60 - My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain...
Once we had parted company with all of our bags we left our check-in agent counting the cost of threatening us with excess baggage charges and went to find Big Steve and Lisa who were waiting for us nearby to compare boarding passes. We had again been assigned bulkhead seats with Nanny Lesley across the aisle from us. Big Steve, Lisa, Ellie and Harry had been assigned the row of 4 seats directly behind us. Somehow, and I have still to work out how, Virgin Atlantic knew that we were travelling together. We had booked this whole holiday as two separate bookings and not told Virgin that we were “together” so to speak. Somehow they had found out and seated us all together for the flight home. I still don’t know how they did it. Not complaining mind.
Next on the agenda for us was food. There’s a food court just beyond the check-in area so we found some seating and went in search of food. Big Steve and Lisa had McDonalds as it was easiest with the children. I sent Adrian off to the pasta place with instructions to get me something that looked edible. I honestly can’t remember what he got me. Probably a cheese pizza though; usually pretty safe with those, even in an airport. Steven had some garlic bread. After I’d eaten my whatever I had, I left the others eating and went over to the *big fanfare* Krispy Kreme outlet and got a dozen glazed KKs straight out of the fryer. Made a nice ending to the airport lunch, except that I ate 3 of them and it made me feel a tiny bit sick. We had to leave the eating area about this time because Harry threw his drink all over the floor.
So what to do in an airport once you’ve eaten. Well shop of course. Well browse actually, for most of us. Ellie though, was on a mission. She still had birthday money left over and was detemined to spend some more of it. She had been told that she could buy something but it had to be small and her parents had to approve the choice before allowing the purchase to go ahead. So there’s a Disney Store in the airport terminal. Luckily there are many empty seats and a Starbucks nearby. Nanny Lesley, Adrian and myself settle down with Steven and large caffeinated beverages and wait while Ellie studies the purchasing options. She settles on a make-it-yourself Princess crown thing. Basically a pink plastic crown that you add bits to, and the more you add the more the total cost goes up. And there lay the problem. Ellie wanted to jam this thing as full of jewels and princess things as she could. So we sat and waited while the negotiations took place. We finished our large caffeinated beverage. We browsed the nearby Sea World shop. Steven amused a nearby very-pregnant lady for a while. We were just contemplating another trip to Starbucks when the negotiations ended. Ellie got the crown but with a limit on the number of adornments, and they had to match. So she gets a Tinkerbell crown. And she can wear it on the plane as there’s nowhere to pack it.
No putting it off any longer: we have to go through security. There’s only one word to describe security for departing flights at MCO; but if I write that here it will be replaced by lots of *s. Suffice to say we found the whole experience less than impressive. We headed toward the throngs of people waiting to get through and were diverted by a loud, less than polite security agent who ordered us to the check point on the other side as we would get through there a lot quicker. We dragged bags, children, buggies, princess crown over to the other side to find that the crowds here were twice as big as the first one and another less-than-polite security agent was telling people to go back. No, we’re here now and we’re going through. We get into the long line after having to show our passports and boarding passes just to be allowed to get in the line. For some unfathomable reason Big Steve and Lisa get directed to the disabled line which is non-existant and are through security in about 5 minutes. They now have to pitch a tent and make camp while they wait for us to get through the regular line.
We reach the head of the line and another impolite agent orders us to a scanning machine. Jeez it wouldn’t hurt these people to smile once in a while surely. At the scanning machine we have to practically strip naked then load bags, jackets, belts, sweaters, and Steven’s buggy on to the machine. Steven of course was fast asleep in his buggy and was none too impressed at being evicted. The non-smiling agent on the other side of the metal detector asked me to stick one foot through as he thought my shoes had metal in them. Have you ever tried to stand on one leg with the other leg stuck out in front whilst holding a not-happy-at-being-woken-up-for-a-miserable-security-man baby? Yeah well take it from me it’s not easy. So my shoes beeped and I had to remove them – still holding the wriggly baby – and then bend down and pick them up and place them on belt. Yes of course I was still holding the wriggly baby; the miserable security man could have at least offered to pick my shoes up for me. After all he’s the one that wants them removed.
And here’s the other thing. On the way into MCO I passed through the same security gate, through the exact same metal detectors, wearing the exact same shoes, and no metal was detected. What the heck is the deal with that? I’ve been in this country for two weeks. There’s no telling what I could have hidden in the sole of my shoes that could have wreaked havoc during my stay. Why was the metal not detected on my arrival? Talk about erratic security.
Eventually all our bodies and their possessions were allowed through and we deliberately spent about 9 hours slowly replacing our clothing, unfolding Steven’s buggy, strapping him in, settling him down, reuniting him with his bunny that had to be put through the nasty scanner, and replacing our shoes before leaving the miserable security men and women to continue not smiling menacingly at people. We re-joined Big Steve and Lisa who had nearly given up hope of ever seeing us again and we boarded the little monorail ride out of there. Ellie wanted to know if this ride had a height restriction.