plane to open a can" but I keep that to myself. I also want to say that the foie gras is dangerous only to my arteries but I don't think she'd get the joke.
Then she tries to tell me the foie gras is a "'liquid". Please, since when? Finally her supervisor comes over and tells me I cannot have it because the can says it is 200 grams and nothing over 100 grams is allowed. That would be fine, if it were a liquid, but it is not. Still, into the bin goes my luscious foie gras.

Finally, we get on the plane (no problems with our bags by the way) and we are in the last row of business class. The flight attendants are very sweet and commiserate with me on my loss of foie and bring me a champagne. The flight is delayed because of the computer problems and we keep seeing people get on the plane just as we think they are going to close the doors. Because we are in the last row, they run out of everything before they get to us; newspapers, customs forms in English, all our choices for food. I watch Hancock and try to sleep. No luck.

Arrival in DC is a bit more of the same chaos; there is a huge line to go through immigration and we are concerned we might miss our connecting flight. But, we make it through in about 40 min and have a quick stop in the RCC for a snack as the food on the plane was inedible. On the flight back to LA my video screen was broken so they gave me a voucher for a one segment upgrade on a future flight (within 1 year, unlikely to happen).

I am thrilled to see my husband waiting for us when we come down the escalator at LAX. As much as I love to travel, it's always good to be home.

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