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{10/05/2012}   London City Airport and Jimbo and the Jet Set

Perhaps it’s a bit excessive dedicating a blog post to London City Airport (LCY), but I am sitting here, mid-afternoon (writing this the day before posting), in a very civilised waiting area. There are loads of spare seats, all of which are comfy ones, and it is largely quiet. Once again, I am identifying a growing snob in me!

I like leaving from LCY (I’ve probably passed through here 20 times) because it seems to generally run smoothly and it’s never been LGW- or LHR-busy (though it is a lot busier in the evenings and mornings). It is unusual to see uncontrolled children, there are no alcohol areas designed to look like real drinkers’ pubs and there are a lot of seats. I quite like smaller planes, I enjoy the view from the planes as they land and take off and I like the fact it feels more like a train station than an airport.

Looking around now though, assessing the demographic, there is an abundance of men, suited men, most of whom are using their laptops or are on their mobiles. There area lot of erect wheelie case handles, poised to be pulled the short distance to the plane. I can hear coffee bieng ground, there are quite a few French style beer glasses left on tables and I see more Kettle Chips being eaten than Walker’s; seriously, I’ve just done a tot up!

I know it’s unfair to compare a tiny airport to some of the biggest airports in the world, but as I’m neither going to Bangkok nor Marbella, it’s refreshing to not have to endure holiday makers. Mind you, I did my usual trick of arriving early at the airport, kind of forgetting that there is next to nothing to do at LCY except wait in comfy chairs, use the free wifi, browse WH Smith, spray on some perfume and drink overpriced (£3.80 for a cappuccino? Really?) coffee or beer from fancy glasses. But it was worth it for this people watching time!

I also find it quite intriguing that there are houses, a Victorian row of terraces no less, about 20 metres from the entrance to the airport, standing at which are armed security/police. How cool would that be, you could “pop” to the airport for dinner in Paris or some such. I like to think that the people who live there have at least made use of the proximity to an airport. But I bet they were pissed off if they’d lived there before there was talk of an airport being built here!

One final thing about LCY that has always given me cause for private smiles (that sounds pervy but it’s not!) is that it always, always makes me think of the 1980s kids’ TV show, Jimbo and the Jet Set. Jimbo used to run down the runway and he’d always struggle to take off, like I imagine I would if I were a flying person. Because of the short runway here, I always seem to animate the planes into Jimbo (I’m really not kidding!!) and imagine them running full pelt towards the end of the runway then giving a final burst of energy and an almighty sigh to lift them up. Let the running commence, my plane is boarding!

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