Trying to catch a flight nowadays is like an obstacle course and I cannot rid the feeling I am participating in a TV reality show challenge.
Braving heavy Parisian traffic on the periferique (ringroad) at 7 o'clock in the morning and - 35 minutes later - managing to find a parking spot a million miles away from the terminal, I enter the airport to be stopped at the sliding doors and asked to open not only my handbag but also my carry-on for a standard security check. At this point, I have not even set foot in the terminal yet... Let the gymkhana begin!
Having not being allowed to check-in online because of some obscure reason, I set off in search of flybe's check-in desk.
About to go through my first passport control to reach the desks when the friendly airport usher tells me the check-in is the other side with Air France.
Off I trod only to be told by yet another friendly Air France assistant to return where I came from. A friendly banter with the first usher to tell him Southhampton is indeed located in England and not in the US for him to let me pass after having checked my passport.
3 minutes later - after another passport control - I am holding my boarding pass.
Heading towards the boarding area I am asked to show my boarding pass and stand in line for yet another passport control by the police this time before I go through security control (after queuing patiently) and a second check of my boarding pass.
A good 50 minutes and I have finally made it from the airport entrance to the boarding area. I wonder how long this would take during high season?!?
A quick coffee and a croissant and it is time to board. Another passport and boarding pass check and I am expecting to board the plane.
But wait, we are now ushered into a bus and driven half way around the enormous Charles de Gaulles airport for 10 minutes to another terminal area before we are allowed to cross the tarmac and finally board our little plane to Southampton... WITHOUT having our Boarding passes checked.
The crew were clearly not expecting their passengers since we "caught" them enjoying their breakfast break on the plane.
The flight from Paris to Southampton took exactly 45 minutes!!!
Where on earth are we heading to... the UK via bus?!?