I still have that childlike, excited sense of anticipation before setting off on a flight. It's very difficult to sleep the night before I fly, knowing that this time tomorrow I will be somewhere new and exciting. I'll be even more excited if it's a family visit, especially if I haven't seen them for a while.
But that bubble is quickly burst as most airport experiences are painful, no matter how patient I try to be.
The starting point of my adventure - and rising stress level - is loading up the taxi and setting off for the airport. Passport and tickets.
Check. Luggage. Check. Taxi? Late, as usual. I have a black suitcase and one cabin-sized backpack. Both are within the weight and dimensions detailed in black and white on my air ticket. But when I arrive at the airport, late, because of the traffic congestion, my stress level creeps up higher.
Why am I one of the very few who follows luggage rules? Overweight suitcases are the norm at check-in. I doubt they have even been weighed beforehand - bursting at their zipper - just waiting to explode en route to their final destination. Or worse still, on arrival. Where the bag's uncensored contents will revolve around the baggage carousel in view of all the passengers, until the red-faced owner picks them up. Does he really have underwear like that?
How often do you see passengers at check-in having to unpack their passport and tickets from their suitcase? Or shifting heavier items from the overweight suitcase to the carry-on bag? Not just a couple of kilos but 5-10kg over. And then there's the hand luggage.