My flying days might be over

Stuart Barber.
Stuart Barber.

I’ve always maintained that getting onto a holiday flight without losing my cool - or the will to live - is one of the biggest challenges I will ever face.

Navigating my way through an airport, usually at the crack of dawn because the flights are cheaper when they leave at 6 a.m., is a nightmare.

First you queue to check your luggage in. Then you queue at passport control while you remove your jacket, belt and shoes and, while juggling all that lot in one hand use the other to empty your keys, loose change and basically everything else you have in your pockets into the plastic tray. Then, and only if you are lucky enough not to look suspiciously furtive at that time in the morning and avoid being escorted to a small room for something more personal, you queue to be frisked by security, queue, passport and boarding pass in hand, to get through the departure gate for your flight, queue on the walkway leading to the door of the aircraft and then queue again before the aisle clears and you finally, actually, manage to get to your seat.

Imagine my horror then when I read this week that even Willie Walsh, the former chief executive officer of British Airways and the current boss of the International Airlines Group that owns BA and Iberia, is also peeved about the time it takes to get on board.

Mr Walsh, whose Air Miles account must be the envy of millions of us ‘economy’ class fliers, warns: “Security is still the most frustrating part of the journey that I experience. In 10 years time you will have to go through security in a hospital gown. You won’t be allowed to wear clothes.”

If that’s what an expert is predicting, pass me the bus and train timetable now!