I should have been in London today. I didn’t make it. It was my first trip since the security forces thwarted the planned terror attacks on the US and it made me realise that actually the terrorists are winning if only by causing inconvenience and worry.
I got to the airport in good time, earlier than usual, and was pleased to see a clear check-in desk. Having got my ‘no liquids’ tag on my bag, I went the usual way to be met by steel shutters and a bored looking bloke.
“Which way?” I asked. He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “That queue there,” he said. The one that ran from Terminal Three to Terminal One. I took my place in line. In it seemed to be everyone headed for wherever.
I shuffled along, coffled slave-like, glancing at my watch and wondering whether I’d catch the next train to Belsen, when a woman airport worker appeared saying, “Anyone for London City?”
Hand up like a flash. “Make your way to the fast-lane on the left,” I was told. Obeying orders (arbeit macht frei) I wandered past Costa’s and Smith’s, but there were lines of people all over the shop, finally settling into the fast-track. Hah!
Twenty minutes later, with mobile, Blackberry, keys, watch, wallet etc in hand luggage as instructed I reached security. In stockinged feet, I should add, shoes being suspect WMDs by all accounts, not to mention my jacket.
Having redressed, I blundered into a helpful-personless area wondering where to head next. I remembered that there was a bloke round the corner who might help, but he couldn’t because my flight had gone off his screen.
I worked my way back to check the screens to find that I should have been at Gate 3E. Hell of a walk. And as I walked through, there was the ground crew shaking sorrowful heads. Plane missed by several minutes.
I was offered a place on the 9.30 flight, but since that would get me there around 11.30, there wasn’t much point and I went home for another cup of tea.
VLM were excellent and the fare is being refunded and they are trying to sort it out. As in, why is every other person subject to a personal search that includes your M+S non-sparking heels when a 120mph train (no checks) could smash into Piccadilly tomorrow?