Stansted airport is one of the most secure airports in the world? If you've ever been there, you'll be as bemused by this statement as I was when I was told.
I fell in with a security man at the airport on Tuesday night as I was heading home from London. As I was walking down to my departure gate he called me over to inspect my boarding pass. As he checked, he looked both ways up and down the corridor, leaned towards my ear and whispered 'President Obama is landing here within the hour.' I think I even got the wink. I gave him the honour of feigning suitable excitement but stopped just short of performing the happy dance.
I did, however, ask the obvious question ... why in the world would he fly into poxy Stansted Airport? (Although, obviously I didn't use the word poxy as I didn't want to hurt his feelings ... or be arrested) Well, apparently Stansted is one of the most secure airports in the world! My new conspirator tells me it has it's own permanent SAS presence and a tank battalion on site. Not so poxy, eh??!
When I got to the gate, in an attempt to beat Obama's arrival, our Ryanair crew did everything bar tell us there was £50 notes sellotaped to the aircraft seats to get us on board as quickly as possible, but it was no good. We had to wait on the apron whilst Airforce One landed and the President cleared the airport by helicopter. A major delay by Ryanair's standards.
We got to watch Airforce One land, big wow. Well, I didn't find it that exciting but the man across the aisle from me was fairly interested and moved into the empty row behind me for a better view.
When we eventually got clearance to 'go ... go ... go ...!' a stewardess arrived and instructed the man he 'must move back to his original seat on the other side of the plane for the correct balance of the aircraft.' Everyone looked up, expecting to see a big ten tonne tussie squeeze himself out of the row and across the aisle, and this wee weed of a thing appears ...
We did experience some mild turbulence on our flight home and every time we had a wee bump or wobble, everyone glared at our friend who had dared to move seats, blaming him for the temporary imbalance of the aircraft.
Finally, on the subject of airlines ... this from Pluto:
A man is sitting in the bar in departures at a busy airport. A beautiful woman walks in and sits down at the table next to him. He decides that because she's got a uniform on, she's probably an off-duty flight attendant. So he decides to have a go at picking her up by identifying the airline she flies for, thereby impressing her greatly.
He leans across to her and says the Delta Airlines motto:'We love to fly and it shows' The woman looks at him blankly. He sits back and thinks up another line. He leans forward again and delivers the Air France motto: 'Winning the hearts of the world'. Again she just stares at him with a slightly puzzled look on her face. Undeterred, he tries again, this time saying the Malaysian Airlines motto: 'Going beyond expectations'.
The woman looks at him sternly and says; 'What the %*$&*# do you want?'
'Ah!' he says, sitting back with a smile on his face. "Ryanair."