LESLEY KEATING: Budget airline experience was simply beyond crazy
Recently I took a flight with a budget airline.
We’d bought extra legroom seats which came with something called Speedy Boarding – their version of Premium Class.
Enthusiastically, we arrived at the start of the three-hour window to check in.
This is where it all started to unravel.
We couldn’t check in, despite our ticket clearly stating three hours in advance, so we literally had to stand around for nearly an hour.
As Speedy Boarders we then bypassed the waiting queues only to be corralled in another while the not-so-speedy-boarders eventually arrived.
Once on the plane, the joy of having a front row seat quickly dissipated when the pilot began his welcome speech.
After calling up several children for photographs in the cockpit, he introduced the crew, explained our planned route, altitude and anticipated weather on arrival even adding an unashamed plug for his mother’s bakery shop on the island!
I did wonder why he was taking so long, prevaricating, but then he delivered the punch line ‘Oh, and sorry but we are experience a slight air traffic control delay so we will be waiting for one hour on the aircraft before take-off.’
But the best bit was that he blamed the delay on…Brexit!
On the return flight, we were ushered swiftly through, daggers in the back from all the not-so-speedy boarders, but then unceremoniously dumped from the transporter and left on the actual tarmac, in the dark, with an airport official.
Crazy doesn’t describe it – planes taxiing past, fire trucks and baggage trailers trundling about, noise, flashing lights and officials shouting into walkie-talkies.
Eventually a tired, unbranded plane arrived with two somewhat dishevelled hostesses who didn’t even look at our boarding passes and were totally unhelpful.
One couldn’t read her welcome address properly, finishing her botched missive with a long sigh and the final, glorious words ‘Oh, whatever…!’
The airline came with the package we’d bought.
It was a joyless experience all round.
I can now see why friends and family have fondly dubbed it SleazyJet.
GREEDY BUFFET BEHAVIOUR LEAVES MUCH TO BE DESIRED
It’s really interesting to see how people behave at buffets.
You get the ones who queue up diligently only to get overtaken by others with no conception of order.
The ones who handle everything rather than use the tongs provided; the ones who freestyle, wandering backwards and forwards, and the families who stake out their preferred dish in advance then swoop on it like a flock of ravenous seagulls.
And don’t get me started on those who have to sniff everything first. Why the hell would someone do that?
But my personal favourites are the ones who pile everything in a haphazard mound that resembles a compost heap.
Bet they’d be the first to complain if presented with that by a waiter.
VETERAN SPITFIRE PILOT IN CRAZY DINO T-SHIRT MADE OUR DAY
We’re all guilty of making snap decisions about people, based on how they appear.
In Chichester a little while ago a very old man shuffled into the café we were having lunch in, wearing crazy red shorts, a dinosaur T-shirt and
We both raised eyebrows as he chose a seat next to us yet somehow we ended up chatting and he virtually poured out his whole life story to us.
A former Spitfire pilot he’d lost his wife after 60 years of marriage. His children, who lived abroad, didn’t have much time for him.
He was clearly lonely, but during the conversation we both really enjoyed hearing his wartime recollections.
I can honestly say he made our day.
I hope the fact we listened made his!