When I tell people about my job, there are people who look at me with a slight touch of envy in their eyes. But honest to goodness, PR for a global company travelling between London and New York is one of those jobs that sounds a whole lot more glamorous in theory than reality – something that was thoroughly borne out by my recent trip to the Big Apple.
Some of the decidedly unglamorous things about air travel that I have had hammered home include:
- It is a terrible idea to fly from Heathrow during the summer holidays.
- Everyone flies from Heathrow during the summer holidays.
- Heathrow during the summer holidays is akin to the last days of Rome. But less organised.
- It is possible to arrive at the airport two and a half hours early, and spend an hour and a half in four different queues before even catching scent of a check-in desk.
- Don’t put your books in your suitcase thinking you’ll remember to transfer them to your hand luggage before you check in. You won’t.
- You will spend the 30 mins you have rushing like a mad thing from one end of the terminal to the other to do bits of duty-free shopping people have requested. It’s only once you’ve done several high-speed laps of the place in record time that it’ll be announced that your flight has been delayed.
- American passengers will insist on chatting during the three-hour delay, seemingly oblivious to the British rule that Strangers Don’t Talk To Each Other.
- If there’s a chap whose opinion of his manhood seems improbably overinflated to the extent he sits with his knees at 180 degrees, he’ll be seated next to you. When he gets on, he’ll delight in telling you how he’s already had four beers and plans to get drunk on the flight.
- Said chap will smell revolting for most of the flight given his propensity for cheeky fags in the plane loos, giving the cabin crew fits of apoplexy about his lax attitude towards Federal law-breaking.
- Aforementioned drunken, smelly chap will persist in his attempts to make conversation for the entirety of the flight. Nothing will deter him, be it your reading a newly-acquired novel; watching a dreadful film; or feigning sleep.
- Any film you do choose to watch will inexplicably have Japanese subtitles. Whether The Adjustment Bureau is any better without them, I don’t know, but it’s certainly deeply mediocre with.
- Despite our technological advances, medical breakthroughs and scientific leaps of unthinkable proportions, it seems that humanity is nowhere nearer identifying the substance currently masquerading as food on planes.