If you’re thinking of jetting off to escape the gloomy winter, take heed of Camberwell comedian Jenny Eclair‘s good, bad and ugly airport experiences and choose your destination wisely… Here, the Grumpy comic unveils the results of the first ever Eclair Airport Awards…
OK, it’s properly back to work time, all my summer, late summer, early autumn away days, jaunts and holidays are over, and as we head into winter, I’m going to give you a quick round up of the best and worst airport experiences of 2016, so that when you’re planning next year’s jollies you have been forewarned!
Winner of the Eclair’s Worst Airport goes to Greece’s very own Santorini, a hot, smelly confusing little dump, where no-one seems to be in charge and the chances of getting into the wrong queue and ending up in Belarus are extremely high.
When something goes wrong and your 9pm flight is delayed by four hours, then prepare to starve
Winner of Eclair’s Worst Airport Catering Facilities, against tough competition indeed, goes to La Rochelle in France, a tiny doll’s-house sized airport, which is great when everything goes according to plan and you can stroll through the place in six minutes flat, but when something goes wrong and your 9pm flight is delayed by four hours, then prepare to starve.
Let me remind you that in situations like this, it is always a good idea to have an emergency, large vacuum-packed souvenir salami tucked about your person. By the time I got on that plane I had the breath of a syphilitic donkey, but at least I wasn’t faint with hunger.
Winner of Eclair’s Rudest Airport, again, against fearsome competition (Sardinia’s Catania, I’m looking at you), is Gatwick, which is also the most physically exhausting, just about beating Copenhagen where I once got lost and as a result managed to beat my daily iPhone steps personal record. Seriously, Gatwick can be a right old schlep, there are some flights that land around three miles away from passport control, and it’s here where manners have completely disappeared.
I blame technology. Once upon a time, you showed your passport to a human being who may have squinted at you and looked a bit sorry for your decline, but never once point-blank refused to believe the photo in your passport was once a wrinkle-free you!
Unlike the e-machine at Gatwick, which continually barred my entrance, until I was asked by the authorities to go to a security desk where a uniformed woman tried to kindly explain that because my jowls have dropped so dramatically in recent years my face shape has changed beyond bio-metric recognition! And this was after I’d been on holiday, when I was meant to return to Blighty relaxed and refreshed and looking ten years younger. Fat chance folks.
Finally, Winner of Eclair’s Best Airport 2016 is London City Airport, romping home with gold medals for ease and efficiency, which also has the highest levels of staff jolliness I have ever encountered at an airport.
Yes, staff jolliness, never underestimate it, people genuinely seem to like working at this airport, they were endlessly patient and polite, and what’s more none of them looked at my passport photo and said ‘blimey someone’s let themself go’.
Happy travelling everyone.