Amid all the despair and fury surrounding recent budget airlines cancelling flights and another airline going bust, it is worth looking at our low expectations when it comes to travel in general.
Remember when the journey was a part of the holiday? And I don’t mean an excuse to get blootered in the airport at 4am. In the days before budget airlines, it was a treat to be served dinky wee meals on special, compartmentalised trays, with drinks and blankets offered by smiley crews. This was all included in the cost of the ticket. Nowadays, passengers are charged for taking bags on the plane and charged for nasty filled rolls and pot noodles.
Train travel used to offer commuters the chance to catch up on some work on the journey or read a book in comfort, without worrying about traffic jams. Nowadays, you’re lucky to get a seat – and that’s if the train arrives and departs at the advertised time.
I went through a big Agatha Christie phase when I was younger and have never quite lost the expectation that travelling by train might yet match up to the days when a porter would stow your luggage while you made your way to the restaurant car, where you would be served a three-course meal on china plates with some rather fine wine. Imagine my repeated disappointment.
Similarly, plane passengers would rock up with their trunks of possessions, wearing their very best outfits, ready to be looked after as they soared through the clouds. Travel was so civilised back then – apart from the murders, obvs.
Nowadays, we are conditioned to expect the worst when we travel, which is just as well as that is normally what we get. Endless queues at airports, delays, cancellations and general discomfort, none of which is cheap. Then the endless hassle if you are claiming compensation for any of the above.
There is a new Murder on The Orient Express film coming out soon and I think we should maybe use that as a template for what to expect when it comes to travelling in style.