TRAVELLING: Sure, the trip might be good, but it’s the airport that’ll break ya.
Recently, I went on holiday to Stockholm, in Sweden for the first time. It was an awesome time – I’d always wanted to go, and the city was incredibly vibrant and welcoming.
If expensive. I mean, I was left puzzled at one of the ‘moderately priced’ restaurants I attended when looking at the dessert menu, one of the whiskies was priced cheaper than one of the hot teas. But hey, it was a Japanese restaurant so I thought maybe it was just because they’d imported a fancy Japanese tea.
It’s when I got the bill that I realised that whisky wasn’t priced in Stockholm like it is in the UK. That price on the menu was per centilitre.
For reference, a single measure in Stockholm is 4cl. My whisky came out at FOUR TIMES the price on the menu.
Whilst it was delicious, that restaurant was one of the last things I did in Stockholm. At least, the last thing I paid for. As much as I loved the city, it reached a point where I’d just gotten tired of spending money just for the hell of it. I eventually reasoned with myself for not going to a museum by thinking “If you’re gonna charge me 15 quid to see your culture, you surely can’t be that proud of it anyway.”
It was on the journey home, however, when I was working my way through Stockholm airport that I was hit with a depressing realisation about travelling.
It was that: the absolute mental torture and anguish you put yourself through when flying can often be so severe that it nearly outbalances any ‘mental good’ you got from the trip in the first place. And that’s before you’ve even left the airport.
I don’t know what it is about airports that makes people forget how to be human. Beyond shouting at poor desk clerks and not understanding what 100ml is, I noticed there’s something about airport security that just makes people blisteringly stupid.
For about 15–20 minutes I, along with the hordes of everyone else flying from Stockholm that day, were waiting in line to get to the airport’s security comb. During the entire time you’re waiting in those lines, you pass multiple signs and screens which remind you in nearly every major language to make sure you’re ready for security so it’s a smooth process. Stuff like: take out your liquids, make sure your laptop’s separate if you’re carrying one, make sure you’ve emptied your pockets, etc etc. Things nearly every traveller, nay anyone who’s ever even been to an airport, should know.
Yet remarkably, it’s like as soon as you enter those queues, peoples’ common sense flies out the window. Maybe those full body scanners are affecting us after all.
And it’s just your luck that as soon as it’s your turn to hurl your belongings on those conveyor belts, you’re always inevitably stuck behind that one dickhead who’s forgotten entirely about what they need to do. Or they try to argue with the security people about it. “Oh, I can’t have all this loose change in my pockets? “Oh, you need me to take my belt off? “Oh, you mean I can’t wear these 20-hole boots through security?”
No, you can’t. You just passed approximately three hundred signs telling you as much. And don’t argue with people about it – get your boots off and shut the hell up so we can all get out of here and so I can get some gin.
These airport monsters must be stopped. If you’re that incompetent that you can’t follow simple instructions, maybe you shouldn’t be trusted to fly in a passenger jet at all. They’d probably pull the plane’s emergency slide out thinking it was the free alternative to Priority Boarding. It also reminds me of those awkward moments when, despite the plane landing and the seat belt sign is just about to be switched off, those few seconds are still too precious to people so they’ll flaunt the rules and start getting up to grab all their shit. Just wait, bro.
The entire airport experience was so draining and frustrating, that I’ve found myself becoming more and more tempted by holidays where the travel IS the holiday. You know, stuff like pricey cruise ships or sleeper trains. And that’s worrying, because if I’m getting attracted to stuff like that now, I might as well withdraw my pension and start choosing my nursing home right now.
I can’t wait for the day people stop getting so hysterical about airports. Until then, I hope you’ll join me in following my 5-Step Manifesto for Faster Flying™: