Flying by the seat of their pants – passengers and pilots

AIR TRAVEL: Not always a pleasant experience.

AIR TRAVEL: Not always a pleasant experience.

AT this time of year, air travel’s uppermost in many people’s minds. Not always a pleasant experience what with queuing, flight delays, threats of strikes etc.

But let’s look at another problem: reclining seats in economy class. You know, when the guy in front must have loosened an extra bolt in the seat base – because he’s effectively in your lap. And bang! There go your laptop, drinks and food! On long haul, ideally you should only be able to recline seats an hour or so after the main meal has been served. Problem sorted!

But if there is a problem, why not speak out (politely) rather than sulking and taking a picture for social media – which everyone seems to do nowadays? But symptomatic of the ‘snowflake generation’ that seems to say to itself: I have a problem, but rather than fix it I’ll post a bunch of messages declaring how ****** off I am, hoping that the silent indignation and smiley faces will somehow make it all go away…

Flying used to be fun, but I’m talking about the ‘80s and even earlier. Since then, flying’s become increasingly punishing as the seat cushions in cattle class have become thinner like some absurd time lapse torture. So, thinner seat cushions, less leg room due to shorter seat pitch and skimpy food service plus lengthy waits on the tarmac have all eroded what used to be a reasonably convenient and pleasant form of travel.

Some time ago, a neighbour decided to finally give up flying after a lifetime of it. Dreadful airports, dreadful security, dreadful overcrowding, strikes, delays, screaming kids, harassed parents and centre seatmates who hog both armrests and glare at you ominously if you dare to object. So, he’s now committed to staying in the UK or travelling elsewhere only by ferry or trains. He swears he won’t ever miss boarding a plane again.

Too true, especially if Ryanair pilots vote to strike this summer and dig their, err, chocks in for the, err, long haul…

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘Betrayal,’ ‘The Girl in the Woods,’ ‘The Girl in the Red Dress,’ ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ ( available online as ebook (€0.99;£0.99), ibook, paperback and (now) audiobook. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.  

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.