Every time I’ve ever woken up with my head wedged down a toilet, I’ve sworn I will never drink again. Or, for that matter, bob for apples in the toilet bowl.
In a similar way, every time I go to Ireland, I swear I will never, I mean never EVER, fly Ryanair again.
It’s just that they’re so very cheap.
So very crap, but so very, VERY cheap.
Having been caught out before, I set off for Stansted from Clapham the previous day. I arrived so early, there were only fifty four people in the queue. After I checked in, I had so much time to spare that I decided to do a bit of shopping. I bought a universal adapter. Then I had a sandwich.
At 17:30 I decided – just to be on the safe side – to proceed to baggage control for my 18:20 flight. And that was the end of the proceeding for the next 40 minutes. Baggage control was carnage: panic, hysteria, old people trampled underfoot.
I finally staggered to the boarding gate at 18:10. Perhaps it was 18:11. Thereabouts.
Let’s say quarter past six.
The gate was closed, blue tape across the double doors. A forbidding attendant stood fingering her walkie-talkie. She radioed the airplane.
“Passenger here with a bag checked in.”
If you didn’t pick it up, the critical portion of this sentence is the latter. In fact, you can just italicise everything after the word ‘here’. Because I have no doubt that, but for my bag aboard the plane, I would have spent the next eight hours at Stansted before paying Ryanair the equivalent of a first-class ticket to the Bahamas for the only available flight to Ireland for the next three months – to Belfast.
The plane reversed back down the runway as I emerged onto the concourse. A steward met me; I could tell he was important because he had on a fluorscent vest.
“Are you Nam Shaw?”
“That’s Niamh. NIAMH. Doesn’t sound anything like it’s spelled-”
“Get on the plane.”
I mean, there’s no need for that level of unpleasantness. I take comfort from the fact that Crapair was recently fined €3m by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (although they sound just as dodgy). I also stole the inflight magazine.
“Lucky you caught it,” said Husband. “Otherwise you would be known as . . . as a person who misses flights. A lot.”