LAX… it is an experience

When you go to an airport, the experiences you have are relatively the same around the world. Or so you would think.

When we left Adelaide to go to USA/Canada we give them our checked luggage and passports. They ask routine questions “Why are you going there..”. Then you have the luggage tags placed on your bag and they get taken away on a conveyour belt, and you are handed your boarding tickets. You hope that you will see your luggage again in the airport of your chosen country once the journey is over. Seems like a simple process doesn’t it. We’ll this is not the LAX experience (X has to be for the experience).

After a long day in LA we arrived at the departures section of LAX. It was very busy and hard to walk through the crowd. Regular picture – dark airport lots of people lots of luggage – and not just your normal suitcase size either. So far so normal.

We located the Qantas check-in desk, stuck our luggage on the scales (weph!), and handed in our passports. Our carry on luggage (Kym’s I might add) was weighed – apparently we had too much in there… out came a few pairs of jeans and a couple of books. These were promptly placed in a library bag (see they are so useful – always have one with you!). After having the bag tags stuck on the checked luggage, we were told that we had to take our luggage and join the queue (approx 300m in length – I am bad at approximations) for the checked luggage to be scanned. We waited in this queue with all of our luggage for over an hour!! Once we got to the front you give your bag to a person who places onto small luggage cart, who then hands it to someone else who takes it to one end of the x-ray machine and dumps it on the belt that takes it through the machine. After scanning it is hurtled out of the machine, a bloke picks it up and places it on another small luggage cart. While this is all going on you are standing behind a line wanting until your bag comes through. When the bloke looks in your general direction you hold up one finger to indicate you only have one bag, then they wave you off.

At this point you would think that it gets put on electric belt so they don’t have to push them through the building. Wrong! A number of cases are placed on top of each other on a small cart then it is wheeled (here is the strange part), next to the long line of people waiting to have this same experience, through the departures section to behind a desk. From this point on its journey is a mystery becuase I don’t want to see that luggage until we land in Melbourne!

Hang on – there is more. After this experience you then join another long line of all the people with their hand luggage to go through the screening so you can wait at the gate. This took 30 minutes (we weren’t even frisked, or had bags searched or had photos and fingerprints taken). By the time we got through this process the boarding time had already arrived.

But wait – there is more! We were then told that boarding had been delayed becuase the bus that the crew were on to bring them to the airport had blown a tire on the freeway, and we would be delayed about 45 minutes waiting for another pick-up. I later found out that the bus driver of that bus wanted to keep going to the airport – but they convinced him to stop. Eventually we did get on the plane and safely home.

One piece of advice for anyone use LAX – don’t. If you have the option leave from somewhere else. The experience just isn’t worth the cost.

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