Just about every childhood holiday began with the short drive to Manchester’s Ringway Airport.

I made the same drive again in the early hours today, having made the late decision to check into a nearby hotel overnight. Deafness in the right ear assisted as a function downstairs belted out 80s songs beneath my room. I rolled onto my left side, blocking the left ear and complete silence enveloped my world until 4am.

This time the morning drive ended as I parked at the airport. Different to those childhood memories of joining the M56 and commencing an arduous seven hour journey to Devon. “Are we nearly there yet Dad?”

Slow progress through security was made even slower when my neatly packed bag, together with scissors and organic powder, was selected for a strip search. The scissors were okayed and five minutes later so were the sugars pinched from the hotel. Lounge time.

The T1 Aspire Lounge again providing early morning peace, comfort and coffee with bacon sandwich courtesy of American Express, £450 and Priority Card. A visit to the gents was less comfortable as the sole cubicle was taken so I played the disabled card, feeling slightly guilty but need outstripped the guilt. Shut the door, engage the lock and sit down. A minute later the door opened – a Jewish chap stood there shocked and apologetic before retreating. Glad it wasn’t his wife! Some idiot had failed to lock the door effectively!

At this point I realise that I’ve managed to lose my printed boarding pass. Panic! It’s also available online so I’m okay but what if somebody finds it, uses it and blows up the plane? An unlikely scenario avoided when I checked with the lounge dragon (receptionist who guards her territory accordingly) who had somehow got hold of the scrap of A4.

I make my way to the gate to discover a long snaking queue and absolutely no seating. Well played airport! I’ve seen limited seating at a gate before but this is some achievement. As I get to the front half a dozen “speedy boarding” customers appear and queue jump. The Easyjet staff scan them through, cram them into a claustrophobic holding area and shut the door behind them. They’re going nowhere. I smirk as the rest of us are left waiting, but at least with air around our faces!

Eventually I board. The pass says 12F and to hop on at the back of the plane. I politely follow the instructions and ponder the madness on discovering the back row is numbered 28. Three days later I’ve negotiated ridiculously slow passengers blocking the aisle fannying about with their supersize hand luggage. I hurl my bag into the overhead locker, disturb the couple in 12D and 12E and strap myself into 12F. Extra leg room comfort on the thinnest airline seat I’ve ever experienced. Not comfortable at all. My coccyx won’t enjoy this.

The stewardess tells me that if the plane crashes I’m responsible for opening the emergency exit to save 168 lives. You’re kidding right? I can’t even manage to lock a toilet door effectively let alone disengage an airline door and hurl it into the ocean.

Roll on Montenegro. I hope my sat nav works!


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