A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

FLIGHT PLAN




Having just gone through a rather entertaining mock battle with some friends on a social networking site yesterday evening. Where I had ended up threatening to fly out, there and then, to settle a few old scores. The subject of passenger flight came firmly into mind. In particular, the type of flights involved in package tours. And that not so pleasant feeling of being herded and abused was fully revisited....

So here I am, I’ve just returned from a totally undeserved week’s holiday. Yes, I did have a nice time – thanks for asking. And that’s despite having to endure the torturous process known as international air travel.

Now I’m no expert, but I believe there are quite stringent regulations in place throughout the EC for the transportation of livestock. The animals have to be treated humanely for example, and there are rules about the amount of space each animal is allocated. I think it would now be a nice idea if these rules and regulations were extended to the transportation of human beings too…

Because on airline trips to European destinations, there are clearly no such rules.

The journey back was horrible, but far from untypical. If I was being processed for admission to a high security prison, I don’t think the experience could have been any more uncomfortable or depressing. There was a one hour delay for a start…no reason given, just a delay. And so I stood there, like an idiot, staring at the check in board, trying to second guess where the flight might be checking in.

I’m sure you’ve played this game. You’re tired and irritable and you’ve got half a ton of luggage you’re desperate to get rid of. Your check-in desk hasn’t been announced yet, and you REALLY want to know where it’s going to be. Guess right, and you’re in position to get to the front of the queue. Get it wrong, and you’ll be at the back and facing another 45 minute stand, playing kick-the-case.

I didn’t guess right or wrong, because the bastards didn’t announce the bloody thing at all. Instead they allowed a crowd of pensioners on a SAGA holiday (and who very clearly had inside information) to check in first. Now I don’t wish to be unkind, but this sort of thing doesn’t make for swift progress. By the time they did announce the desk, the queue was back out of the doors and there were people in front of me who I swear were still in bed when I arrived at the airport.

One queue followed another…and then another…as I shuffled along as if in a chain gang. I was asked to remove clothing, jewellery, to empty my pockets…even take off my shoes. I half expected someone to hand me a pick at the end, and order me to start breaking rocks.
But they didn’t…

Instead, they directed me on to a bus (no seats – obviously) where I stood for fifteen minutes until the driver came back from his lunch break, and then drove us the 100 yards to the plane steps. You can’t walk you see…that might be a welcome break, and their goal is to break your spirit.

Anyway, I was confident of getting a seat at this point, but no such luck. You see, back at the check in area, I’d noticed a woman (well you couldn’t fail to notice her really) who’s arse was clearly too wide to fit in an airline seat. I’d noticed this, and so had many other passengers. But nobody from the airline had. I remember we discussed it at the time…was she travelling in the cargo hold, or had she booked two seats – one for each cheek?

The answer was neither, which is why I found myself stranded half way up the aircraft steps in a gale, while (and sadly this was out of view, and I only heard about it second hand) sweating and straining cabin crew battled to shoehorn the woman into her seat. As I passed where she was sitting (or should that read berthed?) I could hear her complaining that people had been rude about her size.

Not as rude as I’d have been if I’d been given a seat next to her, I can tell you!

Why is it that you can get on to a plane carrying 100 kgs of excess blubber and it doesn’t cost you anything (other than a little personal dignity) but you get penalised if you take so much as a toothbrush over your baggage limit? It would be much fairer if you had to get weighed with your luggage, wouldn’t it? It doesn’t really matter whether the weight is in your bags or in your beer belly.

When I eventually got to my seat, it didn’t take me long to notice that all was not well. While the cabin crew had done their best to clear it up, it was hard to escape the conclusion that someone had thrown up on the outward journey. As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s an aroma that doesn’t improve with age. I’m not a big fan of aircraft food at the best of times – and this wasn’t the best of times. My tray stayed firmly in the upright position.

I got off at the other end…as I always do at such times…vowing never to travel again. And of course I won’t - until the next time.

The purpose of this rant is therefore threefold:

To allow me to vent my spleen
To allow you to delight in my misfortune. I think the Germans call it Schadenfreude.
To serve as a permanent reminder for me, and an impetus to up my game and make enough money to hire a private jet next time.

And on that last point, any contributions will be gratefully received. Thank-you.




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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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