Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Queues Put Me off Idea of Flying; STEVE HUGHES Rounds Up the Week's Motoring News in a Nutshell

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Queues Put Me off Idea of Flying; STEVE HUGHES Rounds Up the Week's Motoring News in a Nutshell

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE HUGHES

I USED to travel by air a lot until the whole airport experience became such a nightmare. Car companies invite motoring journalists to test their cars all over the world, so travelling is a necessary part of the job.

It sounds glamorous but the novelty of waiting in airports, attending interminable press conferences and trudging around another manufacturing plant soon wears off-believe me.

If it was feasible I would drive everywhere rather than subjecting myself to air travel.

What is the point of asking people if they have packed their bags themselves and whether they are smuggling anything in for anyone else? I wonder how many terrorists answer yes?

It seems that the threat of terrorism is now a byword to treat all travellers like some form of pond life.

I became aware of Newcastle Airport banging on about how travellers do not seem to understand what they can and cannot take onboard aircraft a few weeks ago and thought it was strange. The airport listed the many liquids that they have been forced to confiscate and went to what seemed like extraordinary lengths to promote the idea of putting them into sealable plastic bags.

At Heathrow these bags are available at the approach to the security area, so that passengers can pop their toothpaste or whatever into them to comply with the regulations.

The bags are bought in bulk for a pittance and handed out to passengers as a customer service to help them comply with the rules.

I was horrified to discover at Newcastle Airport that no such customer service existed, and that any passengers unaware of the system when they reached security were sent all the way back to the airport shop to buy a bag for 20p.

This seemed like a complete rip-off at the time.

This week I saw people being ushered to a brightly coloured stand like a bubble gum machine in the security area with hollow balls containing four plastic bags at an incredible pounds 1 a time. …

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