Plain Jane 270913 blogLAST week, much to the consternation of the local bloggers, I flew to Manchester. Via Amsterdam.

Yes, I got on a plane at Manston, landed at Schipol, walked through the airport and got on another plane and alighted at Manchester, ready to start work the next day at Event City, giving workshops for the Woman’s Weekly Live Show.

You would think I had eaten a couple of live kittens or broiled my grandmother. I am utterly unrepentant but were I into justification, I might explain that I chose this method of travel because it cost much the same as, and possibly less than, (depending on what time of day I had let that particular form of transport take the strain), the intercity, and, despite the protestations of local blog king Eastcliff Richard (never one to let the facts get in the way of a good story) took much the same length of time.

While saving me the bother of dragging two suitcases up and down escalators between St Pancras and Euston and on and off locomotives, and finding somewhere to stash them once aboard.

It also meant I was proffered wine and little salty biscuits in my seat, instead of having to fight my way to a buffet car, and got to gaze down at the clouds.

But most of all, and my main reason for doing it, I got to sample the delights of using my local airport again and flying KLM – and what a thorough joy both turned out to be.

The staff at Manston are lovely – cheery and polite and helpful beyond the call. When we started boarding, the nice chap from the café actually came over and decanted my unfinished jasmine tea into a lidded polystyrene cup, so I could take it with me. Would that happen at Gatwick?

Check-in is speedy, security ditto, and the whole business of changing planes at Schipol is made smooth and easy.

The KLM staff are also lovely and the whole operation slick (I particularly liked the tulip, clog and bicycle embossed on their plastic cups).

But the best bit as always, is in coming back. Instead of queuing for half an hour at passport control, having a domestic about who was supposed to remember where the car was parked and then spending an hour and a half (if you’re lucky and there are no hold-ups) on the M25, one whizzes straight through the checks (there were no fewer than three officers on duty when I came back) and by the time one has walked round the corner, there is one’s suitcase ready for collection.

The boy picked me up (his driving lessons were one of the best investments I ever made) and I was home in my kitchen in under half-an-hour from touchdown?

What’s not to like? Ah yes, of course, silly me.

Yawn. I have never quite been forgiven for quipping (yes, sad people, that was a J-O-K-E) some years ago, that the anti-airport protesters were selfish and what about my holidays?

I do have sympathy if you are such a light sleeper that a plane wakes you up (could you take less water with it perhaps?) and if that plane happened to be right over your head at 3am. But the KLM flights do not leave in the middle of the night and if you stopped carping long enough to just try the whole Manston experience next time you need to fly you’ll be a convert, I promise.

In the meantime, please don’t be tedious about my carbon footprint. If you want to save the planet, direct your attention to entreating the cows to keep their methane to themselves or have a word with China. Or save your energies for next time. I’m flying to France on Friday.

And I’m not sorry about that either.

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