As fog causes chaos at Britain’s airports I sit here wondering if I will ever fly again. It’s become such a nightmare that whenever I go back to England I take the train. If I can’t take the train I don’t go. You are treated like a criminal from the moment you get to the airport and the departure lounge is not any more comfortable than many penal institutions, or filled with any more civilised people.
My parents-in-law flew over here two days ago. They describe their journey from Gatwick to Toulouse as “hellish”. They were forced to unpack everything they had with them in the check-in queue (to much sighing and muttering from the people behind them), then practically strip-searched on their way through security. Someone here is not thinking clearly. Can we just cast our minds back to the profile of your average terrorist? Is it a public-school educated mother of three and grandmother of eight who bears more of a resemblance to Mrs Tittlemouse than Osama bin Laden? I don’t think so. Surely instead of holding up the queues at airports and making air travel the most dreaded thing since the plague a little bit of passenger profiling might come in handy? My mother-in-law says she is searched every time she travels between France and England. Why? She is a well-dressed, elegant woman in her seventies. She has never been to a mosque apart from to admire the mosaics and is unlikely to convert to radical Islam at this late stage in her life. I guess it’s always a possibility but I’ll make a deal with the airport staff. You let her pass unhindered and I’ll keep her under close surveillance. If I see any evidence of subversion, you’ll be the first to know.