December 9 (Day 8)
Goodbye Paris, I’m ready to go home.
As expected, when the airport started opening around 6am there were massive amounts of people, much confusion, and never-ending lines. I was directed to stand in a line to check in, but there were no people at the desk. I was told it would open at 6:30am. My line became quite long with lots of other people headed to the US all directed to the same line. At 7am, I gave up on my line and wandered around asking people where I should stand in line.
I was told that since my flight was at 10:30, I was not to stand in the only line that was actually staffed with people yet since they were working to get other people through the check in process that had earlier flights. I went to get some breakfast and then jumped in that line anyway because the line was nearly the size of the whole entire waiting area.
The man next to me in line had a 10:30 flight to New York and spoke English so we chatted about the crazy situation. All the check in lines did not have any signage and different staff had different things to say. There was only one board that listed all the departing flights and when my line moved past this board, my plane was supposed to take off at 10:40am. It was now around 9am and I looked at the size of the line still in front of me and hoped I’d make it on the plane. After check in, there was still security to get through.
Finally around 10am I made it to the front of the line and finally, finally checked my luggage, got a boarding pass and was informed that my plane was now boarding at 10:20am. I figured I had time as long as security was short.
At this point I’d been awake all night in the airport, stood in line for over 4 hours and was ready to get on the plane and fall asleep. After security, which wasn’t too long of a line, I ran towards the gate as it was now 10:40 and I was hoping they were still boarding. The information at the gate told me the plane was boarding at 9:55 and I asked if I could board. The staff informed me that actually boarding wasn’t until 11am. Well, at least I’m going to make my flight!
After the crowds on the outside end of security, the area back here felt nearly empty. Apparently they delayed all the flights today probably due to the crowds and the fact that no one would make their flight. I sat down to wait and willed myself to stay awake just a little longer so I wouldn’t fall asleep at the gate and miss my flight. =)
Finally, we boarded around 11:30am, were bused far away to our plane, and I got on and went right to sleep. I have no idea what time we took off, but it seems that we took off at 12:20. I slept like a rock in my empty row for about 7 hours before I woke up feeling actually refreshed. My 9 hour flight felt short with all the sleeping I did and when we arrived in Houston everything in the Houston airport ran smoothly. =)
I was home by about 5pm. I think I might have to make up some commemorative tshirts that say “I survived the Paris snow storm of 2010.” Apparently Paris doesn’t get much snow and the 3-4 inches shut the city down. Well, I’m glad to be home and the bunnies were happy to see me.
Below you’ll see some amusing photos from my airport stay. Also, some shots of the Eiffel Tower at night. While at the Eiffel Tower, I found a group of Jewish guys driving around in a Hanukkah van. I took a photo, you’ll see.
If the slideshow above doesn’t show up, Click on this link