The Forgotten Joys Of Airport Travel

Bizarrely, one of the few plus sides of getting cancer, is the fact that because my immune system was so low, I was unable to enjoy the pleasures of flying for the last 18 months. Indeed I had utterly blocked out the whole stressful experience, of firstly have I got my passport, documentation, and phone, phone charger, wallet, car keys, etc. Then of course there is the whole driving experience and ensuring stress is averted by not getting caught in ad hoc motorway congestion.

And then of course there is the whole parking malarkey, I pre booked meet and greet, for a modest 45 quid for my 1 night of parking. Of course unbeknown to me since I’m last visited Luton airport a new multi storey car park has been opened, naturally I did not realise this and promptly found myself looking out across the void at the actual multi storey that I wanted, so off I go and drive straight into the passenger pick up and drop off point. That will be another 4 quid please, at one point I thought about actually picking someone up just to get me moneys worth, but looking back that would not work. More calamity ensued when I went the wrong way down a one way road until a kindly bus driver pointed this out and allowed me to turn around and therefore avoid any unpleasantness with the authorities.

So, car finally parked, I luckily remembered that my stoma bag travel kit contained scissors which of course I need to cut the actual bag to shape so that I can place over the required orifice to facilitate efficient waste disposal, if you get my drift. Fortunately this prevented me from suffering the ritual humiliation of border security confiscating my scissors and by doing therefore obviously preventing my planned terrorist attack on board one of Whizz Airlines finest germ buckets. Where I would no doubt be aiming to use my blunted stubby scissors and collection of pre cut stoma bags to seek to hijack the buffet cart. Refusing to release its hostages of pre packed sterile sandwich’s and Monolopy hotel priced Doritos until of course Boris had agreed to reverse Brexit.

Ironically enough having been so careful initially and feeling mildly smug at remembering to remove my scissors. I had completely forgotten to remove my adhesive removal spray, which was contained in my stoma survival kit in my hand luggage. Interestingly, the border guards at Heathrow who actually outnumbered the passengers for once, completely failed to notice it, as did I. Until of course, I sought to get through Polish customs the next day. Of course it was one of those classic mis understanding situations, as I prepared myself as efficiently as possible to be as quick as I can. I did a swift pre security check, so clear bag with deodorant and toothpaste, check, laptop out and in separate box, all metals phones chargers etc and coats good and in tray. Finally check all jean and shirt pockets no coins so all good to go. As I waited to walk through a Polish lady border guard asked me “Do you have a bag although she meant belt? Of course in my stressed out state I said yes thank you I do, and I showed her my stoma bag, she stared at me and said belt ? To which I replied no thank you, why do I need one?

At that point my stuff went through and then I saw my case being brought back, she shouted in Polish who’s bag is this to which I replied it is mine. She then said you have a spray in there, so take it out, of course this is the accelerated stress moment, because every eye behind you is staring at you, as are all the border guards in front. So, sweaty palmed I open the case and struggle to get to my stoma bag travel kit to find the adhesive remover spray so it can be placed into the clear bag Panee security guard is holding impatiently. At this point I realise to my eternal horror that my bag also contains the three well utilised poo bags that I have brought with me so I can dispose of them at home. ( A new take on souvenirs you might think). I then had a moment when I thought what if I have to open these to show the contents in front of a capacity Polish crowd of angry passengers and suspicious guards. ( Classic ingredients for a pre Brexit diplomatic incident, imagine the headlines; British man found waving poo bags at Polish officials, guns drawn as horrific scenes ensue when bags are blown up in poop diffusion calamity).

Anyway as ever I find my imagination running away with me, and quite frankly running away from airline travel has its attractions. However, on a more serious note it was brilliant attending the superb VeritaHR awards night at the super Opera club in central Warsaw where some 600 plus people attended a glittering HR awards event. It was also great attending the really lovely offices that are now fully populated and look fabulous, as the Company moves into a new and exciting era. Happy days. Mostly….

Written by Austin Birks

October 14, 2019

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