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CLARE JOHNSTON: Doom-mongers can do one – nothing will stand between me and my summer holiday

Airports Chaos
What could be more relaxing than a nice summer break? But first, the airport...

If I have to trek in flip-flops for miles between two London airports dragging a 24kg lump of luggage to get a connecting flight then that’s what I will do.

If I have to wait in lines that stretch further than the eye can see, so be it.

And if my journey ends up taking double or even triple the amount of time I first anticipated, hey ho.

I’ve waited three years for this trip.

I am finally going to see family and friends in California.

And no amount of doom-mongering, disruption, delays, queues or strike threats will stand in my way.

Twice already BA have cancelled our homeward flights from Heathrow to Edinburgh.

And twice, I have rebooked them for ever more inconvenient times.

Now we face having to cross the capital from Heathrow to City airport for the last leg of our journey.

Still, we have resolved to face down any level of chaos just so we can finally go on our holiday.

And I don’t think I’m in the minority.

My hairdresser just got back from a trip to Portugal and said the journey ended up taking 16 hours – two of them spent with a baby in an over-heated tunnel between the boarding gate and the plane.

airports chaos
Long queues of passengers at Heathrow and other airports around the UK and Europe have become a familiar sight in recent months.

Yet she said she’d do it all over again if it was the difference between getting away and not.

We’ve come out of two years of Covid shutdowns into absolute chaos.

Holiday-makers are facing delays, cancellations, lost baggage, strikes, endless queues at airports.

And you can’t get near anyone in customer service, whether it’s by phone, social media, text or email, to help you sort it out.

Facing down the merchants of gloom

It really is a misery. But aren’t the doom-mongers just wallowing in it?

Now we’re confronted by officials and commentators warning us that the covid surge means tougher restrictions might have to be reintroduced and that this is all going to mesh into one great travel hell this summer.

Happy holidays to you too!

I am so far past the constant negativity of the last few months. And there comes a point where you have to make a decision.

Do you wallow in it along with the doom-mongers?

Or do you say I’m going to make the best of my situation and understand that the world is still turning and we have lives to live?

Enjoy the laughs amid the chaos

The events of the past couple of days in Downing Street have only added to the general sense of chaos in this country.

That said it has also brought moments of levity. Not least Boris Johnson’s sacking of frenemy Michael Gove amid scores of Whitehall resignations.

The walls of his own little colosseum might have been caving in around him with too many vacant roles in government to fill. But it didn’t stop him exacting his petty revenge anyway.

And I did laugh out loud when I saw reports that Conservative MPs on Wednesday night were terrified every time the phone rang in case it was Boris offering them a job.

If we totted all this turmoil up in our minds, along with fears over the cost of living, the ongoing Brexit impact and the state of the economy, of course it feels like a lot to worry about.

Like getting away from this country for a while feels like a smart move.

But crises come and they go.

And these will too.

Strikes, cancellations, airport queues and holiday hassles: all this too will pass

One day in the not-too-distant-future airports will return to normal. Trains will run (roughly) when they are supposed to. Heinz ketchup and baked beans will return to the shelves of Tesco.

And we will be able to book a holiday without fear of it being snatched away from us.

For now, it’s back to that most overused of slogans: Keep calm and carry on.

So as I set off for our long-awaited holiday next week I’m not going to sweat the small stuff.

If the journey ends up being a complex one that’s okay.

The main thing is that after two years of turmoil and restrictions on our movements we are now inching back to normality.

It doesn’t excuse the political nonsense we’ve had to endure.

But if we’re to preserve our mental health amid rocky times then we need to enjoy the good stuff when we can and let tomorrow worry about itself.

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