Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And they say there are no winners from the Terminal 5 chaos

Of course there are. The Light-fingered baggage handler for starters. The sticky-fingered Raffles of the conveyor belt need not fear discovery if everyone's bags are lost. He can just take their pick of the choicest items safe in the knowledge that there's almost no way he could be caught in the current chaotic climate.

The other big winner is of course the auction optimist, that panglossian Lovejoy who buys unopened cases (cases that still technically belong to some unlucky traveller somewhere let's not forget) at auctions which further boost the profits of the very airlines that claim to have 'lost' these cases.

The final big winners of the sketch , of course, are clever souls like you and I who never go on holiday, and therefore never lose our stuff, so we can enjoy a long and loud chuckle at all the baggage burglars, hapless holiday makers, and Samsonite gamblers involved in the whole sorry business.

The pain doesn't stop when you land...

This splendid comment from Richard Morrison in The Times this morning, which I take the liberty of quoting in full, so elegantly does it illuminate my point that holidays are an unalloyed arse-pain from soup to nuts.

On the seventh day, thou shalt be duped

One dubious thrill of returning to Terminal 5 on a Sunday is that you discover that there's an even sleazier racket being inflicted on the travelling public than the Heathrow Express. Yes, it's the Heathrow Express Sunday service! A sign says “train every 15 minutes”, so you grudgingly fork out a whopping £15.50 for the 15-mile journey. You then get down to platform level and discover that the next train departs in 26 minutes' time. Some express service! You'd have been halfway to Central London on the Tube, had you known the full facts. “But it's Sunday,” says a station assistant when you confront her - as though her company has a special licence to con the public on the Day of Rest.

Incensed, you go all the way back up to the ticket office to demand a refund - only to find that the queue is so long that you use up the 26 minutes waiting to reach the counter.

Welcome back to rip-off Britain.

Les mots justes, Richard. Les mots justes.