With the summer now allegedly here, I thought this week would be a pertinent time to write about the fun, frolics and fears of a cavity search that always happen when at the airport or on the plane as I head abroad on my holidays. So here we go:
1. I find passport control unnerving for no apparent reason.
Standing behind the yellow line waiting to approach the passport control officer cannot help but make me nervous. I have this habit of building myself up into a frenzy, worried that when they ask “do you have anything to declare?” I’ll suddenly feel overwhelmingly compelled to shout “Yes I do! I FRICKIN LOVE TERRORISM. WHOOP WHOOP” or some other random nonsense that will get me locked up. I don’t know what it is that makes me so on edge. I mean even the other week when I landed back in London from Dubrovnik in Croatia and the woman asked “So where have you travelled from today sir?” I stumbled over my words for about five-seconds and nearly just went “I don’t know” simply because I went into panic mode as soon as they spoke to me. Luckily I managed to stutter ‘Du Du Dubro…’” before strangely interrupting myself and saying "Croatia" far too loudly for a man with nothing to hide and for some reason they let me through without having to be interviewed by Mi5.
2. My girlfriends suitcase weighs more than I do.
Now as a man I know that if I see on the booking confirmation that I am allowed 20 kilo’s of weight in my luggage, I will likely have anything between 5 and 10 kilo’s left to play with when I tip it on the scales at the airport. This is because I, like most men, only pack what I am 99% sure I will wear over the week or two I’m away and try to keep things as light as possible to make the traveling around easier. My girlfriend Nai however, like most girls I’d imagine, is completely the opposite and in fact I think half the time she’s see the 20 kilo limit as a great starting point rather than a maximum. Still it always makes the weigh in a tad more interesting.
3. Passport disgust will occur.
At some point everyone will be reminded just how bad they look in their passport photo. Now in my one I kind of look like a cross between a sexual predator and the unfortunate victim of a house fire (I know what you're thinking, “FIT” right?). In mine my facial features seem to have all but disappeared and all that I have been left with are a pair of dead looking eyes and an expression that wouldn’t look out of place under the headline ‘Wanted: Sex trafficker on the loose’.
Seriously though, what is it about a photo booth that destroys even the most attractive of faces (and I don’t include myself in that ‘most attractive of faces’ comment FYI). I guess it’s the not being allowed to smile and the fact you have to use a white background that fucks things up. This is even worse when you’re as pasty as someone like myself as you kind of just blend into the background and you end up with a passport that for the next ten years has a picture in it that makes you look like a slowly melting snowman.
4. Passing through the security gates makes me feel like a drug smuggler.
There are several thoughts that go through my head as I approach airport security. The first is ‘Oh god I’m going to prison, someone has definitely snuck some drugs in my bag or up my rectum whilst I wasn’t looking’. The second is ‘If someone has snuck drugs into my rectum without me noticing it at all, then I probably have bigger things to be worrying about than airport security’. The main thing I think about however is 'how the hell drug smugglers actually get through security without being caught?' I’m not talking about the security being so tight it’s impossible to get past. No, I’m thinking more that if I knew I had drugs strapped to my waist, in my bag or God forbid, stuck up my bottom, I would give the game away instantly as I approached the gates, simply by sweating more than any human ever should, crying uncontrollably for my mum and then fainting into the arms of a security guard as I went through the metal detector. Clearly Pablo Escobar I am not.
5. Flying with low cost airlines causes undue stress.
Now this is not only because they try to charge you for absolutely everything, whether it be the twenty or so quid for you being crazy enough to take luggage with you on a holiday or a tenner for wanting to have a seat next to your children rather than them sitting next to someone who looks like my passport photo. No, it’s also stressful because if you don’t pay the silly charge for sitting next to your mates, partner etc you are left battling it out with about 150 people to get to the gate first. Now to me I am not overly fussed where I sit on a two or three hour flight as long as I don’t end up next to someone who’s morbidly obese and wants to use my seat for one of their legs or alongside a Muslim fundamentalist who wants to use my plane as his ticket to martyrdom. However for others it seems like the most important thing in the world. They’ll sprint past you as soon as they hear the gates have opened or even worse, if they don’t get past you, they’ll stand so close behind you in the queue that by the time you get on board you’re practically lovers.
6. Someone will have brought a kid on the plane that’s too young to be flying.
This is a massive bug bear of mine. So you’ve decided to have a child but 6 months later you want to go on holiday. Okay, that’s fair enough, but take them to bloody Devon or something, don’t stick them in a pressurised cabin thousands of feet up in the air and then just shhhhhh at them for several hours whilst they scream their poor little heads off as their brain feels like it’s about to implode and they’ve just pooped themselves for the third time. A child of that age is never going to remember the holiday anyway so worst comes to worst just leave them with a relative or put them in a kennel for a few weeks or something. You can just tell them when they're older that when they were a baby they went on an amazing holiday to New Zealand or wherever and had the time of their lives. Easy.
7. I question how the hell a plane actually flies.
Personally I am not too concerned about take off and landing, however it still doesn’t stop the thought entering my mind every time I fly that I cannot fathom for the life of me how these things get up in the air? They are carrying the weight of over 100 people, loads of seats, food and even my girlfriend Nai’s luggage, so the fact that they can even leave the tarmac is beyond me. I know it’s all down to the physics, but I struggle to lift Nai’s bag on to the scales without giving myself a hernia so the fact a plane can carry that and everything else is quite frankly astonishing.
8. Nobody really listens to safety instructions.
So when the air steward gets their moment in the spotlight, which they always quite clearly hate, you are all asked to pay attention whilst they over optimistically run through the multiple ways they are going to try and save your arse when the metal box you’re sitting in plummets 30,000 feet into the ground at about 300MPH. Naturally however, as most people are of sane mind, we are somewhat skeptical of their survival tips so very few pay attention to what’s going on. Yeah It’s good they’re trying to help but it’s quite clear that no amount of bracing or inflating of life jackets is going to help you when the planes breaking up in mid air and your heads just been knocked off by a dislodged chicken teriyaki.
9. You will get overexcited when you see your luggage on the baggage reclaim carousel
There are a number of reasons why I think this happens; Firstly it means you know some dingbat hasn’t put your bag on the wrong plane. Secondly it means the police haven’t seen it as suspicious, so you won’t be called in to a small room and asked if, ‘you packed the bags yourself’ before some dude gives you a rectal examination even Keith Harris’ beloved Orville wouldn’t put up with. He may wish he could fly, but I’m pretty sure you’d wish you hadn’t after that one.
10. I will eat dinner at least twice within about 3 hours.
To me part of the holiday experience is getting to the airport a few hours before a flight, checking my bags in, and then going off to a bar or restaurant for a few beers and some food. The problem with this is that within about an hour of getting on the plane I will then be offered my second lunch or dinner of the day, followed by various snacks and whatever else they fancy dishing out that I cannot possibly resist simply because it’s free.
“What was that? Would I like a muffin? Well, lovely of you to ask. I mean I’ve only eaten a hamburger and chips in the airport, a pack of cherry drops as we took off, sausage and mash with a bread roll an hour into the flight followed by some cheese, crackers and a strawberry yoghurt, so why the hell not aye?! Yeah I’m currently struggling to breathe and my seatbelt is now so tight I’m wearing it more like a sports bra but if you’re paying then I’m most certainly eating, cheers!”.
So there you have it, my top 10 ollibobs observations!