At Paris CDG airport, wheelchair users are taken to a central point in the vast circular concourse and deposited in a sort of glass box to wait for transfer to Terminal 2 which is some distance away by coach. One time when in transit here en route to Tunis from Cork, I was dying to go to the loo. The lady in charge of us said she would not look after my case – I would have to take it with me. As the transit wheelchair had not arrived, I decided that I just could not wait, got to my feet and pushed said luggage through the noisy and milling crowds and around the concourse very slowly till I found the Ladies!
As I pushed open the door, it seemed that the entire Japanese nation was in there all chattering and shrieking loudly and occupying every stall. By this time, not only was I very sore from walking so far, but not able to wait for them to decide who was next. So I rather rudely pushed myself and luggage to the front, smiled sweetly and told them it was an emergency and fell into the next available loo ! Very relieved, in more ways than one, I read my magazine for a short while and generally made the most of my little bit of peaceful space, not paying any attention to the airport announcements, (which were in French of course), or noticing that the Japanese hullabaloo had died away.
I emerged after what was probably 15 minutes or so to find the Japanese gone. Not only them, but when I pushed open the door to exit the Ladies, the whole huge concourse was completely empty! It was like some sort of sci-fi film where all living beings are beamed up into space, leaving just me and my suitcase. What to do ? I thought I had better return to the glass box from whence I came and was slowly pushing my multi-colour case back round the empty concourse when the French airport cops, complete with guns, arrived at speed on those Segway things!
I’m not sure who was the most surprised – them at seeing me wearily trudging along, or me being overcome at the dozens of questions in French ?I tried telling them in my best English that I had no idea what they were talking about, when one threw up his hands and went off to find a cop that spoke English. It transpired that whilst I was taking my R&R on the loo, there was a bomb alert and the airport had been evacuated and everyone sent to Terminal 2 which was where I was waiting to go to ! So I got transported to Terminal 2 in a cop car with the siren going and delightedly put down at exactly where I needed to be. Merci Bien !
Paris CDG Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1