I am (or at least I WAS when I drafted this on my iPhone in Flight Mode……call me Mr Gadget) currently on a Ryanair flight from Prague to Birmingham.
I didn’t want to go to Birmingham but there are no direct flights between Manchester and Prague in the winter season. To be honest, I didn’t really want to go to Prague. But it was work and needs must.
Anyhow, as it is Ryanair I am broke. Sure the flight is cheap but after you’ve added up the additional charge for carrying luggage (on a flight to a foreign country – who would have thought it!?!), for checking in online (the Irish seem to employ a “logic” entirely contrary to the rest of the aviation industry), for being ein the priority queue to board the bus to the plane, for my coffee, I am well out of pocket.
Short of stewardess watching (well two of the four ain’t bad if you go snake eyed…..), the only other free entertainment on board is the Ryanair in-flight magazine. Most of it is the usually turgid review of cities in Europe I would never want to travel to, such as Glasgow, and uninteresting articles about keeping pigeons (rats with wings) or cycling in Budapest. However, I did notice an article by Sam Delaney, editor of Heat magazine (a glossy comic for women who can’t understand the long words in Grazia). It also has to be more interesting than the book the guy next to me is reading – “Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You”. Well if he doesn’t watch his bloody elbows I might make him swallow the thing, which might not be without pain.
I like Sam. He is a witty raconteur who also reviews the papers on Sky News in the morning. Apart from Lucy Verasamy, Sam is one if the few things on Sky to brighten my mornings.
The article in the Ryanair mag was entitled “Something to Declare” in which Sam reveals a strange transformation he undergoes when flying. As a frequent flyer, I can empathise with most of his weird compulsions.
He lost me a bit with the desire to use the shoe shine machines at the airport, the need to display a coloured ribbon on his luggage, and pretending to be famous when passing through the arrival gates.
I was with him on the desire to eat Toblerone, and, drink alcohol irrespective of time of day. But, the two items that I was totally with him on were 1) the desire to drink Bloody Mary – “the beverage favoured by smoothies, bon viveurs and aristocrats. It’s disgusting but it makes me feel grown up”, and, 2) abusing the honesty boxes at WH Smith when you are buying a newspaper before departure.
I think it is only fair. I have minimised the coin content of my pockets to optimise my flow through the security check. I have to have my fix of Killer Sudoko and the Times 2 Crossword or the flight is unbearable. And, I resent the WH Smith queing system.
It is worse than queing for the Corkscrew at Alton Towers (that makes me feel very old!) and full of stupid people buying the latest Richard and Judy recommendation, bottles of Evian with a hint of cranberry, and six bars of Toblerone. The queue is horrendous because people are half asleep or Scouse (it is difficult to tell the difference sometimes unless you can smell the alcohol), kids are prevailing upon their parents to succumb to the impulse purchases on display, old women cannot hear or understand the “checkout number four” command at the end if the queue (you’d have thought people who spend half their lives in the Post Office would have got it sussed), and, because WH Smiths employ people who fail the KFC entrance exam, and too few of them at that.
And things have been much worse since Smiths did away with carrier bags so that the idiots have to repack their carry on luggage once they’ve paid. Also, I have never understood why I should be required to show my bloody boarding pass just to buy a newspaper.
So, what of it if, occasionally, I am a bit short or deposit the odd foreign coin or button in the honesty box rather than joining the queue. Don’t they realise I’ve got a bloody plane to catch! I guess that makes me favourite for the full body search next time I’m catching a flight.
On a similar topic, i noticed that the exec lounge in the Marriott Hotel I stayed at has an honour bar……. are they serious? If it is on tap and there are no witnesses I am rarely honourable……