Over the past 24 hours a French Air Traffic Control strike left me stranded in Barcelona. More specifically, in Barcelona airport. So, while they’re fresh, here’s a collection of Rutherford’s Laws of Air Travel. Let me know your suggestions; we’ll build the definitive user guide for those foolhardy enough to us: The Arrival-Departure Inverse: the earlier you are for your flight, the greater the likelihood that it will be delayed. The Arrival-Departure Revelation: only after you have checked-in will the airline tell you that your flight has been delayed. The Arrival-Departure Corollary: the later you are for your flight, the greater the chance that: A) it will be on time; B) the person in front of you, when asked if they have included a pair of duelling pistols in their luggage, will answer ‘yes’; C) you’ll choose the security queue in which everyone ahead of you has a pin in their leg.
Doc Marten’s Inspection Relationship: the longer the laces on your shoes, the more likely you will be asked to take them off at security. The Exposed Toe Multiplier: raises the Doc Marten Inspection Relationship to 1:1 when you have a hole in your sock. The Intel 20: the number of signs, pictures, videos, leaflets and verbal instructions needed to ensure that the man with six frequent flyer gold cards takes his laptop out of his case for x-ray. Escher’s First Law of Airport Design: the destination sign-posted at the bottom of a staircase is never sign-posted at the top. Escher’s Second Law of Airport Design: never give customers in Terminal coffee shops line of sight of the information display boards.
The “Are We Having Fun?” Rule: the longer you wait for your cancelled flight, the more people you will see on their way to their holiday destinations. The No-Turning-Back Probability Calculation: the longer the escalator, the greater the chance that you are on the wrong one headed to the wrong gate. The probability gets closer to 1.0 the closer you are to departure time. The Scargill Power Union: all batteries run down at the same rate, whether or not each device is in use. At the moment your mobile cuts out, your tablet and mp3 players will come out in sympathy. Three in a Row Paradigm: when the plane is half empty, the seat allocation system will always put you with two other people. The Law of Temporary Innumeracy: all people are rendered number blind when entering a plane; if you have seat 19C, you will sit in 18C or 20C, because for the duration of you journey 19 will cease to exist as an intellectual construct. The Sound-Distance Constant: one screaming child for every 250 miles flown in Economy.
The Travis Bickle ‘Looking at Me’ Calculation: distance from airport to destination (miles) x duration spent in taxi (minutes) = number of times you will see the driver glare at you in his rear-view with bloodshot eyes . The Travis Bickle Conversion Rate: 1 ‘Looking at Me’ glare = 1 unit of local currency ($, £, €). The total ‘Looking at Me’ payment is made as a gratuity for letting you out of the car without incident. The Hour-Minute Co-efficient: the hour in which you arrive at your hotel (based on the 24 hour clock) determines the number of minutes you must walk to your room. Arrivals on or after 00h00 usually sleep in reception. The Sweaty Collar Certainty: when you have an enforced overnight stay – and you need your only shirt laundered – you will discover that you have arrived on a little known public holiday, and that the laundress has taken the evening off to dance around a burning 10ft effigy of a donkey.
KEY TERMS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE Boarding: we’d like you to stand in a queue and watch passengers disembark from the flight you’ll be getting on when we’ve cleaned it in about 20 minutes Estimated Time of Departure: we really have no idea, but the system won’t accept a blank field Gate Closes: gate will still be open (unless you’re 10 seconds late, when it means ‘gate closes’)
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