Airport Blues

God I hate airports. The romance of air travel? You must be joking. I am in my nth queue of the evening.

The train was packed with commuters. I stood most of the way and had ample opportunity to observe how almost all my seated fellow travellers were plugged into a variety of electronic devices. Only one woman was knitting. Another read a Charlene Harris novel, folding the pages over with one hand while the other explored first her chin, then the hair above her right ear, and finally the hair above her left ear. She twisted in her seat, tying her legs into contorted knots.

Once at the airport,  Gatwick, there was a rush for the shuttle to the North terminal, and then a half hour queue for bag drop. This is the first time I have not printed my boarding pass. Join the Twenty First Century, I thought and downloaded the airline’s app.

So the queue seemed a good time to open it up. You have not checked in, it told me. Check in is now closed. No staff patrolled the queue to assuage my fears. I remembered checking in, but could already imagine myself trailing meekly back to train station and home.

Fortunately the computer at bag drop showed I was right and even confirmed the row I remembered.

Security was a breeze; I didn’t even have to remove my belt, and my wrist didn’t set off the alarms.

But. The flight was delayed. Instead of leaving at 21.15, we are only boarding now. More standing in a corridor shuffling a few feet forward, inching slowly towards the plane.

I am seated now, and writing this as I queued has distracted me nicely. In a moment we shall be instructed to turn off our phones so I need to post straightaway. See you in Belfast.


16 thoughts on “Airport Blues

  1. Love the depiction of the travelling commuters. As for flying I once looked into that to fly to Dublin to meet American girl number 2, and all that self-check-in, pre-check-in, nonsense makes it to frightening to even try because it makes it look like they’re coming at you for every slip-up. So well done to you. Still never been on a plane.

    • I think that is a fairly impressive claim. Do you follow the Man in Seat 61? I may have the number wrong, but he is a big fan of train travel.

      • This has confused me a bit. I don’t think it’s that impressive never having been on a plane – indeed to get to Dublin instead of the 1 hour flight time I instead plumped for coach travel with took about twelve… or it would have if everything hadn’t have gone pear-shaped. No refunds, it transpires – but my next post, if I ever get it completed, does involve a bit where I follow a man off a bus. And the goings on, on the train, are a completely different matter… Have I been hacked?

        • Now I am the one who is confused. Why do you think you have been hacked?
          I think it is impressive as flying is so convenient but does such environmental damage. Not to have flown seems almost like a badge of honour, though as clothes you wear and food yu eat has no doubt been air freighted, your conscience cannot be totally stain free.

      • I’ve never seen it as a badge of honour; more an odd one out thing. And you say convenient, but everything I have heard (about certain airlines admittedly) about hidden charges here and there make it a worrying prospect to even try.

        And as for “hacked” I was joking as you described the blog post that I’ve been writing for weeks as a lot of it is set on public transport and I do end up following a man off the bus.

        • Convenience is a relative thing. Going to Scotland, I take the train. To NI, coordinating trains and ferries is more complicated, so I take the easy option and come by ‘plane. I prefer the train + ferry option as you have real sense of travel. Airports are pretty anonymous places.

  2. As you might remember Isobel, I do not fly. Used to fly but too many glitches and worries about it now. If I can’t drive there, I don’t go there. Hope you are in NI now as I type this and safe and sound. I will be looking forward to posts from your Cousin’s place. Don’t they have the terrier of some sort and the two kittens that have matured to cats now?

    • I do not mind so much once I am on my way, though I find long flights fairly boring, but airports are the pits!
      Yes to the dog and cats. Fido and I reb

  3. Actually I don’t mind airports – I suppose because I love going somewhere! But I did have a bad moment on your behalf when you read ‘check-in closed’. Our nearest airport out of here is a RyanAir base, and if you haven’t checked in (min 4 hours before flight) the steel shutter is down! And god help you if you haven’t printed your boarding card – they charge you 70 quid at the airport! Horrors. Happily, you were already checked in… Enjoy your stay. The dog and cats must be thrilled to see you back. Hope the sun’s shining up there, it’s a bit cool and breezy here. PS It’s clegg (horsefly) summer in Ireland this year, so watch yourself!

    • Ryanair? Aargh. I have only flown with that airline once, and swore never again. Nightmare. £70 is outrageous.
      Cool here too. For the first time in weeks I need a cardigan.
      The Big Cat was very vocal when she saw me, and we had a bit of a lovefest. Fido has also been affectionate, and Westie Boy has given me a good welcome. Marple seems underwhelmed by my presence. There is a new dog too, Pip, who has been getting to know me.

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