As a British expat in Spain, I’m no stranger to flying. As cunty as it sounds, “I travel”.
But this has only led me to notice various strange things which seem to happen every time I fly, and I’m sure you have too. These things include:
• The Battle Royale-esque scenes that take place prior to boarding
• The smug attitudes of Speedy Boarders
• The surprisingly high probability that I will get sat next to a nutter
The date: 23rd December 2013
The time: 11:05am
The scene of the hate: Alicante airport
Morale was high in Alicante that day and there was a definite festive spring in everyone’s step; excited travellers were getting ready to see loved ones and wrinkled, maroon pensioners were heading home t’North to go and squabble with family members over a dry turkey dinner.
Things took a turn for the worst when I arrived at the gate. I seemed to have stumbled upon a power struggle. Right there, beneath the yellow and black screen emblazoned with “East Midlands”, were two old women jostling to be first in line. Leathery-skinned expats with the appearance of Big Mo from Eastenders looked on, appalled, offering advice and the occasional disapproving tut. A Ryanair stewardess had just hurried over to see what was causing the ruckus when a Spanish accent on the tannoy informed us that the gate for the flight to “Ist Meedlands” had been changed. Well, that was it. Mass hysteria. The whole line of people SPRINTED to the opposite end of the airport towards the new gate. I’d like to say that they took all their belongings – and children- with them but I’m sure someone left a crying 2 year old over at gate A23. God forbid they lost their place in the line. If they were lucky, and quick, they could overtake a couple of pensioners while they were at it. It was like feeding time at the zoo. Bedlam.
After the weak and the young had been done away with and one of the Mo’s had been dubbed Queen of the Queue, two smartly dressed, smug faced business men walked calmly to the front of the line, which was, by now, stretching far past Starbucks and the gents’ toilets. You know the sort of person I’m talking about, looking around belittlingly, eyebrows raised and possibly tip-tapping on their BlackBerrys while us mere mortals were deeply absorbed in the airport struggle. Priority Check-In Bastards.
Now, normally, this means that the PCB’s get to walk onto the plane first, choosing their extra-legroom seats and boasting about it as if they’re flying business class on American Airlines, but today was special.
Today was special because the two men in the Speedy Boarding line merely got to board the bus first which would then take us all to the plane. All of us. Together. Us, mixing with them! The PCB’s had their own cordoned off area at one end of the shuttle while the rest of us were sardined into the other 2 thirds, glaring at them with contempt. “Ooh look at me, I can swing a cat round in my end of the bus!” Pricks. When we arrived at the plane, only their side of the bus was opened and the normal passengers were left gawping at them while they boarded the plane. Only when they were safely inside were we allowed to get out of the bus. One old bearded Speedy Boarder even turned round and gave us all a little grin from the plane doorway.
Was it worth the extra fiver though you arrogant git? I think not!
So that brings me to part 2. Of all the planes I’ve been on to-ing and fro-ing to Spain, there has only ever been a small handful in which I’ve a) managed to sit alone or b) got sat next to a relatively normal individual.
Exhibit A:One woman who I dubbed “a shitbeast” was on the return Alicante flight with me this Christmas. She and her husband decided that it was very important that everyone on the plane knew that she lived in Alicante. Ooooh, get you! By the end of the journey I’d found out, among other things, that Tina was working that night in a bar in the city centre, that they needed to remember where they’d parked the Volvo and that they MUST call Pablo about arranging that dinner date in Benidorm. Oh bore off you conceited cow. The little glances around the plane to see who was listening to her really were the cherry on top.
Exhibit B: In one particularly memorable flight from Barcelona I was lucky enough to sit next to an alcoholic Catalan transvestite with shit breath. You know when people get really stale breath that literally stinks of shit? Well, that. I don’t know what was worse, the breath, the bo, or the fact that she was downing cans of Stella throughout the whole flight.
If you ever get sat next to me on a plane, I will be listening, I will be hating and I will judging, especially if you’re a PCB or like Leathery skinned Queen Mo.
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