by Guy de la Bédoyère
As we headed back to the airport our phones started screeching alarms about the earthquake in the Aegean. We felt and heard nothing but it was a reminder there are more risks in life than just COVID-19.
On the Jet2 flight home I was fascinated by a family or families that involved at least three adult women and several children all seated together two rows in front of us. Their masks were fashion accessories. Not one of them seemed to be able to sit still for a minute. Up and down like yo-yos with at least two vast and obese prepubescent youngsters obsessed with wandering up and down the aisle while the rest of them, children and adults alike, climbed over each other and the seats ceaselessly, with the adults blatantly consuming large bottles of alcohol they had brought on board. By the time we reached London after four hours of this a couple of them were distinctly ‘tired and emotional’.
The hapless Jet2 staff, all aged about 21, were quite unable to bring themselves to do anything about these renegades, despite complaints from other passengers. One of the airline rules is that anyone aged over six is supposed to wear a mask, but that cut no ice.
Fuelled by booze, the women were becoming aggressive. Eventually a dark warning was given that the miscreants would be apprehended by the ‘authorities’ at Stansted. Needless to say this had all the impact of being threatened with the comfy cushion and a cup of tea. They took not the slightest notice. The masks remained only decorative embellishments to any part of their bodies apart from the relevant orifices. The cabin crew continued to do nothing and needless to say there wasn’t the slightest sign of the Covidstasi at Stansted either. Nothing could have exemplified better the futile impact of rules and regulations on people who won’t play ball and the utter meaninglessness of this Government’s authority when challenged.
This was my second arrival at Ghost Airport Stansted in just over a month. And like the last occasion (in September) I had my Government Passenger Locator Form and QR code at the ready. This time I didn’t even notice any signs about showing the form. In any case the form will be useless now. Jet2 had moved our seats in Rhodes meaning that as far as the world-beating UK Government team of PLR QR scrutinizers will be concerned we were sitting somewhere that in fact we weren’t (you have to give your seat number). I look forward to trying to convince them that the Biro alteration to our boarding passes made at Rhodes will prove we were in a different row and not next to the Covid storm in row 21 where we had been originally positioned. Or you know what? Maybe we won’t hear anything at all.
As for the Stansted passport staff, the two 12 year-olds on duty woke up momentarily to wave us casually towards the automatic booths before drifting back into catatonic states. And that was that. We picked up our bags from the laughably non-socially distanced carousel zone and headed out into the night, collected the car, and drove home to face the prospect of another futile lockdown as the lights go out all over Europe. Shall we see them once again in our lifetimes?