Plane sense won’t solve prob­lem of travel twits


If board­ing a flight makes you plain crazy, there’s good news from one air­port, which has come up with a faster way to load pas­sen­gers — by win­dow seat first.

Lon­don’s Gatwick Air­port this week an­nounced it is tri­alling new board­ing meth­ods, in­clud­ing ask­ing those in a win­dow seat to get on first. United Air­lines tried it too. They claim it could speed up load­ing times by 10 per cent.

Which is good news, but I’ve queued to get on flights all over the world, with var­i­ous meth­ods (go­ing in in blocks, those in the back first, board­ing at both ends of the plane, the free-for-all scram­ble and so on) and no mat­ter how they do it, it’s al­ways painful. Be­cause de­spite how ef­fi­cient you are and how dili­gently you fol­low in­struc­tions, you’re al­ways stuck be­hind some travel twit who mys­te­ri­ously loses all nu­mer­i­cal abil­ity on the air­bridge and creeps down the aisle search­ing for 38B be­fore ran­domly sit­ting in 56D, your seat.

Or there’s the ubiq­ui­tous berk whose spa­tial aware­ness and logic also evap­o­rates and so holds up the line as they huff and puff try­ing to ram their wheelie-bag into the over­head locker, de­spite the fact your small bag is al­ready there and be­ing crushed into the size of an en­ve­lope. They then un­suc­cess­fully at­tempt to shut the locker door over and over like Mr Bean, un­til a stew­ardess comes to the res­cue and ro­tates their car­ryon 90 de­grees and clicks the door shut. There’s even a video of this do­ing the rounds on Face­book. I once had the plea­sure of re­ceiv­ing one of these badly-stacked bags plum­met on my head mid-flight, at no ex­tra ex­pense.

So Gatwick can run all the tests they want, but what are they go­ing to do about the flight faf­fers? Even if you get the win­dowseaters on first, the nump­ties are still likely to hold up the hordes. Like the yo-yo-ers, who sit down, then im­me­di­ately stand up to get some­thing out of their bag, then re­peat the process 47 times be­fore take-off. I don’t know what hap­pens to peo­ple when they travel — nor­mally-func­tion­ing adults seem to lose their mar­bles in air­ports. They can’t find the gate, g they get lost in the lounge — ev­ery e sin­gle flight in i the world in­cludes a weary, “Last call for the Pilk­ing­ton P party on Flight AB45” an­nounce­ment. ann It al­ways a puz­zles me — just w where are the Pilk­ing­tons? What are they do­ing that they’ve dis­ap­peared be­tween cus­toms and the de­par­ture gate? Are they bulk­buy­ing duty-free? Have they fallen asleep? Are they — and this I sup­pose is the most likely — drunk in the bar?

Some­times the Pilk­ing­tons never turn up at all and you’re fur­ther de­layed while they un­load the fam­ily’s bags. It’s Pilk­ing­ton-per­plex­ing.

Fi­nally, when you’re all seated and the per­son in the row in front has re­clined their seat into your lap, you can look for­ward to do­ing it all over again when you land — this time stand­ing with your head un­com­fort­ably crooked un­der the over­head bins wait­ing for an eternity for those in the rows ahead to inch their way out.

Every­one ex­cept the Pilk­ing­tons of course, they are still in the bar, hav­ing a far bet­ter hol­i­day.

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