A night in Beirut with Peter Andre


(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #1

How times change.





We used to check-in online.


We used to fly hand luggage only.


We used to fast-track security.


We used to fly Club.





Now we have to check in AT the airport as we have infants, which means we have to queue, something we dislike greatly. So to avoid queuing we arrived 4 hours early (shock horror - this is also something we never used to do, having spent several years commuting we minimised as much as possible the amount of time we spent in airports - down to 30mins before departure if I remember rightly)





Now to avoid the queue we have to check-in early, so as we stood at the Cyprus Airways desks waiting for the check-in to open (a first experience for us) I was excited (sorry but it’s true) to see Peter Andre head towards us to check-in early too (he obviously dislikes queues too). He handed his passport over to a member of staff, checked-in and sauntered off before check-in even opened. Oh the luxury of being a celebrity. Still I didn’t mind as I was busy texting all my friends and family about my news that Peter Andre was on my flight (again sorry, but I think he’s sweet & I couldn’t help but watch his tv show when I was up late waiting for the 11pm feed & now I’m hooked).





So in this frenzy of texting, the check-in opened & my hubby diligently sorted out our admin - lucky it was Cyprus Air & they are relaxed about weight as I totally forgot to weigh our suitcase - as I said I’m not used to travelling with more than hand luggage, it was 22.6kg which I don’t think is bad for 4 of us for 2 weeks?





I was now busy trying to keep the 2 year old from running off (probably after Peter) but then I realised she’d spotted the dreaded travel items from all parents nightmares Trunki’s. For those of you who don’t know what they are, they’re plastic pull along animal shaped suitcases for kids that they sit on. Think 5 minutes entertainment followed by Dad or Mum having to carry arond said large cumbersome plastic object and a tired child around airport as well as change bag, hand-luggage, duty free & a costa coffee.





I have spent the last 2 weeks avoiding these in John Lewis, she makes a beeline for them every time (JL/Waitrose is my local store at the moment - such a luxury). Anyway I explained they are too big for her (this will come back to haunt me I’m sure) but she then moved onto the Trunki pillow which seemed like a good idea. It is a neck pillow with little magnets round the neck to keep it on, along came Daddy from Check-In and with the twist of the little finger, it was hers. I was just happy it wasn’t the Trunki.







We checked-in the car seats (in their special car seat bags which I think are a great idea as they stop the car seats getting damaged when they’re thrown around on luggage belts/trolleys/planes/belts = we’ve seen this many times before).





So with hand luggage, 2 tots & Miss Mouse, we then went off to Cafe Rouge for dinner (we’re missing France and needed to try & get a little bit of France where we can - well as much as there is to be found in Cafe Rouge). After 2 Entrecotes cooked rare (think A Point rather than Saignant) we treked through to Security.





As I said earlier, we used to fast track, now it can only be described as snail track. After stripping off (shoes, belt, coat, cardigan, small child & baby carrier), unloading change bag (creams, milks, water), sorting through hand baggage for our 100ml items in their tiny plastic bags and then remembering the laptop, mobile phones, change in your pocket…blah blah blah. We then go backwards & forwards through security, with small child, without small child, with small child, without small child…if you have a choice of queues…avoid the one with small children.





Then of course our bags & trays got stopped. We waited for half an hour whilst someone from security came over to investigate the contents, obviously difficult to work out what they might be - small child strapped to my chest might be a giveaway. We had to empty out the change bag & I was advised that I should really open all the sealed sterile Organic HIPP milk containers to taste them to make sure they are not explosives. Another security man chipped in “well its ok they have lots of bottles I’ve seen them on the screen, just pour it in”. At this point, I smiled and through fake smile explained that it won’t be sterile or last more than 2 hours if I open them all…so I’m still smiling when security man No 1 said “ok today I can choose one & just taste that one”. Thank you I said & after repacking Mary Poppins Change Bag almost an hour after entering security we were about to escape into the departure terminal when I spotted the BodyScanner. Cool they’ve got one here too…good to know for next time I need new Jeans.





We went up to the lounge and then realised we only had 30 mins before departure (where did the 4 hours go?) so we tried encouraging 2 year old to walk about 2 miles to gate 49 which was at the end of the earth. Why are we always on the last gate? As we were within 10 mins of the gate the screen changed to Gate Closing, Great I thought we arrived 4 hours early and now we are going to miss our plane. Not so, it was obviously just for a laugh as when we got there half the people hadn’t arrived yet (no wonder they place defibrilators along the route if they play that trick on the over 60’s crowd). As we boarded I looked out for Peter, no sign but I did see his name on the inventory (under Peter Andrea) tricky no-one would guess that then.





Peter boarded almost last and sat down in Club, we took the economy seats (Aphrodite Class on Cyprus Air). The girls went to sleep almost immediately and off we went. We almost arrived in Larnaka, landing gear down, descended to 2000ft when we pulled back up sharply & circled again eventually after explaining in Cypriot and seeing the Cypriots jump up and down we realised we would be landing in Beirut not Cyprus. Great. Poor visibility apparently. I’m glad the pilot got to 2000 ft before he realised he couldn’t land. What worried me more was that he circled a few times as though he couldn’t decide if it was that bad or not. Cyprus is a small island, the runway is practically in the sea, I preferred Beirut to the Med. So for 4 hours we visited Lebanon from the airfield I could see it looked quite nice. Then we took off back to Cyprus where the fog had cleared.





We waited for our bags & I looked out for Peter again, he sauntered off the plane last & stood with people pointing at him, trying to see if he really was Peter Andre. I smiled knowingly and waited for our bag. Peter left the airport. We waited & waited for our bags. We used to be the first off the plane & first out of the airport. This time as we waited, our bag was the LAST bag & we were the LAST people out of the airport from our flight.





Travel - it’s just not how it used to be. How times change :slight_smile:




(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #2

@ Tracy - they were in bed (shattered after a day out by the sea) and I was sat with a decent glass of Cypriot Red (decent does exist here, I’ve spent a few years pre-kids seeking out the best wineries on the Island so I’m reaping the rewards of all that research now:)

We’re on holiday over Easter visiting grandparents - 2 full time babysitters means time for me to catch up on emails etc. It’s like a home from home, we’ve been coming here for years so not too stressful.


(Tracy Thurling) #3

Suzanne,
How on earth do you find time to blog all this stuff with such small children. You manage to make what must have been quite a stressful time into something really funny to read. Is it because mine are now 4 years and 6 years old I actually look back at those stressful times with nostalgia?
Have a great holiday (I assume it is a holiday).