People are always saying ‘flying isn’t what it used to be’. And too right, it isn’t. For a start it’s cheaper, more fuel-efficient and it’s certainly much safer. And the airport is a great place to sit, watch the world go by and tick off everything on this list.
1. Wheeled suitcases
The click, click, click of wheeled suitcases on the tiles, and that person whose case constantly flips onto its overladen back every time they turn a corner. See also: people with four-wheeled suitcases who proudly walk with it rolling obediently alongside them like it has just won best-in-class at Crufts.
2. Family trips
The families who are well into their third argument of the morning, parents frantically collecting their children’s’ passports before they get left on the side in Dixons. Jamie and Lily are also now proud owners of Gruffalo Trunkis, which have no discernible purpose other than being another thing to leave behind somewhere.
3. Early pints
The stag-do lads having pint after pint of Heineken in ‘The Flying Sheriff’ at 5.10am and all pretending to enjoy every last drop. Jimmy would have preferred a filter coffee, but knew Chunk would have taken the mick for the rest of the weekend.
4. Cars for grabs
The car raffle, where for only £20, you have an unusually high chance of winning a TVR that you’ll never be able to insure. Just like Mr. S. of Solihull.
5. Last call
With every muffled announcement over the tannoy, a frantic traveller is abandoning a half-eaten meal or shoving a magazine onto the wrong shelf in the London News Company in order to sprint and slide to their gate.
6. Little slicers
Those ridiculous tiny knives in the terminal’s restaurants. I sleep soundly on every flight knowing that even the most determined of terrorists have been thwarted by miniature cutlery.
7. Plane fashion
The people who dig out their oldest, greasiest pair of jogging bottoms to wear on the plane. They tie their hair up with a scrunchie from 1997 and slouch around the airport looking like they’ve just recovered from a long bout of the flu. If your normal clothes are too uncomfortable to wear on a three-hour flight to Corfu, get better clothes.
8. Do I know you?
Spotting obscure celebrities. So obscure that you think you know them yourself and say hello, in case you used to work with them. In hindsight, I definitely don’t know Kim Murray (née Sears), nor do I know that chap who played a radio executive in the Alan Partridge film.
9. Security gates
For a few brief moments you have no phone, wallet, shoes, passport or bags, and your trousers will fall down unless you hold them up. It’s at this point they make you go in a little scanner pod and hold your hands above your head.
10. Last-minute snacks
The vending machines right by the gate. Because what you really need, ten minutes before boarding an eight-hour transatlantic flight, is a large Twix and a grab bag of paprika-flavour crisps.