Airports. Places of great excitement. Much activity. The hustle and bustle of holidaymakers and business people with places to go and people to see.
Since the days as a child of watching the planes at the old Liverpool Airport – long before there was nothing above us but sky – and those hypnotising chandeliers at Ringway – the airport has felt like a magical, mythical place. Endless possibilities. Endless adventure. Endless drama.
Age, the passage of time and events like 9/11 and the subsequent ratcheting up of security and ratcheting down of customer service standards with low cost airlines flinging us all around the world, has taken the edge of this, but not completely. There is however, one exception. The dreaded delayed flight. And worse, the dreaded delay flight when you are really in a rush and need to be somewhere. Hello, today.
Our great weekend in Belfast at an end we arrived in good time – I am never, ever late or even slightly tardy, when it comes to arriving in time for flights. The itinerary was planned, everything meticulously arranged. We are flying home to Liverpool and I am heading into that great city for my end of first year PhD review presentation and assessment; an important day. Bag drop and we are hit by the news; “we’ve got a delay; 60 minutes”. Heart sinks.
This does not affect my ability to make my meetings and fulfil my end of year requirements – so far – I type this still sat at Belfast International Airport – still being told the delay is only one hour. As the great planner, I have of course built some contingency time into my itinerary and so we can absorb this delay and still get back in time – even having time for 30 minutes coffee and final preparation. But the heart is beating a wee bit faster all the same.
I always find these delays much easier to deal with when alone – this is not a safety in numbers moment for me – I find I can manage my stress and frustrations much easier when I can thrown myself into some reading or some work; not easy to do with a excited three year old in tow! Miss J, less concerned about the delay and more interested in looking at the planes, which sadly there isn’t a lot of, and certainly not ours! I resort instead to Frozen Lego (bought in the airport at Weimar Germany hyperinflation prices – £18.99), which all started well until it had outlived its usefulness with a loud dismissal of “I don’t want the Lego!”. Ouch.
I have stolen these few moments to scribbles, as the sainr-like Mrs J has taken Miss J for a walk to explore. If anything like me as a child, this will be her favourite part of the trip. She is still at the age of wonder in the airport before the indignity of removing belts, shoes and being man-handled out of sight kicks in. Long may it continue for her; the magic of the airport.