Ten Shitty Things About Air TravelOf course travelling can be a bit of a drag but if you are one of those people that loves airports and sitting on planes looking out of the window at the world below it can also be thrilling.

In the end it’s not the big things like being late or tired or jet lag or the time spent from getting from A to B that is the real drag in flying- after all, in these gadgety times an ipad can wile away many hours all over the world.

Nope it’s the little things that drive you mad as you hop around the world looking for rock and it’s little mate, roll.

1. Wheelie bags.

More deadly than a rhino let loose in one of those endlessly dull airport cafes are those little bags on wheels. You know, the ones that resemble the shopping trolleys that we once used en masse by the hair net, blue rinse grannies back in them mythical old days- the old days so beloved by the rose tinted specs wearing little Englanders.

These bags are a real pain. Nearly every one else apart from the grannies seems to have one these days and they are a deadly weapon.

Most people use them to bash rival passengers out of the way as they rush across airports and train stations in pursuit of getting everywhere to early . Several times I have tripped over them as people whizz the bags behind them like mini tanks, tripping people up, assaulting innocent shins and laying waste to queues.

They should be registered as deadly weapons, the hateful pieces of luggage that they are.

2. Duty free shops

The Duty Free Shop is the work of the devil.

A strange throwback to the seventies when men had awkward looking greasy longish hair and odd moustaches dripping with aftershave made from a small mammals intestine and urine mixed with a E laden chemical and sold as the scent of sex.

The shops were hideous enough but they have become far more desperate in recent years and far worse especially now as you cannot get in and out of an airport without them getting in your way like some kind of sophisticated snare for the weary and unwary traveller.

When did this cruel and unnecessary entrapment start? these new airport layouts that seems to have replaced the direct corridors and passages from security to your plane with shops full of chemical clouds and the putrid scents of male and female perfumes that have been designed like a maze to get you lost in?

It’s deliberate and stinking ruse is to create a confusing walk as it zig zags you around the shop trying to stop you getting to you plane before you give up your hard earned on their scented mammal sperm.

It’s painful the way that there is no way of avoiding their shelves laden with the most boring stinking stuff on the planet with added not that much cut price booze to hideous after shave and perfume.

The Duty free maze is staffed by strange looking women with perma-tans made out of clay and faces frozen into grins by the layers of make up glued to their heads.

If it was a book shop I would be happy to wallow there- but it’s a duty free shop- only a care parts shop can be more boring!

3. Mr Bean

How many time have you been flying on a plane looking at the endless terrain of Greenland beneath your feet full of wonder at the amazing planet that you live on but rarely get the chance to see when you suddenly get told to shut your window so that everyone can watch the film?

As your blind grudgingly comes down your fellow passengers chuckle uncontrollably at Mr Bean laughing like hyenas on speed? I’m not knocking his rubber faced and unsettling talent or his international appeal but compared to the mind blowing brilliance of looking at parts of the planet that you could never get to, watching Mr. Bean comes a long way down.

4. Music on the headphones

These are the pre chosen music channels where the great stuff is carved up more cruelly than a radio play list and some very severe editing of our pop culture takes place.

For example the indie section is made up of the likes of Killers and their polished chums in another vicious reminder of the way that independent music- that surly child of the punk rock whores and sonic defiance has been polished and turned into a music that sounds the same as the mainstream but wears a carefully positioned leather jacket or a carefully positioned sneer on its Ad mans dream face.

It would have been like putting U2 onto the C86 tape (not a bad idea in hindsight…)

5. Putting your liquid stuff in plastic bags

How many time have you had to put your tooth paste in a plastic bag or even had that nearly finished tube thrown away in the name of national security?

We understand that there is something about this national security thing going on here after a bomber attempted to construct an incendiary weapon from the liquids he had carried on board a plane but we are still baffled at what exactly the plastic bag is going to do to stop such tomfoolery.

6. First class

Bigger seats for bigger arses.

7. Bread rolls in the airline food

The ‘free’ food on a plane is quite remarkable.

The deep frozen bread rolls that are just thawing out are so insanely small that they are almost an art form on their own. They look more like they have been moulded to fit the table of a furry hobbit than a hungry traveller- still, no worries, there is only eight hours to go until you land in the USA and that bread roll and that lettuce leaf are really going to keep you going!

8. Strip lights

Designed to drain the energy from any living soul. the strip placed into the roofs of the corridors and canteen areas are cruel in their slow leech like sucking of your god given life force.

With a wan light and a wan smile, they crush all the spirit from your soul and warm the world up to the kind of temperate, modern limpid existence that we are expected to shuffle through. This is a world of soap opera, desperate unknown ‘celebs’ and motorway service stations- the new corporate bland where humans are the hated furry creatures with pockets full of loot to be emptied out at any given opportunity by the grasping hands of capitalism in their endless shops- the wan strip light is just part of this cruel conspiracy.

9. Small seats

The seats are shrinking! Ryanair seems to have chairs designed for mice where your knees are trapped in the cheap plastic and then forced up to your neck. Comfort is a long lost word and the 21st century sardine is left grateful for being allowed to sit down in their place.

10. airports that are not in the city they say they are…

This is not as bad as it used to be but if I’m going to, let’s say, Berlin. I would like to be at least in the same country, state or even country as the city named on the ticket and not marooned 100 miles away and waiting for the Terravision bus to get lost on its drive back to the point of destination…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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