Monday, 8 April 2013

The joys of air travel

As I type this I'm cruising at about 30'000 feet, (which is quite high, even by my standards) somewhere over Siberia, on what feels like a flight that could only get worse if the cabin crew asked us nicely if we wouldn't mind popping our arms out the window and flapping them up and down for a while.

Suffice to say, this, as with pretty much everything else on this blog, is going to be a bit ranty. So buckle up and get comfortable, as the emergency exits are only painted on, and you're going to be here for a while.

Air travel is shit. From the moment you get to the airport, to the second you leave the next one. You arrive at security where you're asked to strip practically naked, be casually groped by someone so unappealing that you're pretty much certain that their job satisfaction comes from a less than conventional angle, and then someone waves something scary at you, and empties your bag on the floor. Thus completing an experience that I was promised wouldn't happen again once I stopped  doing PE at school.

So why? Security apparently. They don't want you taking explosive death fluids on planes. Which, on the surface seems entirely reasonable, until you notice what they do with them. 

Once your vicious looking bottle of middle class mineral water has been removed for being the threat that it is, this, supposedly highly dangerous, and/or explosive mixture is, quite literally, thrown in a massive bin full of other explosive highly dangerous things right in front of you. Don't believe me? Then you've never flown from Gatwick. They literally fling all these potential bombs into one massive container, or super bomb if you will, right next to the security check point, and expect you not to realise that they're taking the piss. Frankly at that point they might as well drop their trousers and start slapping you in the face with something floppy and ask if you'll blindly accept that too.

Right now you might be thinking that it's for the greater good. Fair enough. You're an idiot, but at least you've made it easier for the rest of us to spot you. That of course is because the actual stupidity started 24 hours earlier with the concept of the 'online check-in'. Where we're basically asked by an inanimate object to promise not to put any nasties in our luggage, on what can at best be described as history's most laughable honor system. Let's face it, humanity stopped clicking on anything other than 'I agree' the second iTunes started its ceaseless T&Cs barrage, and nobody has ever used the Internet for anything that wasn't at best a mask for something morally dubious.

So, hand luggage is a mockery, checked in luggage is laughable, body scanners are staffed by perverts, and not once when I've been quizzed about bringing on any weapons or general pointy things with me has anyone ever asked if I'm a Ninja.

How's that secure feeling working out for you?

Lets get on the plane.

You're spending 12 hours on a metal tube hurtling through the sky. 60% of the other passengers are on day release, 20% are under the age of 5, and the remainder have locked themselves into the one working toilet. Then finally you find yourself sat next to someone who's last shower was apparently administered when they were walking under a window in Victorian London (that was clever, look it up if you don't get it). Then at some point a homosexual will ask you what you'd like to eat, pay literally no attention to your answer, and present you with something that looks like it was originally prepared in the mess room on the Ark, and has just this second been reheated for your culinary pleasure. What a treat!

This is usually the point where you give up, and turn to that last bastion of hope, the in flight entertainment system. In my case being one of the 5 people on this flight for whom it works, initially left me feeling immeasurably smug. But as I said, right now I'm writing a blog on a plane, and not, obviously, enjoying a selection of Hollywood hits. That, quite simply is due to one very simple thing. I clicked on 'movies' and the first thing it deemed to present me with were the words "Twilight: Breaking Dawn. Part 1."