So, here I am sitting sipping my coffee at Almeria airport. I’m feeling a little apprehensive about my trip to the UK, and try to distract myself with a little people watching. We all love people watching, don’t we? And there seems to be almost a pattern of behaviour when flying so I couldn’t resist making a few observations for a blog. However, photos were a no no!!! Shame!
I’ll start in ‘departures’, where in and amongst the queuing hoards at check-in, my interest falls on a couple of seasoned ‘baby boomer’ travellers. They are cultured, adventurous, language savvy and looking at ease. Each is sporting the biggest backpack. They dress in beige and grey trousers with logoed tee shirts featuring some clever and witty slogan. Stomachs are accentuated by 40 year old bumbags (now back in fashion). Can’t make out if these people are stooped with age or the weight of their back packs. Trendy or stupid? I prefer a case with handle and wheels! Baby boomer man drops his phone and bends down to pick it up, the weight is too much and sends him sprawling into a couple of young guys in front who lift the back pack off him, so he can stand up again. There is no substitute for youth however trendy you try to look.
So, why are most people impatient and grumpy in the cafe? It’s probably been an early start, need a caffeine fix, anxious about flying etc etc. But always, there is an angry English person being rude to the Spanish serving staff. Ranting in English, not one word of Spanish. The staff just look on bewildered and their ‘crime’ was serving a latte instead of a cafe con leche. High drama indeed!
I am sat close to the exit of the Duty Free Shop and I spy a tiny, very, very thin, mahogany stained old lady, Almeria’s ‘Madge’ (character from ‘Benidorm’) . She is loaded with her bottle of gin and fags and grinning from ear to ear. Was she just pleased with herself or had the earlier gins just kicked in? Bless her!
The mobile phone eh! What would we do without it? Conversation was thin on the ground, most people were either fixated at their screen or plugged in. The nodding heads of the under 35’s or maybe now 40’s, sporting earphones or if a teenager, enormous headphones. They look like they should really be outside guiding the planes to their gates! It is funny how technology has gone into reverse, phones and earpieces are just getting bigger and bigger, keeping up with waistlines and egos. Occasionally, the phone rings……YES! I’M AT THE AIRPORT HAVING A COFFEE ….. CAN YOU HEAR ME ALRIGHT? Half the airport looks up and says ‘yes’!
Out of the corner of my eye I notice a young couple with a baby desperately trying to collapse and fold a buggy with the military precision akin to packing a parachute! They are trying not to disturb anyone by whispering to each other and goodness, how much hand luggage does a little baby need?
Then, how could I not mention the business traveller. Always appears stressed, in a hurry, last person to turn off their mobile or laptop once on the plane. They frantically call their office to make sure the world can survive their few hours of being incommunicado? No, I was never that bad!
Finally the fun part, you’ve queued at check-in, you’ve stripped and queued at security, you’ve had your €3 bottle of water confiscated, you’ve queued at the gate and you’ve queued on the ramp. At last you are one step away from the plane door. That last couple of feet are filled with anticipation and trepidation. You start to look around the bodywork of the plane, are there any cracks, signs of metal fatigue, can you smell a fuel leak and then you are in and there’s that feeling of no longer being in control! You have to rely on the pilot. You slowly make your way down the aisle passed the ‘economy plus’ who smile and stretch their legs at the ‘cattle class’ passing. Then, you’re in the main cabin looking for your seat number, watching with amusement as the struggle for the overhead lockers goes on and there it is 23C. I look down at my seat which is filled with a man tapping away on a 10cm keypad. “Are you sure you can’t sit somewhere else” he indignantly says as he is forced to gather his belongings.
He’s gone, I relax into my seat and dig out the in-flight magazine ready to try and fill the boredom of the flight. Then as I’m flicking through the pages, the intercom sparks into life…”Good morning ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately I have some bad news, due to a technical issue ……….”