Many of us today live away from home, so the experience of Seeing Off Parents is common. For me it’s always sad and amusing & here is my latest story.
In my case, seeing off parents means departure starts 48 hours before take off. Sorting the luggage, last minute shopping & the all important – I hope I don’t have to pay for excess baggage! I discovered hotels weigh our luggage. The kind folks at Royal Plaza, where my father was staying with my sister & her son, said it was 125kg, just 5kg above the limit. Ma still worried as earlier she had experienced an estimate that was way off when they checked in later. Fortunately, it was 125kg at check-in!
Then was the critical decision, when we do leave for a 5.10PM flight? For most of us used to Changi’s legendary efficiency and the short commute in Singapore, leaving 1.5 hours earlier (or 2 hours when travelling with kids) is enough. But my parents like to leave much in advance, so 3 hours was it.
The luggage was sorted into suitcases for check in, small strollers as hand-luggage, and what goes on ones person (medicines, passports, tablets and books).
After last minute shopping carefully hidden from my father, by saying “we are going down to have Kopi (the superb, condensed milk laden local coffee), we had a hurried home cooked meal brought over from my flat nearby.
For arrival in Delhi, arrangements had been made with our trusted Khan-ji picking everyone up.
At 1.30 we went down to check-out & the minivan arrived promptly at 2PM. When booking this we 1st said 10 pieces, assumed to be 10 large suitcases & would need 2 minivans. But actually we had 4 suitcases & 6 small strollers, which fit into one van. We reached Changi airport in about 25 minutes.
At the Airport
At check-in, nowadays one is steered towards the DIY kiosks, but as I was Seeing Off Parents with lots of luggage, the ground staff steered us to the counter. Changi airport has many of these kiosks, but I will leave that for another blog.
As I wondered why the check-in staff went across to another counter & had one of our passports open and looking at us, I went across to check. Though we had paid for extra legroom seats, as these are in the emergency exit rows & my parents are senior citizens, fortunately they were re-assigning the seats. These were on the upper deck (it was an A380). I was wondering whether the walk up the ramp to the upper deck would be a strain, but decided not to worry them about it…it all went fine thankfully.
For immigrations, especially for parents who may visit us for longer periods, its important to check the period they were admitted for, and get permission for longer stays.
In preparation for the duty free refund, all items had been put into one carry-one luggage.
For security, bottles of water were discarded & the laptop placed in the known bag. Security check requirements vary widely, eg fitting all liquids/aerosols/gels into the standard size plastic bag, taking off ones belt, shoes etc. The one thing that often results in a beep for me and my family is the Sikh “Kada” that we wear. However, that’s quite common now so doesn’t create hassles if one cannot take it off.
My story ends with the last wave to my family as they stood in the immigration queue. The best part of seeing off parents from Singapore is that we see them again in a few days when we visit Delhi during the kids school holidays, easy to do given the short flight!