Sunday 31 March 2013

Flying with Ryan Air seems to entail reduced flight prices in return for people taking hand luggage the size of a cow – and not paying the cost for luggage-luggage. Hand luggage is becoming as meaningless a term as exclusive above a newspaper story.

Every time I am on a budget flight I swear that I won’t do it again; similarly flying very early or very late. But the next time I travel is always at the time equidistant between day and night to render sleep redundant and with an airline that is very affordable but very basic.

Allocating seats is something Ryan Air seems to cut costs on. I am sure the software for this isn’t expensive. Nor time consuming. The result is that queuing to get on the plane has a reason – rather than just being the usual Pavlovian response of humans waiting for something to happen at a predestined location. The justification in queuing is actually twofold: ensuring best seats/sitting together AND baggsying space in the luggage compartments for the medium sized suitcases that now pass as hand luggage. [Hypocrisy/style monitors may note that I have a conservatively sized beautiful Fred Perry backpack as my hand luggage.]

Though I don’t mind queuing and it doesn’t affect me that there is no overhead luggage space I am still against this practice. Anything that powers the smug satisfied smile of working class men of a certain age because they are WINNING at getting somewhere first should be abolished. It’s even worse coming back from wherever you go as there is a definite competitiveness between men who have forged a temporary friendship around a swimming pool/hotel bar.

One year coming back from an undisclosed location I am quite sure a man and his young family had checked out of their hotel four days early in order to be at the airport first to be first checked in. Yes, he had sacrificed over 50% of his weeklong stay but he was able to do a smile, one of those that is clearly from Workington or somewhere nondescript in Yorkshire, to Pete from the hotel as he swaggers to passport control while Pete is perhaps 30th in the queue and will take at least 19 or 24 minutes before he is at exactly the same status in the journey as our hero.

There was some great deference on the plane behind me. The male half of a married couple was like a verbal nodding dog (“yeah….yeah..”) because he was talking to someone who was both slightly older and a professional golfer. Don’t start getting ideas that this man would potentially win a Ryder Cup for Europe, he was a club professional. I am not dismissing this as a profession, it can just be a bit misleading when you put the word professional before some sports (it doesn’t work for others: professional high jumper doesn’t suggest the piles of riches bestowed upon Tiger Woods).

Without wanting to be rude the non-professional golfer, maybe even non-golfer asked the professional golfer if he knew anyone he might know. Which is quite a nice way of saying someone is a nobody. No-one, including the fat man eavesdropping in the row in front, was to be disappointed when the golfer confirmed that he classed Gary Wolstenholme as a friend.

I am pretty sure on a BA flight you get to eavesdrop on people dropping names of people you might actually have heard of.

I think it is only fair to add as a footnote that Gary Wolstenholme achieved significantly as an amateur golfer.


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