How To Survive Air Travel
It’s 2018. Now that travel via plane is no longer the glamour statement that it was in the 1950s, you would think/pray that grown adults are able to handle the process. We don’t have to put on our Sunday best, nor are we permitted to smoke (isn’t it insane that people were allowed to smoke on planes?).
However, despite the passage of time, it appears that problems still persist.
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This is not a phenomenon noted only by your right honourable correspondent. It’s a topic that has come up in several conversations with a variety of good folk both at home in Ireland and here in West Yorkshire. This guide should provide some help to those who continue to look entirely too befuddled at airports.
This cannot be stressed enough: if you’ve a flight to London at 8am on a Friday morning from Dublin’s Terminal 2, do try to be there at a reasonable hour. It’s likely the airport will resemble a scene from a Romero horror flick. There will be much rudeness and general anarchy. It’ll be brother against brother on the dash to make the flight, all familial allegiances forgotten in the fear that the plane will be airborne before the obligatory 6am pint in the airport bar is consumed. Avoid the Usain Bolt dash; it’s unlikely you or your hand luggage will emerge unscathed from the process.
2. Security Check
For several years now, the travelling public have not been allowed to take liquids on board unless those liquids are in tiny, surreal-looking plastic carry-on bags. This is not a scheme that was introduced last week. There should be no surprised looks on the commuter’s face when he/she is told by the weary security attendant that he/she will not be allowed carry that Volvic bottle through. Nor should the request to put a laptop through separately be treated as a personal affront.
Though these procedures are tedious and irritating, there’s very little us common folk can do to avoid them. Taking one’s phone and keys out of one’s pockets shouldn’t prove as difficult or as mind boggling as it apparently does to some people. Whilst we live in an age where being without one’s mobile is tantamount to leprosy, you will get it back once you walk through the metal detector.
With some airlines there are pre-booked seats. With others, it’s more of a cattle market situation, but Michael O’Leary’s planes will not feel any more comfortable if you’re the first one on. Whilst rigidly queuing to get on board is perfectly understandable if you’ve got small children, it doesn’t quite make as much sense for the rest of us. Let people with real needs on first. For the stag/hen parties, it really won’t make that much difference. We move onto the plane like chickens into a horrid coop. We sit there. It does not require a mad dash to the seats. It shouldn’t be as irritating as it is.
4. Airborne (at last!)
Once the huddled masses have been seated in their substandard and generally uncomfortable seats, the next stage can commence. There’s going to be a distressed child on board. There’s going to be someone who is petrified of the entire flying process. So for the duration of the flight, can we all be civil to one another? It isn’t the most genial form of transport at the best of times, but a hint of human decency wouldn’t go amiss. And, as a note to Ryanair, if they could cease and desist all irritating in-flight advertisements that would be much appreciated.
5. Landing and disembarking
When the plane finally lands, there is always a mad scramble to leave the jet. This is another bizarre feature of the entire ordeal. The doors of the plane will remain closed until the staff and ground control are ready. Standing impatiently and sighing loudly won’t help anyone. Turning on mobile phones in a frantic manner isn’t as charming as you may think it is; are you that desperate for contact that the infernal device must be switched on immediately?
The peculiar habit of applauding the captain when you land is generally best avoided. Do we congratulate the bus driver, the train driver or ourselves upon completion of a journey? We don’t recall jubilant scenes on the Dublin Nitelink when the drunken revellers get off the bus. Again, the virtue of patience and calm will ensure that you leaving the aircraft will ensure a more pleasant experience for all concerned.