Glasgow to Heathrow

Long haul. The start goes smoothly. Guitars, packed two to a golf bag, are weighed and spirited away on a conveyor belt into a tunnel to tomorrow. I sit in the corridor outside the nob’s lounge where the others are toying with freebie croissants. It’s cool and peaceful and affords a view of the Kilpatrick hills, pale against an opaque sky. There’s a muted whirring from an air duct and jets whine politely beyond the windows. Airport hallways are the safest havens for the avoidance of advertising but there is a smattering of illuminated panels. Staff march by on phones in airline livery and hi-vis tabards. I’m sitting in the rushing sound of stillness. First stop Heathrow. Then the long haul.

I succumb to the lure of the group and join the rest in the lounge. Attendants sweep surreptitiously around, clearing dishes with a soft tinkle. We’re inured to the throng, cocooned among the pampered few on the first tier of the class system. We exude an aura of stifled excitement. The tannoy invites us to stroll gatewards for “priority boarding”, a concept conferring no obvious advantage other than instilling the feeling that one is better than others. Does everyone in some way think they’re better than others? A BA friend once told me that the worst passengers to handle are business class travellers. They have all the arrogance that comes with paying for privilege mixed with the acute anxiety of knowing they’re not at the top of the tree. Class distinctions in transport are as redundant and immoral as those in wider society. That they are legal at all tells you everything about humans. Fuck fairness, it’s all about status. Money is just status vouchers. It starts with snobbery and ends in genocide.

The nose lifts and we are airborne. Glasgow appears spilled below like the aftermath of a violent wedding. We quickly cut through cloud and gain the sun. A voice burbles cheerfully on the intercom. Here we fucking go.