Category Archives: Travel

The Law of the Package Holiday

After watching the first twenty minutes of Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents yesterday, I felt compelled to leave the sofa and go scrub myself clean with barbed wire. Now I’ve run out of bleach. Thank you, BBC3.

Anyway, apart from the unspoken objective planted in Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents for all subject matter to obtain as many sexually transmitted diseases as possible, there was the underlying message that package holidays are hilarious.

Hilariously shit.

Ok, so some of this mirrors the Easyjet article here I wrote a while ago, but package holidays are so much more than just a miserable plane journey- there’s the miserable transfer, the miserable hotel and the miserable week spent living out a nightmare.

But let’s begin with the miserable booking process. If you were an adult in the 1980s, you probably got, and therefore still are, accustomed to locating holidays via Teletext. For those under 18, I cannot even explain what Teletext is- there is nothing in the modern day it can be likened to, I’m sorry. Teletext is a fucking liar and the cheap deal you keep seeing on page 19 of 1900 has went long ago, if it even existed.

Then there’s the option of calling into a travel agency for the hard sell of being pressurised into booking a holiday on the spot. I choose to not do this as, A) There are no seats because all the ‘lads’ of 7F, St. Ford Escort’s High School for Disobedient Cunts have just called in to book their holiday to Shagaluf, B) I don’t like the smell of suncream and they aren’t fooling anyone and C) I do not believe that Thomas Cook Sales Representative Cassandra-Louise has been to my hotel, nor has Thomas Cook Representative Sue who is listening into our conversation and says that it’s very central- not that she stayed there, but she walked past and it were lovely. Fuck off, ladies, your fake banter is less believable than Cassandra-Louise’s hair extentions.

If you are in any way connected to the outside world, you will have migrated to using the internet like the fucking rest of us, you uneducated swine. The internet, unlike Teletext, has the ability to show you pictures of your hotel and surrounding area (well, Teletext could do this too if your hotel was just a big yellow and red square set upon eternal darkness, or if your holiday was a trip to Legoland). Insider tip: all pictures of hotels and surrounding areas are bastard liars- your hotel does not really look like this. Take the picture that they have given you of the pool area, draw in lots of cunt stick-figures, throw a bucket of water over yourself to emulate getting splashed by said cunt stick-figure’s cunt offspring, all the while playing Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits Some Unknown Man Sings Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits in Spanish. This is a truer representation.

If you are stupid enough to still book a package holiday, then you’ll be heading to the airport by now. It’s probably nearing midnight. I have no idea why, but it always is. Great, a day wasted already.

Ensure that whilst waiting at the departure gate, you adequately sneer at your returning home counterparts who have just got off the plane in their shorts and party-hats. Their holiday is over, while yours if just beginning! Ha! Look how miserable they are- this is great.

Board the plane and instantly spot the loud party of inconsiderate dickheads, who insist upon calling all staff ‘Mr Air Hostess’ while exploding into a wheezy smoker’s laugh so cancerous, you feel sick by association. This party, who I will herein refer to as ‘The Pack of Loud Cunts’, will spend their time inadvertently making the flight miserable for everyone else through being loud as fuck, singing songs like ‘Country Roads’ and shouting ‘Are we there yet, Mr Pilot?!’ One of them is also likely to have the world’s most irritating laugh, which will penetrate your very soul. Fix this irritation by paying £6 for half a shot of vodka to have alongside your in-flight meal of beef vomit in glue, with a side of dehydrated bread and vacuum packed cucumber. Considering you’re flying for a whole three hours and 45 minutes, you’ll need nourishment lest you’ll die of starvation.

When you finally arrive, you need to be transported to your hotel. This is achieved through the torturous ‘Coach Transfer’ organised by whichever travel agency you’ve sadly booked your holiday through. Note that The Pack of Loud Cunts are on your coach, trembling with anticipation for your journey to commence so that they can sing ‘The Front of the Bus is the Huffs, Barney Boo’. Wankers. Pray to God they aren’t in your hotel.

Thank God, it appears that your holiday representative has taken centre stage at the front of the bus to inform you of basic Spanish phrases such as ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ to silence The Pack of Loud Cunts. The one with the weird laugh keeps laughing at a collective ‘Ola’ mumbled by the bus. Feel yourself moving closer toward that stroke you’ve been putting off.

Pull up to what looks like the burnt remains of a sex dungeon and pray to God your name isn’t called to denote that this is your hotel and that your miserable hotel experience can now commence. Of course, your name is called and you trudge off the coach. Don’t forget to be pressurised into giving the bus driver a tip, considering he did his job and no other frills were included to justify a tip. Happily, The Pack of Loud Cunts are also getting off here. Wohoo, they are staying at your hotel.

At this stage, optimism sets in and you start to allow yourself to hope that your hotel room isn’t the shithole that 600 Trip Advisor reviewers warned you that it was. Snooty desk clerk, Selina is annoyed that you’ve disturbed her slumber at 3 a.m. and puts you in room on the ground floor, guaranteeing your room gets robbed numerous times throughout your stay and that each night you drift off to sleep with the tranquil sounds of the nearby motorway.

On your first day, you go to the ‘Welcome Meeting’ hosted by your holiday representative to avail of the free thimbleful of orange juice and hear at length about Costa del Slum’s ‘Transvestite Drag Show and Karaoke Night’ that you can attend for the small price of 150 Euros each, not including drinks and depressing meal. I would advise against this as your holiday representative will be your host and, if male, he is most certainly going to use this opportunity to sleep with your teenager daughter. If female, she’ll be chirpy enough for the whole bus to club together and murder her, meaning you’ll have to tip the bus driver massively to dispose of her body in an empty, desolate forest. Considering the exchange rate, it could work out pretty expensive.

If you opted for Self-Catering, lucky fucking you. If you are Half-Board, Full-Board or All-Inclusive, shit one. You must now spend every morning of your precious week off work throwing your fried breakfast down your gullet at 6.30 a.m., while catering staff tut obviously at you because breakfast finishes at 7. If, like me, you have no control at buffets, be prepared to eat your weight in bacon so laden with grease, it’s practically singing ‘Summer Nights’ and calling Rizzo a slag. Thank God for The Pack of Loud Cunts who roll in at 6.57 a.m. and make everyone else look like upstanding citizens. The Pack of Loud Cunts insist upon wearing their pyjamas to the dining hall, but wonderfully, the one with the weird laugh isn’t making noise because he’s too busy vomiting Sex on the Beach down the side of the table. If you are from mainland Europe, you’re probably eating a small bowl of fresh fruit with yoghurt on it, and I’ll cry because I’m fatter than you later on. Thanks for ruining my holiday.

During dinner, be prepared to forge a relationship with dreamboat waiter, Fernando, who insists you are seated in his area every night so that he can charm you into bed, while bantering with your boyfriend and enquiring how many camels it would take to ‘buy you’. Don’t be fooled ladies, he does this with every sunburnt, blonde lush in the restaurant, and he is also engaged to desk clerk Selina, who would fucking destroy you. Plus, he already slept with the Mum from The Pack of Loud Cunts- you’d probably get the herp.

But don’t fill up on dinner because you’ll be too bloated to dance to ’99 Red Balloons’ with enthusiastic German patrons at the hotel disco after dinner. And this is the best case scenario. Worst case is participating with other hotel guests to compete for free drinks in a contest to establish which country in Western Europe is ‘the best’, not realising that underneath the charade of polite and civilised humanity lies an angry mob of xenophobes who are waiting for any excuse to pounce.

Speak of which, don’t stay up too late because you have to be up at 4 a.m. to pettily secure sunbeds for you and the rest of your party. Delightfully, The Pack of Loud Cunts are swilling round the pool and doing lots of drugs because they haven’t been to bed yet, so don’t be surprised if one of them shits in your towel because they are pack of utter dickheads. Thankfully, this lack of sleep causes one of The Pack of Loud Cunts to be rendered unconscious in a quad biking accident just hours later and sent to a Spanish hospital to begin years of rehabilitation that will later be documented when they sell their story to ‘The Daily Star’. When the Dad from The Pack of Loud Cunts, whom you’ve befriended out of fear, tells you they are leaving, you look remorseful but are secretly pleased.

Now that the hotel is quieter, you are free to enjoy your holiday by lying in the sun for eight hours per day, having a mediocre meal, getting pissed and enjoying absolutely nothing of any cultural value whatsoever.

Not to steal Peter Kay’s intellectual property, but he is very right- you will go to the Spanish Spar and look at products that you can buy at home, you will ring home to enquire about the weather and you will most certainly frequent an Irish bar, where you will eat the exact same shit you have at home. You will start to adorn some holiday spirit and talk to poolside wankers, make a few friends and make the train much longer by doing the Conga at your hotel disco.

Like your package holiday predecessors, you will erroneously assume that you will appreciate a cold shock to the loins when you land back home and wear shorts and a party hat on the plane. Upon stepping out of the plane, you will regret this choice and feel very miserable and sad. The airport will be a bastard and insist that you are paraded in front of those travellers waiting to go on holiday, so that you can be mocked the way you mocked those before you. This is the law of the package holiday.

I’m already loading up the Teletext to book my next trip.

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Come Fly With Me, Let’s Cry, Let’s Die Away

This week I had the misfortune to fly with Easyjet. I’m poor as fuck, and should be accustomed to their hospitality by now- but I’m not. I swear to God, the bastards in the Easyjet Quality Standards department must sit around all day asking themselves, ‘How can we set the bar even lower?’ whilst wetting themselves laughing. I’m surprised they aren’t called Limbo, as this would be much more apt given their quality control maintenance and ability to greet any queries you have at their airport desk by just staring at you blankly until you fuck off.

Anyway, the misery starts before you’ve even booked the trip via navigating around their website- a feat based on popular 90’s boardgame ‘Hungry Hippos’, in which you are the ball, wandering helplessly around whilst trying not to get eaten. From Easyjet’s perspective, all users want skiing insurance regardless of destination. If you’re off to Magaluf, you want skiing insurance, you just don’t know you want skiing insurance. The kind people at Easyjet know this and attach it for you anyway, then distract you with other needless expenses in the hope that you don’t notice. Thank you.

I am very much in tune with Easyjet’s tricks and took my skiing insurance off my booking prior to purchase. Now, as punishment for not taking skiing insurance, Easyjet issued me with their ‘secret barcode’ on my boarding pass. For those of you who have never heard of this, the ‘secret barcode’ alerts all airport personnel of your cheapskatery, to ensure that you avail of the worst possible treatment they can dish up during your time in the airport terminal- random arse-crack drug searches, the wrong type of teabag in your overpriced Starbucks order, the accidental planting of a gun on your person- just the usual. Basically, you’re fucked.

If you manage to make it through the inspection area without being thrown in a Peruvian jail, Easyjet have plenty more obstacles to overcome before you recieve the honour of flying in a tupperware dish that stinks of vomit. The airline likes to save money on fuel by slimming their passengers down prior to take-off by sending the hapless cunts on a wild goose chase round the airport because they keep changing the departure gate.

Easyjet are a meritocracy and dole out customer service in direct proportion to how much money you have. For the rich, this means they get to board first, having purchased the privilege in advance- Easyjet employees are also much more curteous and pleasant to ‘Speedy Boarder’ bastards, because of the whole £6 they paid. I bet they bought skiing insurance, too. The poor are relegated to ‘Boarding Group Two’. Just to make you aware, Boarding Group One does not exist, but Easyjet just wants to re-iterate that those who only paid for their travel sans extras are lower than second class citizens, basically ensuring that the poor know their place on board- much like the Titanic, in which all the rich cunts had a lifeboat each just incase they wanted to stretch out, and the poor fuckers could just go and drown.

The worst bit is that Boarding Group Two should be like a band of brothers- united we stand, divided we fall. We’re all poor, but at least we have our dignity. Let’s show some humanity by forming an orderly queue, letting the old go to the front and generally be civil to other Boarding Group Two victims. But in reality, its a fucking free-for-all and everyone musters every ounce of cunt they can, in order to make it wholly unpleasant for everyone involved. The concept of personal space is void- I’ve had some of my life’s most intimate moments in Boarding Group Two’s line of casual rapery. You’d think people would realise that they are pushing and shoving to board a metal tin with limited oxygen and an abundance of lingering farts. Yeah, not so pushy now.

If you did have the audacity to pack any more than a molecule of personal belongings, be warned- Easyjet is going to make a cunt out of you by measuring your case while Boarding Group Two makes a mental note to throw you out of the plane first to test the parachutes if you run out of fuel, which you probably will. For those who did not take skiing insurance, this is where Easyjet makes their money back by scanning the ‘secret barcode’  on your boarding pass, and employing a tactic known in the industry as ‘Acting the Contrary Cunt’. You must check your bag on regardless of size due to ‘procedure’. Should you protest, you’ll be filmed and featured on Airline cursing and generally looking like an stingy bastard. You pay.

Now, as far as disasterous flying experiences go, Thinkinggal has had her fair share. Once, I boarded a flight in Taiwan to find that my allocated seat was next to a man with one eye, positioned right in the middle of his face. Yes, he was a cyclops. Another time, I forgot to book a meal pre-flight and spent the 14 hour journey gnawing around a banana to make a fork, which I subsequently used to eat a jar of Nutella. I haven’t eaten one since. So if you’re wondering if my life is usually plain flying (this joke goes out to the people who find puns funny- if any of you exist), it fucking well hasn’t been- I’m an unlucky, long-suffering bastard. I bet I was one of the people who thought Jesus was a con-artist in biblical times, and this is my punishment.

So, with my ever-present expectation that things will always be a fucking nightmare, I never board an Easyjet flight with high hopes. I always sit near a screaming child whose mother never gives him a sly wallop no matter how much the little darling screams his head off, like I probably would. There will always be fart or B.O. in the vicinty. My bag will get looted. I’ve made my peace with all of that.

Easyjet are somewhat more disillusioned than their humble beginnings as the company who takes pleasure in the misfortune of their passengers. Much like a mentally damaged X Factor auditionee whose presence on the show serves as comical relief as they can’t sing and live in a care home where they are most certainly sexually abused (ah, the British humour), Easyjet offer ‘Bistro and Boutique’ services in their shoddy little box on wheels, which largely consists of sellotape sandwiches and bottles of Eau de Easyjet- a subtle blend of tears of frustration, dehydrated piss and soiled dreams. Why not purchase one today for the drunk football hooligan or hen weekend whore in your life?

But all of this is still ok. You still have the Queue of Shame to wait in while they ‘bring round an airbus’ to transport you the five steps to the terminal cunting building. At this stage, you have two choices- stand in the Queue of Shame and have your arse felt by the person behind’s groin, or sit for one moment longer than necessary. You queue.

Kill two birds with one stone by queuing behind 14 old women in the bogs while waiting for your luggage. Old people still dress up for air travel, so you have to wait patiently while they fiddle with the buttons on ivory slacks and get their elephant brooch tangled in their knicks. Delightfully, many patrons lose their snotty-hanky-up-sleeve during this process, which airport workers scoop up, smooth out and reuse. Hashtag recession. But try to hurry up in the toilet, because it’s so much fun watching a middle-aged man try to guess where the conveyor belt starts, to reserve the optimum space at the Baggage Claim. Once this has been established, other middle-aged men congregate round him- he has been given the role of ‘Baggage Claim Alpha-Male’, and these are his subjects. Much hilarity ensues when he gets it wrong and they are all standing at the end of the conveyor belt. But they don’t move- that would be admitting their mistake.

Anyone who has ever travelled before can agree than waiting on your luggage on an already moving conveyor belt is the most nerve-racking experience ever invented. I like to call this ‘The Hoop of Horror’, because everyone on the flight waits around the belt in absolute terror, certain that their case is lost and that they are going to have to wear their current underwear inside out tomorrow while waiting for it to be returned, if it ever is.

Thankfully, you can see you case rumbling round the tired conveyor- is it yours? Yeah, it definately is, there’s the stretchy rainbow belt you put on it to alleviate the panic of this very moment- thank you, past me. You dare not take your eyes off it. Adele wrote ‘Chasing Pavements’ for this very moment. You can hear a collective ‘tut’ from fellow Baggage Claimees when you heave your case of the conveyor belt. You are the luckiest goddamn son of a bitch in the hoop.

On the way out of the terminal, I am always tempted to queue for at the Declarations desk and declare that Easyjet are a shower of shit. Unfortunately, that would almost certainly result in my arrest. But it always makes me chuckle at how original that joke is.

Now on to the City Centre-bound Airport bus. But that’s a whole other blog, so maybe some other day.

I’m off to remove the packages of cocaine I have strapped to my body.

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