Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The romance of travel

The first flight I can remember was an awfully long time ago. It was a DC-3 and all I can really remember is that it was a hell of an adventure and it was bloody noisy.

Many years later, my father dragged me across the Atlantic in a 747 and I remember how wondrous it all was. I got escorted to the cockpit and saw the sea of dials, knobs and levers ... it was all too much for a young lad.

Many years after that, I spent a lot of time flying between here and the middle east. And while I got used to the miracle of powered flight, each trip was either taking me to new customers with new challenges or bringing me home, tired and looking forward to seeing my family.

And of course, there were magic moments like the Aussie air hostess tossing ice cold beer to desperate passengers as the wheels left the ground in Kuwait.

But like so much else in modern life, travel has had all the joy sucked out of it. My flight here was on Aer Cunnilingus, and boy, did it suck cunt.

To be sure.

Heathrow is a vile shitpit of overpriced crap, overpriced awful food, nowhere to sit, glaring neon light, noise and most particularly, cunts. From the security neaderthals to the pushy fuckers trying to get you to buy tickets to a car you'll never win or overpriced crap from the shops to the moronic, slack-jawed, wheeled-luggage-dragging fuckpieces who always stop in the worst possible place, it seems that every person in the airport is determined to squeeze the last possible drop of pleasure from the whole experience.

Clearly, the people who arrange the seating for modern airlines are also all either fucking dwarves or leg amputees who have no fucking need for legroom when they pack you in in a fashion that sardines wouldn't put up with. And the numerous signs saying "one piece of hand luggage only" also gets ignored by every fucker, so when you do eventually get to your seat, there is nowhere to put your luggage.

The flight across the Irish Sea is apparently only long enough for them to try and sell you insanely overpriced, nasty-looking sandwiches or booze and then wheel a cart around to try and get you to buy overpriced, nasty-looking tat. This while the fucking pilot keeps on asking you to buy shit. Don't these fuckers have a plane to fly or something?

And all the fucking nagging, Jesus. Don't smoke in the toilets. Don't get up when there's turbulence. You can't do this. You can't do that. Nag, nag, fucking nag, it's like being fucking married again.

And then, of course, there's the screaming kid across the aisle while the fucking twat next to you plays cunt and bass music through shite fucking earphones that you can hear her fucking music over the screaming kid and the fucking engine noise and the fucking nagging of the pilot and the hard sell of the cock-sucking trolley dollies.

Then you get off the plane and have to wait for half an hour while some mindless thug does their level best to destroy your luggage by dropping it on the tarmac from the plane and slinging it around to see if they can get it to explode clothes all over the place.

And there's the taxi from the airport to the shitty hotel. Well, to be fair, the hotel's OK but the view sucks cock. Fucking wittering pikeys when all you want to do is calm down from the preceding horror.

Yeah, whatever happened to the romance of travel?

Is it really any surprise that people who travel on business wind up getting completely shitfaced in the bar every night?


sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

I take it you didn't go out in the penis extension earlier, then?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

No time, sadly.

Mitch said...

I`m facing 4.5hrs crammed in a seat made for a child and I`m 6"4. Knees in my back and my knees jammed in someone elses...Oh fukin joy.
At least there is beer waiting for me and a chance to socialise with our military folks.
There are people in this world that, like vampires can suck the joy out of anything.

Caratacus said...

Just back from Turkey (4.5 grinding fucking hours) and would respectfully suggest that you forgot: Julian Clary the trolley dolly flouncing his stuff up and down the aisle and desperately overdue a dry slap (three pounds for a coffee that tastes like I imagine smoked pikey bollocks would. Fuck. Off. ; swamp air being pumped round the cabin after being carefully loaded with every fucking cold and flu germ known to Porton Down (yes - I've got a snotty nose today and am halfway through my second elephant bog-roll); and then, when we finally get back (having been bounced down the runway at Bristol airport by a pilot who was clearly testing the tyres for bursting point) we had to wait OVER A FUCKING HOUR for the lazy wall-eyed bastards to decant a few dozen suitcases on to the carousel. Apart from all that, had a wonderful time. Next year, the Lake District beckons methinks.

Pogo said...

I've given up flying, it became such a long-winded ball-ache of security-theatre and, to quote our esteemed host, "general cuntishness".

All of my travel is in Europe, mainly France, Spain, Germany and Italy - so I drive. It takes a bit longer, probably costs a bit more but it's such a delight when compared with cattle-class aviation.

Also means that I can bring home 1000s of fags and quantities of decent wine, enough to keep the denizens of Chateau Pogo from ever having to contribute fag and booze duty to HMG. :-)

LesleyAlmost said...

I fly a fair amount with Aer Fungus and feel your pain. I have been in front of the ill and crying child whose eejit parents didn't think to bring Calpol or a bottle to pacify the poor wain.....

However, your lovely language made me think of the best joke I ever heard and I hope that this will perhaps take the edge of your ire, if only for a moment.

Picture the scene, a peaceful and sunny Sunday morning at a small country church. A beautiful baby girl is being christened. The vicar takes the child from the parents but just before he dips his hand into the font before baptising the child, he asks, 'Now, are you sure you want to call your daughter Connie, Mrs Lingus?'

assegai mike said...

Perfect description of modern air travel. Collectively (but leave me out) we have become paranoid about bombers and worse still, terrified of smokers. My first flight as a wee lad was on a DC4 from Salisbury, Rhodesia (SAY) to LGW. Stopped at Blantyre, Entebbe, Khartoum, Cairo and Nice en route. Marvellous. Following years saw 707s, VC10s, Caravelles, DC8s, DC9s, BAC1-11s leading eventually to, ahem, Concorde. She was just too beautiful, joyful and classy to survive this cunting modern age.

In the 80's I worked for six years at Heathrow, back then an airport to be proud of, where beer was cheap and you could check in 15 minutes before your departure, shit-faced, and spark your first tab 30 minutes later when the no-smoking light went off. A buddy of mine, somewhat pie-eyed, literally had to hammer on the door of his Qantas plane to Sydney: they opened up and let him on board! Happy daze.

Anonymous said...

1997 Air France. Sydney to Paris via the usual stopover.

After the meal, the announcement was that only 3 passengers would be allowed into the galley area to smoke at one time.

Following the bravest of the herd, we all trot to light up. Twenty of us in this quite small part of the plane. A curtain parted and in came a couple of Air France uniformed employees.

Cue intake of breath and smoke. "Oh shit" was the communial thought.

And guess what?

They lit up and offered more drinks. Happy days.

I flew to Canada four years ago. That was it. Enough. No more flying for me.

microdave said...

I flew to Australia with "Quaint Arse" in '84 & again in '88, then to Kiwi Land with Air New Zealand in '96. I made an number of internal flights as well. Apart from some pretty nasty turbulence on one flight back I enjoyed all of them.

But reading this post, and the comments above, I'm glad I don't have any particular reason to fly commercially these days.

A couple of years ago I took a pleasure flight on Air Atlantique's DC3 and it was absolutely wonderful to be floating over the countryside at 1500ft, enjoying the view and the lovely rumble of those radial engines.

Sadly no more, thanks to EU regulations...

Chalcedon said...

Did the same on Air Arran the other week. But from Luton so it wasn't as horrible as Thiefrow.

selsey.steve said...

In '96, on board an internal SAA flight from Cape Town to Jo'burg in a 727. Major thunderstorm over Jo'burg but Captain attempted to land. Got hit by a fearsome squall-line after crossing airport boundary, wings tipped almost vertical. Engines went full throttle and we climbed and levelled out.
Captain came on and said that we were going to go and have a look at the Hartbeespoort Dam while he had a much-needed cigarette! He urged the smokers on board to do the same!
So we did.