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By Jimmy Tarbuck
There seems to be the school of thought that air travel is wonderfully cheap these days. In certain circumstances e.g. if you fly at 4am on a Tuesday and agree to sit astride a brace of Buddhist monks whilst humming the tune to the late lamented 80ís ad ĎI wish I was in Greenall Whitley landí for the duration of the flight, then yes there are some super deals to be had. However, the reason these air fares are cheap is because they are shite and you get herded around like cattle. Although thatís not strictly true, you donít get herded around at all. People are simply left to fend for themselves, the baser nature of English etiquette means that whereas Germans may well knock up a fair and equitable impromptu queuing system, maybe even fashioning up a system of winches and pulleys, us Brits seem equally incapable of this and it turns into a free for all with some people ignorantly shoving in here there and everywhere and others tutting loudly and scowling silently at the lack of compassion of their fellow humans.
If youíre flying with Crying Air or Sleazyjet or any other budget airline given a humorous moniker designed to reflect their inefficiency, then youíre going to accept that all they do is fly the plane and try and flog you duty free and scratch cards. Youíre on your own with the rest. I canít say Iíve ever sat through one of those airline reality programmes but the problem is exactly the same in the air as it is with the railways in this country. No fucker is accountable for any of it except yourself. Just as itís never Virginís fault the trainís are late, itís Railtrackís or the Station Managerís. Itís not the tour operatorís fault or the airportís fault or the baggage handlerís fault or the new security checkís fault that youíve been queuing an hour, itís your fault for not paying an additional £200 quid and joining the British Airways executive club. Iíve quickly discovered that all this arrive two hours before bollocks is a red herring, you either have two options: Either turn up three hours before, as the Germans do, safe in the knowledge that when the check in desk does open youíll breeze straight through. Or turn up thirty minutes before, plonk yourself at the end of the queue where some poor bastard (me!) has been waiting for an hour and twenty minutes and then saunter over to the checkout desk and when she says ĎAnything to declareí: confidently respond ĎYes Iím an ignorant Northern bastard with six grams of beak wedged up me arse crackí
Venturing past that stage, the boarding gate is equally a farce. Now I was travelling solo to Palma on this occasion and joined the queue, to be joined soon after by some Tarby-esque fat fella and his missus and kid. Now personally to me, a queue means exactly that, but to this horn rimmed glasses wearing cunt it simply meant wise cracking and play slapping his daughter and playing hide and seek around me. Yes he had a Blackberry and was undoubtedly a marketing manager of some description. More pertinently to me, stood there on my tod for forty minutes, I observed and considered his actions to be a concerted attempt to actually sidle past me in the queue to get on the plane as he edged from being behind me to alongside me to actually in front of me as the queue slowly moved forward. You can see exactly where this air rage bollocks comes from as I was sorely tempted to say something or give him a crack for his impudence but being a softarse I compensated and amused myself by fantasising about shagging his wife instead, even though Iíd only caught a little glimpse of her, as she, like a proper Englander was patiently queuing behind me.
Of course, the fun doesnít end there as the sit anywhere rule on the plane causes constant jostling all the way up the steps from the bus and heaven forbid should a family fail to get a seat together as they then loudly scream blue murder at the selfish oneís and twoís dotted up and down the planeís interior. Itís first come, first served I am afraid and again if you donít like it, may I direct you to a more expensive airline.
If you think John Lennon airport is bad, then of course when you arrive at your destination it gets a whole lot worse as pleasant laid back Iberian types bow and serve to the every whim of the travelling whining Englanders. There is not room on the Internet to detail everything that is wrong with Southerners and their loud and whiney manners. We seem to have successfully segregated the Germans from the English in most of the Balearic Islands, I would personally take this a stage further and employ some crude Apartheid type system to keep the Northerners and Southerners apart as we are literally a world apart right down to the way they say Euros. ĎYow-rowsí (rows as in argument) along with Maga-loof Ė itís LUF. LUF as in PUFF which is what your Southern Jessie of a husband is, although they prefer to spell that word POOF of course. Thatís just what they say, what they do equally gets on my tits. When one of them rammed their trolley into my heel on the return flight at Palma airport whilst I had a 1 year old baby in one hand and his detached shoe in the other and offered the weak apology ĎOh sorry I didnít realise you had a baby in your hands.í ĎSo what youíre saying is itís alright to launch a trolley into someoneís Achilles if they donít happen to be carrying a dribbling offspring then, my ignorant Southern shandy drinking friend?í Rude, rude bastards everywhere, whatever happened to good old fashioned manners?
I am a people watcher, I love watching people wondering what their lives are like and fascinated by the rich tapestry and complexity that unfolds in front of me at airports: All these friends and families with their lives and day to day activities, dealing with life, work, love and pressures, I want to know all about them and who they are and what they do, what traumas and relationships they have and contend with in their lives. But when I spend a day at an airport and when I see their attitudes and self-indulgences my fascination wanes as I realise that a large part of people in this country are cunts who care about nothing but themselves and my faith in humanity cracks a little. Hasta la vista as they say in Catalan.
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