The lunacy of air travel never fails to entertain. As I set off on another little jaunt yesterday, I reflected that it was airport security which drove me to twitter 18 months ago. Travelling alone with my blood pressure rising in anticipation of the security carnival, I realised I didn’t have to mutter to myself, and I could in fact vent my fury on an unknown audience of (then) two.
It was indeed a therapeutic and positive way to deal with the madness of airport security, and if I could have accessed my tweets from that trip it might have been fun to retweet it all yesterday. Fear of data roaming prevailed however, and I ended up disconnecting from the outside world a good hour earlier than I needed to to avoid incurring thousands of pounds’ worth of charges upon touchdown at Charles de Gaulle in Paris.
For a while I thought things might have improved on the X-ray front. A lady ahead of me was allowed through without having to remove her heavy fur lined jerkin. And quite a few lucky souls ran the gauntlet without having to unlace and remove thick soled trainers. But I had to remove my thin mac, and my thin-soled high heels. On the plus side no one confiscated my potentially lethal single point tweezers (lost for weeks and discovered only a few hours ago lurking in a crumb-filled seam of my bag), three sharpened 6H pencils and two threatening lipsticks I had forgotten to put in a plastic bag.
I had an excellent aisle seat on the plane in the front row emergency exit area. Before you book, it is made clear that you have to be physically fit and able-bodied to sit there. Just to make sure, the flight attendant delivered a five minute lecture to me and my neighbours about whether we truly understood the implications. It was in effect our own personalised security talk, and greatly added to my sense of relaxed comfort for the flight. We duly nodded solemnly, swore an oath in blood that we were prepared to open the door in the unlikely event of an emergency (“Just try stopping me” muttered my neighbour) and flexed our biceps as evidence. We were allowed to remain in place.
I settled down to draw on my iPad, having switched off wifi, roaming, and initiated airplane mode on all mobile devices. My very own systems check, in fact. I thought the flight attendants would be proud of me, but then a 12 year old with gelled hair dressed up in a flight attendant’s uniform appeared at my side to ask me to switch it off. I tried to explain it WAS off, but he apologetically told me it was because he needed my full attention for the next security talk. I looked around. Everyone else was reading or chatting or fiddling with seat belts or overhead lockers, and I thought he still had a way to go if he was looking for a planeload of eye contact. At 12, he probably still had a lot to learn about human nature, so I magnanimously gave way.
“Load of bollocks,” snorted my neighbour, and we all fell about laughing hysterically. Luckily we weren’t thrown off the plane for naughtiness, but it was a lovely bonding moment between strangers in the face of bureaucratic adversity.
Only 48 hours to go before the return flight.