As you can gather, I have MANY pet hates, thorns in my side, pains in the neck, triffles and niggles with the world. But one of the things that winds me up more than most is travelling abroad. Or more specifically, flying. And even more specific than that, London airports.
In Scotland, if you want to fly to pretty much anywhere in the world, you have to go via a London airport. But, you might say, lots of us have to do this. Well, yes, although you can get to many places in Europe that are not Spanish tourist traps via your regional airport. HA! Not in Scotland! When I say that you have to go via London to go anywhere, I really do mean that.
And, what pisses me off the most, is we have the *pleasure* of paying up to £250 to do so. In fact, the ticket to London can cost as much, if not more, than the ticket from London to your final destination.
Not to mention the potential of 10 hour lay overs in Heathrow….if you had to pay £200 to have a 10 hour lay over, wouldn’t you be pissed?
I have a colleague in London who is flying to Russia this year. WITH the hotel, it costs less than £350. If I want to go from Scotland, the ticket ALONE is £550. Half that cost is the ticket to London. I can, however, have a cheaper ticket for just shy of £400 but with a 9 hour lay over in Heathrow. Oh, the choices, the choices.
If I want to go to the US from Scotland, it is around £500-500, via London of course. And also stopping in Newark (that other sphere of hell). If I were in Dublin I could fly direct to my destination, without going via London or Newark, for 350 euros.
When I have grant money and have to travel abroad for conferences, I pay the extra and fly via Amsterdam, and then it usually flies direct into my final destination. Only snag can be coming back. Have you noticed how often US flights are delayed? And KLM usually have tight turn arounds to the UK. But the airport is wonderful, and isn’t the heaving, sweaty, claustrophobic disaster zone that London airports are.
If I don’t have the grant money, and the University won’t stump up the cash, well then, I ain’t putting my hand in my pocket and paying for it myself. I am, after all, a poor academic.
So, basically, if you are wondering why Scotland wants independence, I present you with Exhibit A….