Never mind Speedy Boarding, I think Faff Boarding should be introduced.
Is your luggage too heavy to put on the scales at the Check In desk? Just open it up in front of all the other passengers and re-pack into smaller bags, displaying underwear and personal belongings to all waiting passengers.
Want to slow down the travel experience? If you are at the back of the queue, wait until your bags are about to be X-rayed, then decide to stand there and drink up the large bottle of water before you can be let through. Make sure all your cosmetics are sculling around loosely in your handbag, so that you have to faff about and put them into a clear plastic bag.
Are you ready to display your passport to airline staff, open at the photo page? Pah, if you have, you are no contender for Faff Boarding. No, you have to wait until you are at the front of the line and hand over the cluster of your family’s passports, all closed, to qualify.
Help to delay yourself a little bit more by leaving later than you should and mooching around the Duty Free shops until the last possible minute. When you hear the announcement that your Gate is about to close, you can then jump on the slow standing escalator thingamajig and head there. Maybe start to panic and run the last bit. When you finally arrive, sweaty and stressed, you can board the plane as the last family, where you will be split up into separate seats from one another, all over the plane.
Really annoy other travellers by waiting until the Air Hostess is checking everyone’s seatbelts are securely fastened, until she realises that your twelve year old daughter is sitting alone by the Emergency Exit and has to ask someone over sixteen to swap places with her. Much sighing and tutting will commence.
Sit back and enjoy the flight. Your faffing here is done.
Other types of boarding…
Extra Cautious Boarding
In extreme to my faffing husband, my older daughter is an extra cautious boarder. She despairs at faff boarding and if the family suitcase is spread eagled on the floor by the check in desk, ready to dismantle into smaller bags in front of everyone, she would blush, shake her head and whisper ‘mortifying’, with her back turned towards us.
So prepared is she, that her cosmetics have been pre-packed in a clear plastic bag, days before we travel. Arriving at the X-ray machine, my daughter will offer to remove shoes, cardigan and belt – ‘just in case’ it sets bleeper off, as she would hate to cause a scene.
Kindly, she takes all electrical items out of her bag and arranges them neatly in the trays provided. She smiles sweetly at the staff and follows instructions precisely. It has been commented on by airport staff that they wish more passengers were like her.
Before sitting down in her assigned seat on the aircraft, my daughter will already have out of her bag; a book to read, her mobile phone and some sweets in case her ears pop during the flight. This behaviour is unheard of by my husband/a faff boarder, who would have to make sure he got his rucksack down from the overhead locker at least every five minutes to get something different down each time.
Dude/Under Cautious Boarding
My younger daughter is a bit of a dude and usually glides along through life chilling out and not worrying about too much.
One time, though, our family were held back while the X-ray machine staff unpacked her little rucksack, to discover a skipping rope inside. The man in authority held it up and said he was going to have to confiscate it. My younger daughter dissolved into tears. My older daughter piped up that is was her sister’s prized possession and please could she have it back. The man explained that it was considered a dangerous weapon as it could be used to strangle or hang someone on board. We all raised an eyebrow at him and he kindly handed it back to my younger daughter, who immediately smiled and skipped off with it. She was only six at the time.
On another occasion, my under cautious daughter packed a pair of scissors in her pocket. She didn’t get off so lightly that time. When the beeper was activated as she walked through the scanner, she had to explain to airport staff that she had done some homework and used the scissors the day before and that they were her only pair.
“You won’t be using them for homework any more, I’m afraid,” declared the security man and put them with the collection of items other people had packed but shouldn’t have.
My younger daughter shrugged and we followed her into Duty Free. Whatever.
Normal (Perfect) Boarding
I, or rather, the perfect boarder, would leave the house in plenty of time for the airport, just in case of traffic or other delays that might occur.
I would have my tickets, money and passports to hand plus my bags would have been weighed and within the correct allowance.
My cosmetics would be easy to grab from my bag and dispensed into clear plastic bags for the X-ray machine. I would be ready to remove my shoes, electrical items, etc if asked by airport staff.
I would check the time and make sure I left with at least ten minutes to spare to get to the Departure Gate.
Holding my handbag on my lap (because I would never be silly enough to lug a heavy overnight bag into an overhead locker, in case I jarred my back), I would settle into my seat, fasten my belt and sit there as smug as a bug in a rug.