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Pink jogging suits and overweight bags

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Sussex » Gatwick Airport - 24 June 2011 - On the way to Canada

sunny 17 °C

Aren’t airports strange places? They’re unlike anything in the real world. People hurrying to get in a queue of a hundred others who hurried there before them. People in clothes they’d never dream of wearing in public anywhere else - the vivid-pink jogging suit with matching trainers, the bright yellow-and-red-check cap with the oversized peak, the Rupert-like golf trousers with sandals. People of all shapes, sizes and colours, speaking languages you’ve never heard before.

Pints of beer from the bar at eight o’clock in the morning.

Fast-food, slow service, ‘have a nice day’.

Harrods, Accessorize, Boots (et al) in an up-market high-street with prices to match.

Like casinos in Las Vegas, there’s only artificial light, so it could be daytime, it could be night. Who knows? Who cares? It’s an airport.

The signs all proclaim that you’re only allowed one piece of hand luggage, of this size, of this weight. Disobey the rules at your peril.

So, there you are with your 5kg, 43x28x23cm bag over your shoulder, standing in line to board the aircraft next to a guy towing a container lorry that he plans to put in the overhead locker. And, somehow, no-one seems to notice (unless, perhaps, you’re unlucky enough to be flying with eagle-eyed Ryanair, who’ll charge you a month’s wages for each excess gram). Fortunately, we’re travelling Premium with Thomas Cook – and, anyway, I distracted them long enough for my wife to sneak through with a cabin bag over one arm and a handbag under the other!

While I’m in observation mode, a word about that little piece of ID without which you couldn’t escape the rain at home – your passport. Does anyone know why it’s checked ad nauseum - at check-in, again at the entrance to Departures, again at the security machines, again in the line waiting to board the flight, and yet again when they tear off the bit from your boarding card? Unless you’re very ill, you bear absolutely no resemblance to your passport photograph, so are they just checking that you didn’t change your name between the time you checked-in and the time you boarded and, if so, why do they insist on doing it every time you move?

I’ve seen a lot of airports in my time. One, in the Congo, consisted of a man in a grubby uniform sitting on a rickety chair under a tree, with an oil drum for a desk. Okay, that was 40 years ago but, at least, he stamped my passport – they don’t even do that these days!

Grumpy of Welwyn Garden City

Posted by Keep Smiling 10:11 Archived in Canada Tagged canada gatwick Comments (1)

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