Orly Airport Gong Show


I normally fly home out of Roissy (CDG), but on this trip to Paris I flew out of Orly. I arrive with my car at AVIS at Orly Ouest and there is not a soul there to to take it away from me. The “Rapid Retour” is anything but rapid. I end up walking over to the office to find someone to come and take the car. That done, I take the train to Orly Sud and as I am about to board the train to the South terminal, a boy runs off the train with his bag while his mother yells for him to get back on, “Vito! Vito!”, and a bunch more in Italian I couldn’t make out. Vito is eight years old. The boy realizes what he is doing and runs back on the train, rolling his bag over my feet in the process. I get to the South terminal and look for the check-in desk for Corsair. I find it, but then I am told that the flight to Montreal checks in downstairs. Down I go. I wait in line for 30 minutes and with only two groups ahead of me, the kiosk is shut down because the computer is toast. I change lines and wait another 30 minutes. They make me check my luggage. I hate that. I am a died-in-the-wool carry-on only guy having lost and had damaged luggage way too many times.

Having checked in, I go upstairs and look for a place to get a sandwich before going through security, and hear an announcement for someone who forgot their bag and to go to door B to retrieve it. The area is roped off. I go the restaurant to get a sandwich and the guy in front of me is being served. The girls behind the counter handles money and open sandwiches without washing or even using a napkin. A piece of chicken fall out of the baguette and she picks it up with her fingers and pops it in her mouth, serves the rest of the sandwich to the man who is not paying attention, and turns to me. I opt for the chicken wrap that is sealed in a kriptonite-proof vacuum pack and a bottle of sparkling water. 8.50 euros. I go outside and sit to eat at the little cafe-style seating outside the terminal. Nice and sunny, and comparatively quiet after the cacophonous clucking in the terminal. I can finally relax for 10 minutes. Then the police comes by and tells us all to clear out and a cop tapes off this area too. I guess nobody came back for their bag. The tape perimeter is widening… So I head into the terminal and it is now jammed. Jeez, it wasn’t this bad a few minutes ago. I push my way through the crowd and discover that the only access route to secutity and border control is also roped off.

The departures board starts to flash delay after delay. I think I am doomed. Okay, Raj, remember, patience…breathe…

Am I headed for another delay like trying to get out of Paris two weeks ago? I hope not but, not really under my control. Luckily, after about 10 minutes, the tape comes down and there is a mad rush to get through security and queue up for flights. Finally get through! Sitting in front of the gate with a little time to spare I start to write this post. A young girl runs up and an argument ensues at the gate – she just missed her flight and she wants them to wait for her. She can see her 747 on the tarmac, a look of longing on her face. The aircraft has just pushed off. She becomes hysterical but the airline check-in guy is firm and sends her packing.

The flight to Montreal was okay. I had the whole row of seats to myself. The lumpiest, most uncomfortable seats ever. I think they were designed to be this way. The flight left about 30 minutes late, and I landed in Montreal with enough time to spare to make my connection to Ottawa. Back to Paris again in two weeks and I will try to avoid flights through Orly.

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