Most Monday mornings my husband flies off somewhere for the week. I deliver him to the airport at some ungodly hour, wearing a coat over my night attire, and collect him late on a Friday evening, from a flight that’s invariably been delayed. At these times, and these times only, it’s just a quick 10 minute trip to the airport.
My husband likes to operate “just in time”. That’s to say, he only allows the absolute minimum of time to reach his destination. I, on the other hand, like to give myself some leeway to allow for the unexpected. This means I tell my husband what time I’m driving him to the airport. This will be about 10-15 minutes earlier than we really need to leave, to allow him his last minute re-checking that he’s got everything he needs. Invariably he hasn’t, but that’s the subject of a whole other blog.
I drop him off just outside either Terminal 1 or 2. When we first moved to France, Nice airport had an area called “Kiss & Fly”. The idea being that you stopped for a couple of minutes to either drop off or pick up. Of course, because it was free, people would park there for 30 minutes or more so there would be no place immediately adjacent to the terminals to drop off or pick up. Both these areas have now been barricaded.
In Terminal 1, there’s a car park which gives you 5 minutes of free parking to facilitate pick up and drop off for all save those of us who drive Smart cars. Unfortunately, the ticket barrier refuses to acknowledge I have a car and will not give me a ticket. At which point, I usually have a queue of cars behind me so cannot reverse out. I have to call an attendant to lift the barrier to give me entry but I now don’t have a ticket to exit. These can only be obtained from the office which sells bus and coach tickets where there is always a long queue, and it takes me longer than 5 minutes to get there and back, so I have to pay. In Terminal 1, I generally pick up and drop off at the roundabout nearest to the Terminal. I can hover here for a while or happily circumnavigate while waiting.
Terminal 2 is rather trickier, because as well as barricading in the “Kiss and Fly” area, they have also bollarded all the approach roads, so there’s no chance to hover. Instead you just have to keep driving past the Departures pick up and drop off area (only taxis can access Arrivals) until your passenger puts in an appearance. The car park does give you 20 minutes of free parking but it takes at least 20 minutes to walk from where you’ve parked to the Terminal. So again you have to pay.
Usually, my husband calls me as soon as the flight has landed and, in an ideal world, I’m there to collect him as he walks out of Arrivals. Each week we check our diaries to make sure I have the correct arrival and departure times. Mostly, this works well, but often as not he makes changes to his schedule and fails to let me know. It’s on these occasions that sod’s law kicks in. He will have used up all the juice on both of his mobile phones. He can’t ring me from the airport phone booth because my mobile phone number is on his mobile and he cannot remember any telephone numbers, including our home number. So he’ll go to our usual rendez vous point and will wait what he thinks is 40 minutes, but is generally less than 10 minutes. He’ll then get a taxi home. Meanwhile, having driven around the airport at least three times, I’ve been forced to park and I’m in the airport verifying that he was on the flight and having him paged. After a fruitless 45 minutes, I’ll call home and guess who answers? Yes, that’s right my missing husband. He’s done this twice and is only too aware that the “three strikes and he’s out” ruling will be enforced.