I love going to the airport. I love flying on a plane. I’m not sure why – but it’s a great way to observe how some people live, and the weird stuff that goes down. Especially on American air carriers. To whit, on my recent transAtlantic flight:
- the foolish foolish couple, who proposed to each other halfway through an eight-hour flight. Thankfully, she said Yes – but can you imagine if she’d declined? Stuck sitting next to someone who’d rejected your overtures of love for the next four hours, inside a hollow tube and unable to get out. Very French.
It’s not even particularly romantic. In the first-class cabin of a Concorde jet, that’s one thing. But in cattle class amongst the hoi polloi and a family of seven chavtastic Brits going to Florida?
Having said that, you do get free champagne out of it. I need to find a female partner in crime, get a diamond ring, and swindle restaurants across the world out of free champagne. It worked once.
- The SkyMall catalogue which seems to be endemic to all American aeroplanes is a hilarious hoot. All these utterly useless frivolous items on sale – like stairs for your pet so your obnoxious little cat/dog can climb up onto the sofa. Ion purifiers. Tranquil sound machines. No wonder the end of Western civilisation is nigh. Mind you, I imagine half the reason I want to live in the United States is so that I can purchase and use these projects, and live the quasi-Ikea lifestyle.
- the warning from the cabin crew not to congregate near toilets, as per anti-terrorist regulations. I couldn’t believe it when this policy was announced a year or so ago, so to see them doing it was just insane. Fortunately, it was never actually policed as far as I could tell.
- I got finger-printed and photo-ID’d when I arrived at US immigration. To be fair, the process was painless, quick and easy (hurrah for digital technology) but it still felt a little degrading. Plus, of course, the computer told the immigration agent exactly how long I’d spent in the US the last time.
- There was one elderly woman who’d booked two seats so she could have a seat all to herself. This strikes me as a tad expensive – wouldn’t it be cheaper to book a first-class seat?