Will Milner is sick of efficiency and comfort of 21st century airports
I need somebody to vomit on me. And quick. I don’t care if it’s the two-year old baby (my own) licking chocolate mousse (not my own) from the armrest on my left, or the sleepy businessman on my right. Perhaps my saviour will be the old gent sitting behind me, or the studenty type wearing carpet slippers directly in front. Without their intervention, this could be an entirely incident-free flight. And that means trouble for me. Because I have a deadline.
This week’s Last Word is brought to you from about 30,000ft in the air somewhere over mainland Europe.
I’m scribbling this on my notepad between eating an in-flight meal and touching down for a two-week holiday in England.
I should be relaxing. I should be picking out some duty free while watching my second movie of the flight. But instead I’m anxious that the journey will pass without incident of note. And you don’t want to read that.
‘Don’t worry, team – leave this to me,’ I told my colleagues before stepping out of the office. ‘I’ll be flying tomorrow night and am sure to face delays, lost luggage, crazy queues and unidentifiable foods. Knocking together a piece for the magazine will give me something to do when I’m suddenly stranded in Strasbourg.’ But I’d forgotten how easy international travel is these days. The stereotypes – bags sent to the wrong country and meals with no distinct flavours – are outdated. Flying between continents is now easier than finding a parked car at The Dubai Mall.
My airline allowed me to check in online before leaving home. The boarding pass was sent direct to my phone by SMS. My eGate card meant I could bypass the lines at passport control – not to mention letting me imagine I was a spaceman as I scanned my fingerprint with a laser.
If you don’t already have an eGate card, I recommend that you sign up for one today. It’s an invention that I rank alongside the wheel, combustion engine and waffles as man’s greatest achievements. The free buggies for wheeling children around the giant terminal wouldn’t be far behind. Shopping and dining facilities within the airport are better than anything in any town I lived in until I was 18. It is, in short, a pleasure to visit the airport these days.
My country camping holiday, with its unpredictable weather, is already starting to look like a mistake. Next year I don’t think I’ll bother leaving the airport. Everything I could possibly need is already under one roof. I don’t think the editor will ask me to write about that. Will Milner is our digital editorial director. He always forgets to claim air miles, but he was allowed to take an extra-soft blanket from the plane.