People at airports are just not normal. I don’t know what happens, but something definitely short circuits in their brains somewhere. Some how everyone forgets to act like human beings and instead become rude, ignorant, ill-mannered, inconsiderate imbeciles who are all absolutely convinced that rushing to the gate as soon as it is posted on the boards will a) make the plane leave more quickly, and b) ensure they get “a good seat.” In reality, a) it will be a miracle if the plane actually leaves on time, let alone early and b) everyone has a ticket and therefore everyone has a seat. All seats are exactly the same, except the first row, which have extra leg room, but unfortunately are already occupied by disabled passengers and their various hangers on. If you are last on, they won’t make you sit on the wing or stand in the isle for the duration of the flight.
I’m not made of money, so unfortunately I don’t have a lot of choice when it comes to airlines. My default option is always Easyjet. They are less expensive (they used to be cheap, but sadly prices are creeping up and up), and are marginally better than Ryanair, who I am sure get passengers mixed up with livestock on a regular basis and will therefore NEVER get my business.
The thing is; I know for a fact that everyone else on an Easyjet flight has also chosen to fly with them for exactly the same reason – budget, no frills, flying bus type airline who don’t charge you for carrying hand luggage. As long as your bag fits into that stupid cage thing and you can carry it, you could be transporting gold bullion for all Easyjet care. So this being the case, I am always truly amazed by the snobbishness adopted by the fools that have paid the extra £20 or whatever it is to get “Speedy Boarding.” They stand in their special queue like Lords of all they survey, looking down their noses at the peasants that didn’t opt for the special upgrade. In reality all you get is the ability to get on the plane 1st. If there are 40 people with speedy boarding, you can still be at the back of the queue, so it kind of defeats the object for me.
Anyhow, leaving Alicantelast night, the gate staff informed us that there were too many passengers with hand luggage only. There would not be enough room in the cabin for everybody’s bags and so they asked for volunteers to have their hand luggage transferred to the hold. In return for this favour, we were allowed to jump the queue – in front of the speedy boarders. Well, that was good enough for me. I was the 1st to volunteer. (See I am also slightly less humane at airports…. Perhaps it’s the aviation fuel? Who knows!)
So there I was, at the front of the queue making my way down the tunnel feeling a bit smug. I handed my bag to the ground crew and got on the plane. I’ve never been faced with an empty plane before. All that choice! Ignoring the temptation of grabbing a row at the front (behind the extra leg room seats which are already full), I made my way to my usual seat; last row on the left – window seat, and settled down to read my kindle. Of course I wasn’t actually reading. Instead I was sending out hostile vibes in the hope that nobody would sit next to me. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Despite the fact there were numerous empty seats elsewhere, two chaps came and sat next to me. I scowled heavily at my kindle and made a few huffing noises. Not that it ever makes any difference. It didn’t this time either. (More non-human behaviour! What’s going on?)
So I settled in to the flight, leaning at a strange angle so as not to disrupt the guy sitting next to me. I paid the customary €5 (yes that’s €5) for a soggy cheese and ham toasty. The chaps next to me dole out €35 on toasties, bacon roles and ……CHAMPAGNE! I know! I told you airports make people crazy. Not only is no sandwich in the world actually worth €5 but why on God’s earth would anyone in their right mind buyChampagneon an Easyjet flight? Incredulously, they finish one bottle and promptly order another. I decided that there were only a few plausible explanations for such bizarre behaviour. A) They have been overcome by aviation fuel and are no longer in charge of their faculties. B) They do not realise that you can change €s back into £s. C) They are criminals and are spending their ill-gotten gains. There can be no other reasonable explanations since “having more money than sense,” is disqualified by the virtue of the fact that this is taking place on board an Easyjet flight.
So they finish their champagne and settle down for a little nap. This turned into a deep sleep accompanied by a cacophony of snores and the use of my shoulder/upper arm as a pillow. I was not amused.
When we finally arrive at Gatwick – an hour later than scheduled due to a heavy head wind, naturally we taxi to the furthest possible gate. I was faced with a 45 minute trek to the main terminal where I remembered that I’d put my carryon in the hold and had to go to baggage reclaim. In the back of my head I was busy reassuring myself that since my bag was one of the last on, it would be one of the first off. Sadly no. It was THE very last bag off. Grrr. Cue more non amusement.
Finally I retrieved my bag and made my way to the car hire desk (the reason I am car-less is sadly another story involving my git of a brother and a write-off). When I got there, the damned desk was closed, with a small sign instructing me to take to train to the other terminal where the office was manned 24hrs. Just brilliant.
I get on the stupid train. I get off the stupid train. I followed the signs to the car hire desks which took me outside to a balmy 4˚c (!!!!) at which point the signs just stopped. Eventually I found a dingy looking taxi hut and a Rab C Nesbitt look-alike who pointed me down the 3 story ramp (lifts were out of order) and grunted something about it being at the end of the road.
Eventually, nearly an hour after the plane touched down I found the bloody car hire. I was discourteous beyond comprehension in answering “NO,” when barraged by offers of upgrades, damage waivers, and fuel policies. I was finally directed to my car – which by the way is the world smallest car, a Hyundai i10, and sank into the seat at gone 1am.
I don’t really remember the drive to my Mum’s house, suffice to say, I must have driven like a woman possessed since I made in well under an hour. I collapsed into bed, trying to ignore the fact I would have less than 4 hours sleep followed by a 3 hour drive to the office.
As I’m typing now, words are blurry and I have developed dyslexic typing fingers – a sure sign that I should wrap this up.
Though my bank balance determines that Easyjet will still be my airline of choice, I think next time I will sit serenely in the departure lounge and just wait my turn. Karma is a bitch and my smugness and lack of humanity was spat back in my face in no uncertain terms: a squished up 3 hour plane ride, last luggage, closed car hire desk and sleep deprivation. That’ll teach me.
Let the smug speedy boarders remain smug, I’m really quite happy as I am – last to board, last to get off, yet remarkably usually the 1st to leave the damned airport.