Travelling light

We came home yesterday evening, courtesy of RyanAir. The flight was bang on time. RyanAir’s bedside manner may leave something to be desired, but they’re terrific at turning round aircraft.

The biggest hassle was finding a way of safely packing delicate gear (MacBook and cameras) in check-in baggage. If the new security regime remains in place (and I suspect it will), then cabin baggage will become a thing of the past. The big irritations of this are (a) having to put mobile phones in the hold — which means that one becomes incommunicado from the moment of check-in; (b) not being able to take a book, a notebook, a camera or even a pen through security.

Daft side-effects of (b) include the fact that passengers departing from small airports like City of Derry are stuck with no means of entertainment while those flying from a big airport like Stansted can buy newspapers, books, pens — not to mention laptops and cameras — to their hearts’ content in the departure area.

Once you get over the anxiety of entrusting a laptop etc. to baggage handling, there are some upsides. Getting people on and off the aircraft is much easier — for both crew and passengers. (It’s actually quite pleasant not having to lug a laptop, cables, etc. around.) Secondly, there will be a new commercial opportunities in (i) ‘disposable’ laptops — ones that you could afford to lose or have smashed; (ii) really robust laptop cases; and (iii) book sales in departure lounges and on board planes.

The kids were really pissed off to be deprived of their iPods during the long wait between check-in and departure. But there was a story somewhere today claiming that the supposed terrorist plot involved using iPods to detonate the explosives. After iTunes comes iBlast?