Books & Stories

The Airport

A tongue-in-cheek look at ex-pat life in Spain

Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband visit the airport about three or four times a year, mostly when they are visiting family and friends in the UK. They fly with so-called budget airlines, which usually ends up costing them an arm and a leg with all the additional charges added on.

So they pack their suitcase (or suitcases, if they are feeling really flush) and ensure they weigh at least 1 or 2 kilo less than they should be, because airport scales never seem to be accurate do they?

They ensure their hand-luggage complies with the size and weight restrictions of the airline, contain no dangerous substances, and liquids are placed in containers under 100ml and displayed in a clear re-sealable plastic bag. Finally they are ready to leave for the airport.

Furnished with their passports and the boarding slips they have printed off themselves to save the airline money, they queue in the bag-drop line which is supposed to be quicker (not). After holding their breath whilst their luggage is weighed, they scuttle off to Security where they are stripped almost naked to go through the scanner.

Next it’s the race to the departure gate, where they stand in a queue for at least half an hour - if they are lucky. Sometimes after queuing for a while, it is announced that the boarding gate has changed, so they have to high-tail it to another part of the airport. This can prove useful if they were standing at the back of the queue because they can reach the new gate far quicker than the other passengers and be at the front.

Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband have travelled several times by air within Spain, and Spanish passengers really know how to travel. As soon as the seat belt signs are turned off, they stand around chatting as if in a bar, and when the aeroplane lands they applaud loudly showing their appreciation to El Capitan and his crew.

Once on a return trip from Palma to Alicante, Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband arrived at the departure lounge for the obligatory 40 minute queue to board. They were surprised to see a queue of hand-luggage bags lined up in front of the boarding desk and people sitting nearby relaxing before their flight.

Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband didn’t know what to do, but having been conditioned by announcements telling them never to leave their luggage unattended they stood alone at the end of the line of bags feeling foolish. As soon as the boarding desk opened, the people sitting down took their place in the queue next to their bags - now that makes sense, but we cannot see it ever happening in the UK.

Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband often think back to the good old days when they used to take holidays abroad and were greeted on the aeroplane with a newspaper and served drinks that didn’t break the bank. When the trolley was heading their way they looked forward in anticipation to what the cooked food tray might contain. They ripped off the cellophane quickly to avoid being burned and oh the joy if it was cottage pie or chicken.

Nowadays they usually pick up a Subway or a sandwich in M&S, but it’s not the same.

Going to the toilet during the flight is quite fun, shimmying sideways down the aisle to queue for the miniscule toilet-cupboard, and hoping a sudden turbulence doesn’t occur whilst using the loo!

When Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband arrive at their destination airport they wait with fingers crossed for their luggage to appear on the conveyor belt. Once, Fairy Godmother’s suitcase was taken to Dusseldorf by mistake. It was delivered to her three days later by a poe-faced delivery man whose face didn’t crack an inch when she said, ‘oh, thank goodness, I can change my knickers!’ Some people don’t have a sense of humour.


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