Arriving At Flock To Fedora 2023 - Part I

From travelling on turbulent flights due to stormy weather to getting inconvenienced by delayed connecting flights, this is the first part of my travelogue detailing the experiences I had on my journey from Kolkata, India to Cork, Ireland for attending the Flock To Fedora 2023 conference.

Arriving At Flock To Fedora 2023 - Part I

The onward travel to the "Flock to Fedora 2023" venue in Cork, Ireland was no short of an adventure for me. It all started on 31st July 2023 at around 05:45 pm Indian Standard Time when I started by getting a ride to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU). The sky was clear when I started but it soon started getting cloudy and before I could know about it, it started raining heavily. I had my maternal cousin sharing the same ride that I was on and he wanted to get off midway to attend his computer programming classes. I was also accompanied by my maternal uncle on the same ride who wanted to see me off at the airport and then head off for his work in the Kolkata townside.

I reached out to Sumantro Mukherjee on the phone to check with him as to where he had reached so far as he would be travelling with me to the conference venue. He is also a Red Hatter and a part of the Fedora Council as of the time of writing this post. He mentioned that was close to the airport at the time when I was simply getting started from my house. He also told me about this technology that the airports recently started making use of for scanning boarding passes and running facial recognition to generate some kind of diagrammatic code, much akin to QR codes and entering the airport using that code. The phone application that people had to make use of to get entry was called Digi Yatra.

I downloaded that on the phone while I was on my way to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU). The application felt rather unwieldy at best and while I was tolerant enough to get through the hassles of verifying myself using an XML file from the UIDAI service, I could imagine how it would feel like for someone who is a lot lesser tech-savvy than I am. Soon enough, I reached the airport and checked into the flight after meeting up with Sumantro. This is where we got to know that our next connecting flight, the one that we would take from Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is now delayed by around 3 hours and 25 minutes.

From left to right - Akashdeep Dhar and Sumantro Mukherjee on the Vistara UK708 flight

This meant that for the second flight that we had to catch at around 01:30 am Indian Standard Time on 1st August 2023, we would now have to catch it somewhere around 05:00 am Indian Standard Time. That was not good news. As the first flight that would take us from Kolkata, India (CCU) to Delhi, India (DEL) was still on time, we got our items of luggage checked in and obtained three boarding passes. The first one was for the flight from Kolkata, India to Delhi, India provided by Vistara UK, the second one was for the flight from Delhi, India to London provided by British Airways, England and the third one was for the flight from London, England to Cork, Ireland provided by Aer Lingus.

A good dinner package consisting of a dish with cooked vegetables, boiled Basmati rice and chicken curry, Shrikhand flavoured with Pistachio, a bun bread and Amul butter provided on the Vistara UK708 flight

Once the gates were shown, we boarded the flight and were provided with our dinner meal. Although the flight felt a bit turbulent when we took off from Kolkata, India (CCU) due to the bad weather, the experience smoothened up as we flew close to our first layover destination in Delhi, India (DEL). Sumantro was very sleepy at that time and kept dozing off while having a movie from the Fast and Furious franchise on. I was keeping myself awake late by watching the Puss In Boots movie from the in-flight infotainment system on the Vistara UK flight. When we got off in Delhi, India (DEL), we still had around three hours to spend at the airport before boarding the next flight due to the postponement.

This article would be followed by the "Arriving At Flock To Fedora 2023 - Part II" article.