The British Tourist Authority must, surely, be sponsoring this series on the quiet. While other airport shows offer a mix of travellers tales, staff lives and behind-the-scenes workings, this one focused almost exclusively on passengers having a miserable time. After 60 minutes, the overwhelming urge was to avoid holiday airports, holiday airlines and, especially, holidaymakers like the plague, and book a nice fortnight in Bognor instead.
An airport bus strike didn’t help, somehow causing check-in queues that stretched out into the road under the blazing midday sun. Many of the passengers didn’t help either, by being drunks, chancers or sad cases (or all three). One sad, drunk chancer opened his bags to look for his passport and revealed (to the entire check-in area) that they were full of contraband fags. Two sober chancers proposed to remove all the clothes from their overweight luggage and wear them instead (the airline told them, politely, to sod off). An incredibly sad woman, holidaying alone, was so pissed she kept falling over, while a truly desperate one had been left penniless by her (former) best friend, along with her hyperactive three-year-old grandson.
Not surprisingly, the (all-British) ground staff took a robust attitude to all this, including not giving a toss about the contraband as long as its owner sobered up. Passenger sobriety was evidently a major issue, with staff patrolling the queue on the lookout for sozzled ticket-holders, who could be refused a seat on the whim of the supervisor. So keen were they that they pulled one stumble-prone man out of the line, only to find that he wasn’t blind drunk, but simply blind.
This wariness was, no doubt, the result of years of bitter experience, but it seemed to have developed into a zero-tolerance attitude in which the tiniest misdemeanour was severely punished in order to keep everyone else on their best behaviour. If you want to know what it’s like to be a Millwall supporter at an away game, Lanzarote airport seems to be the place to go. Or it might, of course, just be the way the film was edited.