Sleeping in Airports

Airport Adventures: Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport

by Alexander

We landed cowboy style with a loud crash and high overspeed in a thunderstorm, using most of the runway to brake.

“Dear traveller? Welcome to Hell on Earth!

On the way to Central Asia, and travelling with a good friend – I stopped over in MOW for 3 hrs outbound, and 9 hrs inbound.

We flew from Kiev to MOW on an old russian Tu-154, which was so noisy and shaky, that it made us think it would crash at anytime – we’re not girls – we’re sky divers, so we’re really talking business here. The stewardesses on board the plane ran through the aisle, throwing meals, and shouting orders out at the passengers, and especially one of them looked very scary, and didn’t answer us when asking her for a drink, but disappeared hastily, never to return with anything.

We landed cowboy style with a loud crash and high overspeed in a thunderstorm, using most of the runway to brake – thnx for flying Aeroflot. Geeeeeee!

Once in the terminal, the real adventure began. We hurried to the transit desk, being a frequent flyer to MOW, I knew getting there in time was of outmost importance. Anything else could mean anything from missing our next flight, to having have to pay bribes to fat airport officials.

Upon getting there we were met by an empty desk, with two employees arguing which one of them should expedite the passengers from the plane. The winner left with a smile, and the looser sat down very dissatisfied with the lack of fortune.

Sloooooooooowly, he started out with registering passports and tickets, and small papers and small phone calls and small rests and looking a little around and looking at a passport and so on… Expediting 1 passenger took him about 3 or 4 minutes, multiplying that into 30 people… Well… I asked him if it was possible to call for more assistance, an inquiery he chose to ignore completely. I don’t like being ignored, so I continued standing besides him and asking him if he could be so nice to call for someone else. After a couple of minutes, the guy exploded and shouted in my face that I should get back in the line and shut up. He grabbed the phone, and called someone to come and help him with the expedition. After another 15 minutes a sour fat lady with a glass of tea came, and sat down. The slow guy pointed at me, and said, “that’s the troublemaker!”

She ripped the passport and my onward ticket out of my hands, spread the documents all over her desk and started to shout orders to me, to find things that I already had given her. After some minutes of shouting, she finished insultingly “registering” me, but not trusting her, I decided to check everything, before i walked away from her desk. So I found out that the luggage tag, that I always stick on the back of my passport, was missing.

“NONO!!!! IT’S NOT MISSING, I GAVE IT BACK TO YOU! YOU HAVE LOST IT SOMEWHERE!!! I NEVER GOT IT!” – she shouted, small drops of spit hitting my face.

I told her, that she should call her manager, that I wanted to talk to him. And fast. That I would not go away before I got my luggage tag, and she couldn’t expedite more passangers before she finished expediting me. And since I didn’t have my luggage tag, she wasn’t finished expediting me now, was she?

So she grabbed the phone, and while me triumphally giving my buddy “the-look-of-victory-over-Stalinistic-bureacracy”, to my terror, she called the cops.

I must certainly admit that while Sheremetyevo employees are extremely slow at their work, the police turned up wit guns in their hands within 1 minute. They saluted the bureacrats, and grabbed my arm, while the fat lady pointed her crooked finger at my nose.

Although with the arrival of the police I was ready for a diaper change, a managed to keep cool, and made myself free of the robocop grip, and told the “NKVD-types” nicely to get the officer in charge down here AT ONCE. That the fat lady, had lost my luggage tag, and that I wanted the Aeroflot manager as well.

Now, the bureaucrats went berserk and started to shout in stereo that the NKVD should arrest me, that I obstruct their work, that I’m a troublemaker, that they can’t work, Gulag, and so on…

Eventually, to my big surprise, the coppers now grabbed the phoneand called the…. Aeroflot manager! Well, I gave her a verbal whooooping, and it actually ended with Aeroflot manager giving me an excusee for the treatment I got.

When boarding the plane, we saw a guy getting his cell phone stolen from the x-ray machine, and actually getting verbally abused by the officers for not paying attention. They told him, it’s not our job to look after Your things they told him.

Welcome to Sheremetyevo!”

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