Ever since rupturing my ear drum on a short-haul flight from Philly, I’ve looked for travel routes with the fewest possible transfers. That’s why we drove to Montreal for this trip. When we got the phone call and e-mail a few weeks before leaving that our flight was no longer available, we left a day later and were forced to take a transfer to keep the return flight on the same day. NosyNeighbour opted for Paris.

We thought the Lufthansa lounge in Munich was skimpy on the breakfast food. It was crowded, but relatively spacious and there were some healthy options for breakfast. There was no big German breakfast of meats, cheeses and hard boiled eggs, just buns and jams, cereal and fresh fruit salad. We helped ourselves to fruit salad, juice and coffee, then boarded our flight to Paris.

The plane was unimpressive. There wasn’t really any first class, just an extra seat between us, with a note on the head cushion saying “this is your space”. Breakfast consisted of cold cuts, cheese, a muffin, a roll, jam and a weird spongey cake.

When we landed in Paris, our flight wasn’t listed on the board and the terminal wasn’t on our boarding pass. I thought I’d remembered seeing terminal 2A on our e=tickets, so we had to stop to figure out which terminal we needed to be in. Terminal confirmed, we started to follow the signs to terminal 2. Eventually we ended up in passport control, which I knew meant having to be rescreened at security.

We finally made our way to terminal 2A. The train shuttle was fairly easy, but getting to 2A from the drop off point was a nightmare. The crowds were heavy and many people stopped, with large pieces of luggage, to find their way. We still didn’t know our gate because we hadn’t seen a flight departure screen since we landed. So I asked an Air Canada rep, who disappeared with NosyNeighbour’s boarding pass and eventually returned.

Then we had to go back through passport control and security screen. The woman who checked our boarding passes sent us to the regular line, instead of the priority line. I think it’s because we were wearing jeans and didn’t look “first class” enough. Other first class passengers were sent to the “no-line” side.

Then we got to the screening station. I like to pride myself on having everything ready. I don’t wear a belt or jewelry to speed up the process. I watched the hokey video while waiting and waiting in line. I looked at the pictograms that said place cameras and cell phones separately, have boarding pass ready.

After putting my belongings in the trays as instructed by the pictures and with my boarding pass in hand, I approach the screening belt. First woman asks me for my passport. I retrieve it from my purse and hand it, along with my boarding pass, to her. Then I ask if I can have it back. She puts it in one of the trays. She also asks me to remove my cardigan and sports watch. I had already placed my coat in a tray.

I approach the people-screening machine, and another security woman asks me for my passport (en francais). I explain that I don’t have it because I gave it to the other lady. She says, “Ce n’est pas mon probleme. Ou est votre passport?” I repeat again in English that I’ve given it to the other woman who refused to give it back to me. Like hello, I’ve gone through passport control and your signs say that it’s only the boarding pass required to get through screening.

Well, I’ve now pissed them off so when I go through security I magically beep the system. I’m wearing exactly what I wore in Munich and on the trip over. On both of those occasions I didn’t beep the machine. So it really makes you think about what these measures are actually doing. Then I notice that all the men are being asked to take off their shoes. And all the women are getting patted down by the same woman. She even reached inside my pants in full view of everyone around me.

Not fun. But I know I don’t have anything to hide. I’m steaming inside but not saying anything. I just want to find the Maple Leaf Lounge and start feeling like a first class traveler again. After walking and walking through 2A, we finally see our gate, and it’s rclose to the Maple Leaf Lounge.

We go deep into the bowels of the spaceship-like gate area. And to my horror, it is exactly like the reviews on the Internet said: small, windowless and not a great selection of food or drinks. In fact, it didn’t even have washrooms. You had to leave and be rechecked into the lounge to use the public washrooms across the way. The showers weren’t available either.

I’m so glad we didn’t pay to have access. I would have been extremely annoyed. In fact, given that I only had a glass of water, I probably would have enjoyed sitting by the gate more. At least then I could have seen if our luggage made it onto the plane.

But all is good now. I’m sitting in my cocoon bed in first class. The service with Air Canada has been good so far. My only negative comment so far is that the appetizer was duck foie, which is totally gross. I wish there had been a vegetarian option. It did come with a plate of salad, and the icecream dessert was pretty good.

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