Only Little Girls Handle Baggage in Copenhagen

1 Aug

That’s right, folks, you heard it here first. Apparently, the baggage handlers at Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport are all little girls, between the ages of 7 and 11, possibly under-fed, and certainly incapable of advanced thinking. Unbelievable, I know, but you know how Scandinavians are about equality and labor laws.

OK, so I didn’t actually see the puny little girls working as baggage handlers, but I feel safe in my assumption. Really, it  is the only conclusion I can draw since other viable options,  that they are alternatively gnomes, elves, or Oompa Loompas, don’t exist in my reality. It is Copenhagen, though, so what do I know?

Before I drone on, let me state for the record, that I completely understand (and respect) baggage handling policies and weight limits. No, it is not fair for a $10/hour employee to have to load a washing machine or a 120lb moose-filled, saran-wrapped cooler onto an airplane. I always weigh my luggage before departing for the airport and if I have to pay through the nose for an overweight bag, I don’t complain, even when it was $400 for my extra+overweight bag to get to Hong Kong. No big deal. But do you know what IS a big deal? Travelling internationally, alone, with two-year-old twins WITH NO STROLLER. NO STROLLER. No EFFING stroller.

Apparently, the union policies for baggage handlers dictate that they do not accept “over-sized” strollers, only umbrella strollers at the gate. And I get that. That is why I didn’t bring my beloved monster-sized Mountain Buggy. Instead, I travel with the Jeep Wrangler Twin Umbrella Stroller.

I don’t even carry the canopy (it was completely useless and went in a dumpster long ago.) It weighs HALF of the max weight for a standard piece of luggage and two-thirds of the weight of a standard single stroller. But, because it has two seats, they consider it oversized. The gate agent even brought a a manager over and explained the situation, but she stood steadfast in her decision. The policy was based on size or number of seats. Not weight. Not dimensions. Not anything reasonable. She explained that I could take two umbrella strollers into the airport. Thanks. Let me pull those out of my back pocket. For kicks, I asked how I should push two strollers. She didn’t know. They printed out a bag tag for my stroller and I was on my own until baggage claim in Hong Kong. On my own, corralling the twins through airport security where several people blew right past us walking in line, one of whom knocked TwinXX flat on her back with a duffel bag, and another who let go of her improperly weighted roll-aboard, plastic handle smacking TwinXY in the face and landing completely on top of him. People are A-holes.

If you have read my previous posts, you are probably asking yourself why I am not just taking my own advice and just requesting a wheel chair assistant for the twins. Let me tell you. On  my way in, the Bangkok gate agent explained to me that as a security measure, CPH would not allow any strollers to be brought to the jet bridge. So, I did request a wheel chair for my arrival. When we deplaned, the wheel chair assistant flat-out refused to take us, stating that there was clearly nothing wrong with our legs. I quashed the urge to kick her repeatedly while explaining that I had a motor-nerve disorder that impedes leg and foot control. By the time we got to Passport Control, the twins were lying on the cold, tile floor pretending to sleep on their metal lunch boxes. My orders to stand up were lacking conviction, as I felt exactly the same. But, I have digressed.

Because of CPH’s new “pansy policy”, the airport offers strollers for free. But do you think they have double strollers? Nope. I realize that not everyone has twins, but is it so unusual for people to have two differently aged, but similarly smallish children? They also offer luggage carts, but again, they won’t hold two kids. I am, however, a master of improvisation.  Do you see there, middle center? THAT is the detachable shoulder strap of my diaper bag tying the two carts together. Imperfect, yet functional. (Super smartypants, I know.)

Crowds parted like the Red Sea, in awe of my mad genius and cart-driving skills (or in fear of the steam still billowing from my ears). We made it through lunch, through passport control, and all the way to the gate. I had cooled down and was relieved to have made it through what I perceived to be the toughest part of my journey, until pre-boarding – when the two couples in front of me – COUPLES – each with a single child between them – gate checked their FULL size strollers. The kind with inflatable wheels, canopies, and under-carriage baskets. Are you kidding me??? Rage resumed.

When we got to Bangkok for our connection, the other families rolled pleasantly away as I dragged my two, ridiculously exhausted, sobbing (screaming, rolling on the floor in a sleep-deprived tantrum) children off the plane, all the way through transfer passenger security, and something like 50 miles away to the connection gate. Thanks CPH.

As the flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong landed, I thought it best to discuss the upcoming trek through Passport Control and on to Baggage Claim with the kids, so they could be mentally prepared. TwinXX immediately started crying, “No, Mama. Car. Car.”

CPH should take a lesson from the REAL MEN (and probably women) working baggage at Hong Kong airport. When they saw my stroller being loaded on the tram headed for the baggage carousel, they pulled it and ran it up to the jet bridge, just in case I needed it then. It might just be one of my most grateful moments in recent history. Thank you! While the Chinese are noted for being particularly smart, they are not exactly recognized for rule bending or thinking outside of the box, and even they broke protocol in the name of customer service.

The twins didn’t even wait until I had it completely unfolded before they jumped in the seats. TwinXX looked at me like I was an idiot saying, “See, Mama. Car.” and they promptly fell asleep.

I officially hate you, CPH, with your brainless policy and baggage handling gnomes. Tell those little girls to grow up, grow a pair, and THINK.

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2 Responses to “Only Little Girls Handle Baggage in Copenhagen”

  1. Jan August 1, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    You must be exhausted. You must have a succinct word (or two) for your husband who will not stand up for you with his boss for your very obvious un controversial, non negotiable needs with 2 (two) count them, please! babies in tow. And you MUST save enough energy to write a letter to CPH with intelligent, pithy, and caustic complaint (as I know you know how to do!) explaining in detail their very very poor customer service.
    I hope you don’t have to travel again until your husband can go with you or the twins are 5 years of age at a very minimum.

    Bless your little ole mother’s heart.

  2. Diane August 31, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    And I thought I had it bad with only one child while traveling! Bless you.

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