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This is a question Airport Stories

Back when I was a moody teenager I took a cheap flight that involved changing planes and having to go through security again. My bags were pre-checked so, when I set off the metal detector, I honestly said to the security guy that I had no idea what had set it off.

Until, that is, he searched me and found the metal knife and fork stamped "KLM" I'd nicked off the previous flight.

Tell us your best airport stories.

(, Fri 3 Mar 2006, 10:09)
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Nice day for it
Mr weebear has never been a happy flier. It was two years into our blissful union before I could persuade him to do anything more than a brief hop over to Dublin. Late summer 2001, however, we went to Malta. A few scrumpies in Gatwick South and a short 3 hour flight later, it was happy days. The ensuing seven days passed in a blissful haze of cheap German beer and sunburn, and on the final day we took a slow lollop down the coastal road in Bugibba to purchase fags and soak up the last of the sun before our flight. It was siesta time so the streets were burning hot and deserted.

To shelter from the heat, we wandered into an empty cafe. The waitress was pootling away behind the counter and a portable TV flashed silent images in the corner. Drawn by the red banner at the bottom of the screen (these were the days before News 24 where breaking news WAS really breaking AND newsworthy), we edged up to the television and squinted. In time to see the South Tower of the World Trade Centre collapse live on CNN.

It was a good fifteen minutes of viewing in slightly disbelieving, slack-jawed horror before we realised that planes had been used for the terrorist attacks. As an audible creak popped from the back of Mr Weebear's cacks it dawned that this probably wasn't the best day to be going to the airport.

Flights were still running, and confident as I was that budget rustbucket Excel Airways wouldn't be an al-Qaeda target that day Mr Weebear wasn't convinced. Not even several litres of Cisk could detract from the constant footage of the planes crashing merrily into famous landmarks on screens throughout the airport. The mood was sombre, shocked and silent for us and most of our fellow passengers.

I managed to get Mr Weebear on the plane, whereupon he sat silently sweating and gripping the seat arms for the duration of the flight. On takeoff, a Croydon-scrapeback haired old shitter in the row in front with half a dozen snot-dribbling children screeched "Well, if this un gets fuckin' crashed into summat, that'll be the 'ole fuckin' famileee wiped out. My 'ole famileee!". Momentarily, I am ashamed to confess, I felt it would be almost worth the fiery demise of myself and my fellow innocent passengers.

Mr Weebear actually kissed the tarmac at Gatwick. Well, not the tarmac, that slopey tunnel between the plane and the terminal. But I know what he meant.

As a postscript, the following year I was travelling back from Monte Carlo when I first became aware of the Bali bombing in 2002 - I watched the news reports coming in on the screens in Nice airport. It took me a wee while to stop associating waiting in airports with watching terrorism unfold. Still tend to opt for a book and an iPod rather than watching the airport TV screens though. Just in case...

Never mind the length, feel the quality.
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 16:50, Reply)

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