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Set the scene, it’s 4am and your alarm has just gone off. The only time you’re ever ok with such an early rise is when it’s to go on holiday. Airport outfit is already laid out, suitcases are packed aside from the last minute items to be squeezed in while hoping they don’t take the weight over the allowance, having already paid £75 for an extra 5kg.
Taxi arrives, your not quite awake yet but engage in the predictable conversation with the driver about where your going, if you’ve been before and how long you’re fortunate enough to be escaping for. Passing through the familiar streets which you won’t see for at least a week/10 days/2 weeks, wondering if anything will have changed by the time you return. Highly unlikely but a fleeting thought.
Heading in through the automatic doors and finding the check-in desk, desperately hoping there isn’t a huge queue. Impatiently waiting your turn to put your bag on the dreaded scale which you’re convinced is set to +5kg despite displaying as 0kg. The check-in operator would rather be anywhere else than here and as a result, the interaction is kept to the bare minimum. Passports are checked, tags added to bags and you’ve successfully passed the first hurdle.
Time to join the line for security checks which is one of the worst parts of the whole process. Despite the rule for 10+ years being that liquids must be 100ml or less and separated into a small clear plastic pouch, people are still unsure what is classified as a liquid. Coins and phones are kept in pockets and belts are not removed prolonging the process for every single person passing through. It’s far too early in the morning to be engaging in confrontation therefore eye rolls and huffing tends to get the message of contempt across.
Re-dressed, it’s time to pass through the duty free maze while trying to avoid the individuals who stop dead in their tracks having caught sight of what they perceive to be a bargain which in actual fact, the item can be bought cheaper from Boots. Speaking of Boots, one must pick up a meal deal regardless of how little time is available. Plane food should not be consumed under any circumstances. It smells awful and looks worse, avoid at all costs. Another essential pit stop is WH Smith for some overpriced snacks and magazines. Important to have a distraction when everyone around is gorging on the
plain plane food.
The gate pops up on the screen and of course it’s the furthest away one, it always is. Good to stretch the legs though before sitting in a confined space for the foreseeable. Despite having an allocated seat, a line forms at the gate and anticipation is in the air. People are on edge and queue jumpers are mandatory especially when they start boarding by row. Some people are unable to extract the seat number from the boarding card which beggars the question as to whether they should be leaving the country in the first place. A Mexican standoff ensues with other passengers trying to mediate. It’s not yet 7am which explains a lot.
It’s the same individuals from duty free who are late and hold up the flight. It’s a wonder they made it this far in the journey. Last and final calls are made though these are only for show as the pilot shall wait as it takes longer to identify and remove their suitcases than it would to venture to the finest airport brewery to locate them. Do they actually want to go on holiday or did they get off the bus at the wrong stop? Naturally they occupy the two vacant seats closest to you and you wonder what you’ve done to deserve such punishment. Earphones in, eyes closed, deep breaths.
Emerging on the other side with a warm gust of air hitting your face as you disembark the metal tube, all is forgotten and the holiday can finally commence…
This is a fictional story of the airport experience and is not intended to offend or upset.