I had the dubious pleasure of flying with a budget airline last week and if you too have experienced this particular ‘joyous’ experience then I trust I have your deepest sympathies. Now for legal reasons I cannot state which one but my Christian name is almost identical to the first half of this airlines name. So, for the sake of this article (and my ever rising solicitor’s fees) I shall refer to this airline as Brianair*.
For the uninitiated Brianair is a ‘budget airline’. What this means is that some clever chap, who may or may not have been called Brian (clever Brian’s do exist. I am the exception), found some loose change down the back of the sofa one day and decided to set up a cheap way to slowly torture people whilst transporting them to the vague vicinity of a far flung destination they actually wanted to visit. They do all of this whilst charging ‘bargain basement’ prices for the seats and charging exorbitant amounts for pretty much anything else. ….
‘Oh, Sir wants to take two bags on board? Well you have to pay to put one in the hold. Yes, I appreciate that’s almost as much as the actual ticket itself but I am afraid that’s the price. Ok, well I can check that in now. Ah..its over 15KG in weight…well that means you can either unpack items and leave them here or pay more for excess baggage. There is no need to swear Sir. No, I don’t think you look like the Michelin man with those 5 jumpers and 4 jeans on….yes, that’s under 15 KG now. Now, would you like a sandwich on board? That’s £15 please….well…..I don’t think I should put it there…it wouldn’t fit anyhow Sir….’
Whilst the above isn’t strictly a blow by blow account of a conversation held with a Brianair operative, it’s not far off and should hopefully serve to highlight the unmitigated ‘pleasure’ of flying with this airline.
Have the Black Flag branched out into travel reviews I hear you cry? Well, fear not dear reader, for all will become clear…
As I clambered aboard wearing pretty much my entire suitcase, wondering why I paid so much to check in a now almost empty bag, I surveyed my travelling companions with some despair. It was my worst nightmare….no, not donkeys (I got trampled by one when I was four. I still bear the hoof marks…) but babies. As far as the eye could see, babies were present. And I as I walked on the plane every single one of them locked onto me as the next victim for their screaming, vomiting on, hair pulling and clambering over. How was I going to survive the next 90 minutes I cried with desolation?
I sat down (next to a baby, obviously) and quickly pulled my generic mp3 from the mitts of the little devil next to me who I quickly learnt was called Jonas. Jonas is not far from Judas and we all know what he did….
I switched it on and selected album view and began to scroll through to find my saviour… music. Only music could get me through the next 90 minutes. ‘All the Aces’ by Motorhead, ‘Appetite for Destruction’ by Guns N’ Roses, ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC were all early candidates to help me through this incarnation in baby hell but, as the heat started to take its toll on me (I was wearing 5 jumpers remember) these were lost to me as my mind wandered….
’Why would you bring the world’s biggest camera on-board and then whinge when someone knocked into it? A pram! Someone has bought a pram on-board! Look at the size of that fat…I hope they had to pay for two seats at least…..this sandwich better be bloody worth it’
I realised I was in danger of being dragged into a conversation with the parent of ‘Judas’ as the power of Brianair threatened to overwhelm me. Wait! Judas Priest! “That’s it” I yelled and punched the air as I scrolled to H in my albums and clicked on ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ by Judas Priest.
The 1978 album heralded the era of the leather and studs which Priest became so famous for and also signalled the start of Tipton’s truly unique guitar style playing. With the slow thumping of the bass drum kicking in my ears on the intro to ‘Delivering the Goods’ playing I realised that this album could block out ‘Mama Jonas’ and also, left me with a secret weapon – the title song. ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ is a rock classic and surely no baby’s cries could pierce Halfords screams and the twin guitar attack of Tipton and Downing. So it proved when ‘Judas’ (the baby) antagonised another closely situated baby by eating a sweet and screams filled the cabin air…I switched to this song and instantly the world of Brianair was left behind me.
I thought I was safe, I was sure I would survive the trip with only a mild case of dehydration to show for it until I saw it – the low battery icon…. Even the mighty Priest couldn’t get me out of that. So, if you’re reading this ‘Mama Jonas’, see you Thursday for the coffee morning……
*Brianair does not exist and any similarities (ahem) with an existing airline are purely co-incidental. Kinda.
Words: Brian McKay