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Gattwick Flights

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"I guess she was used to dealing with subservient, yes ma’am types who would be all too happy to accept Gattwick flights."





Gattwick Flights

by Steve Theunissen

[Editor's disclaimer: This Steve guy is a bit weird.]

I’m probably a bit weird, but I love airports. Especially the big, famous ones like LAX and JFK. They have a buzz of excitement about them, an air of expectancy and mystery, what with those massive jets sweeping in and out to buzz busy tourists off to exotic destinations.

So, it was pretty exciting when I turned up at the booking agent to confirm my flight to London. I’d never been to Heathrow and was really looking forward to getting to see it – after all it is one of the biggies when it comes to international airports. But, less than 5 minutes into my conversation with my travel agent, she throws one at me from left field . . .

“All we have available for your London connection are Gattwick flights,” she apologetically offers.

“Gattwick flights,” I echo. "What the heck are Gattwick flights?”

“Well, Gattwick is a London airport. It’s not as big as Heathrow, of course, but it provides all the services you’ll need to . ..”

“But, I don’t want Gattwick flights,” I cut her off, “Gattwick flights are not what I’m plonking down 12 months of hard earned savings for. I want a Heathrow flight. And that’s what I expect. You can go and sell your Gattwick flights to any Joe Bloggs but let me tell you something, umm … Sylvia – I may not look it but I’m a discerning traveler. I’ve been to every major airport on the planet – except Heathrow. I want to go to Heathrow. So, get me a flight to Heathrow, now!”

This obviously threw Sylvia. I guess she was used to dealing with subservient, yes ma’am types who would be all too happy to accept Gattwick flights. Good for her. I was the customer here, you know the one who actually pays her wages. So as far as I was concerned she could take her Gattwick flights and stick them … well, you get the picture.

“Excuse me, sir,” she straightened up noticeably, her voice registering several octaves higher, "Your time of travel just happens to coincide with the unveiling of a Hyde Park statue in honor of David Beckham. It’s a very high demand event. All flights through Heathrow have been sold out for months. As it is we’re only just able to put you on one of our Gattwick flights.”

I looked across the table in disbelief. “A statue of David Beckham.,” I repeated her words, letting them sink in. “A bloody statue of David Beckham. Who the heck would travel half around the world to see a statue of that flamin’ tosser? Now, are you seriously telling me that the reason that you’ve got to shunt me onto one of these miserable Gattwick flights is because of a pathetic piece of stone for that Beckham git?”

By now the poor womans’ hands were going clammy and she was talking with an audible wheeze, “ Umm, yes sir. That is exactly what I’m telling you. I’m very sorry but Gattwick flights are the best we can do. However, I’m sure you’ll find Gattwick to be a very agreeable airport, never the less.”

Yeah right – Gattwick turned out to be a dump. The queues were horrendous, the service was laclustre, the staff were ugly and the décor was, well, British. I couldn’t get out of the joint fast enough. As I sat in the back of a filthy London taxi cab, elated to be distancing myself from those horrible Gattwick flights, I found myself cursing the name of the individual responsible for my horrors at the hands of Gattwick flights in the first place.

On a whim, I slipped the taxi driver a twenty and told him to make tracks for Hyde Park. On the way, I made him stop off at the Gattwick hardware store so I could pick up a sledge hammer. You can probably guess the rest. The only redeeming feature of this whole nightmare was that I ended up with five nights free accommodation courtesy of the English tax payer. And you can bet your last British pound that every second I was in the joint I was cursing the name of David Beckham and those confounded Gattwick flights.

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