Culture House Daily

Airports are hell – no wonder staycations are growing in popularity

28 July 2014

1:10 PM

28 July 2014

1:10 PM

Last week I experienced the horror of Stansted Airport. I had paid for a fast track through security to avoid the hell of standing in a queue for an hour behind people grappling to put their haemorrhoid cream and K-Y Jelly into a see-though bag and struggling to the conveyor belt with their trousers around their ankles.

My flight being massively delayed, I set off for a restaurant named The Bridge where the food was so bad I began to wish it was an actual bridge from which I could throw myself off. Of course, the bit of egg and bacon I ordered cost more than my flight (I was flying Outdoor Toilet Airlines). ‘Tell us if you do not have much time to go to your boarding gate and we will guarantee your food within 15 minutes’ read the notice by the restaurant entrance. An easy pledge for the waiters to honour, as a number of largely untouched plates were being returned to the kitchen – and possibly delivered to unsuspecting customers. Mine tasted as if it had been eaten and regurgitated.


Once I’d walked the significant distance from security to the so-called lounge, my sandals needed replacing. My trip to the shops, where I planned to replenish my lesbian-themed wardrobe, was, however, unsuccessful, as most were closed for refurbishment. Left with the option of standing up in a heaving Pret, I opted to sit and work on the floor among the young people asleep on their rucksacks. I signed in to the free Wifi, only to find that the signal was as weak as a still-born kitten. Wandering around with my laptop in the air, I found the best connection was outside the shop selling London memorabilia.

After an hour of trying to write but instead developing a grim fascination observing tourists buying policemen made of cheap chocolate, I gave up and headed to Weatherspoon, where I did the only thing sensible in the midst of chaos and delay. I got pissed enough to endure the purgatory that comes with the airport experience. No wonder staycations are growing in popularity.

Julie Bindel is the author of Straight Expectations: What Does It Mean To Be Gay Today? (Guardian Books)

Follow Julie Bindel on Twitter @bindelj

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Show comments
  • dado_trunking

    Never mind the God-awful food from indigenous aviation service providers, am I the only one to notice that the interiors of British airports are forever not designed for capacity?

  • goneunderground

    Perhaps there should be a special airport for lesbians then you wouldn’t have to trouble yourself with the great unwashed….

    • JB_1966

      If there is then can I apply to be a middle-aged lesbian please? The bookshops and booze would be bloody great for a start…

      • post_x_it

        The atmosphere, not so much.

        • JB_1966

          I’d be pissed with my head in a book so it’d be just finez

  • Jonathan Burns

    To think in the 50s and 60s it was so glamorous, now it is like being at a cattle market.

  • Chingford Man

    STN is horrid, but I’d still rather be there at 6am (when it’s always bunged) rather than read Julie’s book. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

    “From picket line to picket fence – what does it mean to be gay in the era of same-sex marriage and equal rights?

    “More than four decades after the start of the gay liberation movement, lesbians and gay men can legally marry, adopt children, and enjoy the same rights and respect as heterosexuals … or can they? In Straight Expectations, Julie Bindel, an out lesbian since 1977, tracks the changes in the gay community in the last forty years and asks whether fighting for the right to marry has achieved genuine progress.”


  • Marmalade Sandwich

    Could the awful full page ads from Gatwick in the
    Spectator be stopping me from commenting on airports? Shall I cancel my subscription?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Don’t you get heartily sick of third world nignogs (and I say this with all due respect) in uniform at your home airport, telling you that Bovril is a liquid.
    “Try drinking it then, Achmed.”

    • Liz

      Aw, you travel to Spain with a jar of Bovril. Yes I can picture you perfectly now.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Who mentioned Spain? That’s a Brit for you. Always making negative assumptions about someone they know nothing about based on zero evidence and even fewer indicators.
        Jack, Japan Alps

  • post_x_it

    You went to the wrong airport. At Gatwick you might have found more public-school educated toffs with Chelsea tractors to rail against. Add a bit of meat to your article, if you know what I mean.

    • Marmalade Sandwich

      Gatwick is the worst airport I have been to. So hope they don’t get to expand. Isn’t 7+ international airports enough in the south east? 50% of flights through Heathrow are freight (send to Manchester et al), 20% of flights from Heathrow are business. So everyone else is off on holiday. What is the point of ever more flights, airports and runways to fly chavs off to be sick in Magaluf? And hundreds of these flights are between 1am-6am. Let’s be more civilized and tax aviation accordingly.

      • post_x_it

        Only 20% are business? Where did you get that figure from? Sounds awfully low.

  • Alan Coleman

    Hilarious! Just read her other posts. Miserable old bag, I’ll be reading everything she writes in future!