There’s a link to a Mirror article already mourning what we’ll miss when teleportation comes in (Brits are nothing if not quick to see the nostalgia in everything) at the end of this post.
I’ll tell you what I won’t miss.
It seems to be more unpleasant every single time. Yesterday I flew back from Stansted, and was caught up in a fire alarm debacle. There we were, sitting on a plane waiting for around 50 or 60 passengers still due to load, and there they were, being evacuated from the terminal because of the fire alarm. In the stampede they were well mixed with other passengers not cleared by security to fly to Edinburgh.
Since it is an obvious truth that everyone given a sliver of a chance to fly to Edinburgh will, quite rightly, grab it, there was a lengthy wait while the powers that be debated whether it would be quicker to wait for the compromised passengers to be re-sorted, or to find and remove their luggage from the hold. After, oh, quite a while, it was announced that since the passengers were nearly ready to come aboard anyway we’d just wait for them.
Our excellent pilot then put his foot so firmly on the gas to make up time that we arrived in Edinburgh earlier than expected and had to wait on the plane for the ground crew to release us from our metal cage. That took about half an hour. He could have saved the petrol. However, my 4 hours of being caged was a mere cherry on top of the usual standard joys of flying.
Is Stansted the worst airport in Britain? It offers nothing – absolutely nothing – to do (except stand and smoke, or sit on a metal bench on the pavement and stare into space) before you go through security. Nothing. Smokers don’t even have benches but must stand in roped-off areas. And don’t get all sniffy with me and say its my fault for being a dirty smoker. You non-smokers can’t even sit down inside the terminal building. Stand, sit on the floor, or go through. Them’s the choices. Stansted is not subtle about declaring its preference for which choice you should make.
So I nicotine-loaded with the other unclean, then went through security, waited until 10 minutes before boarding time for my gate to be announced – #30 – and realized I had to catch a train to get there in the narrow window of opportunity before my ticket said the boarding gate would close.
Managed to cram into the second train and with a mighty jerk (which caused a particularly hefty passenger to lose his balance and stand heavily on my foot) we tore off to our destination.
The queue to board is always fun, every airport, but Stansted had a final refinement in store – we were then herded into a narrow, windowless, airless, passage, with locked doors at one end and an increasing press of passengers coming up behind. Does the otherwise ubiquitous Health & Safety know about this? Priority passengers get the full benefit, because they get the longest wait – after 25 minutes a few of the earliest, at the front, were sinking bonelessly to the ground as the lack of oxygen finally took its toll. The doors finally opened, we hauled the fallen back to their feet and boarded.
So even before the fire alarm it hadn’t been a bundle of fun.
I can’t wait for teleporting, me.