Flying’s about as luxurious as cattle transportation

Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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I flew from Manchester to Southampton last week for work and our European cousins put us to shame.

Do you remember when flying was an enjoyable, exciting, almost classy experience?

Your holiday would start at the airport, you’d be excited about trawling through duty free and you’d gaze out of the window as thousands of smiling fellow tourists jetted off to their respective destinations.

In short, you felt special.

Flying in 2013 delivers the same level of luxury and finesse as cattle transportation.

Queue, herded, queue, herded, shuffle, use the trough, back to the queue.

The shift in the financial landscape and airlines cutting their cloth to appeal to the masses has meant quantity, not quality is where they’re making their £££s.

Flying out of Manchester was an eye-opener. Regional airports are offering more and more routes, relieving the pressure on flights from London – and rightly so.

Why not use an airport on your doorstep?

Scanning the departure lounge, there were thousands of people and the most prevalent texture was flesh. Slinky tops/t-shirts, tiny shorts/skirts and flagons of cider being guzzled.

Then, in the middle of the chuntering throng, sticking out like a clown’s bulbous hooter, there was one family.

Dad was wearing a sharp suit, Mum looked chic and the kids looked stylish. I over-heard them explaining that they were going on holiday too.

Six years of GCSE French helped me ascertain that they were from the other side of the ditch.

They clearly weren’t flying first class as they were sat with the rest of us, in a maelstrom of cheesy chips and tepid lager.

But they looked proud, the occasion meant something to them.

We’re off on holiday shortly. But wearing a suit on a plane isn’t going to happen.

I was unhappy wearing a suit at my wedding. It has, however, inspired me to rekindle the magic of travelling with a little more dignity.

I might even buy some new flip-flops.