I hate the UK’s supermarket chain Tesco, or at least I think I do. It’s not that I question my dislike of what I consider a giant of awful design and culinary dirge, it’s more my deployment of the word “hate”. As a term is it too strong? Hate, scorn, comment and criticism are rife today, from headlines to blogs and online reader comments – everyone has something negative to say about someone or something.
It’s easier to write something negative than positive, and it’s certainly more fun. There’s a distinct lack of wit in praise, you can be neither cutting nor cruel, smart or smug. Niceness is unrewardingly dull and sates only our self-fulfilling appetite for charity. It’s a mild challenge then, to write something positive but it’s a steeper ask to write something positive about something negative.
So here goes: EasyJet, that oxymoron of a brand name. And more specifically EasyJet out of London’s unloved Gatwick airport. I was recently working on a fashion assignment in Lake Lugano and for reasons unknown I took a surprisingly good EasyJet flight to get there. I used to think that fashion shoots would be a glamorous aside to editorial design, scantily-clad models, sunshine and expensive alcohol. What a fallacy. Although I enjoy fashion photography, shooting itself can be tiresome work, you spend half the time waiting for a sun embedded behind the cloud. And you spend the other half trying to herd an international linguistically-challenged crew into getting from A to B so we can take a pretty picture. And frequently the only thing the said team have in common is the in-flight film you watched on your way in. In EasyJet’s case the in-flight entertainment offer was the option to stare out the window, or not.
But discounting the lack of Mission Impossible 4, what impressed me about this particular trip was the ease of my transition through the airport. My online check-in worked, my printed A4 boarding pass scanned instantly and with so many machines that there were no queues at all. At the luggage security scanners a brand new overhead display directed me to the shortest line and I sailed through again. In fact, as I didn’t require a security pad-down, the only person I interacted with was when my passport was checked as I boarded the plane.
Pessimistic and precautious travel documents state you must arrive two hours before take-off but that could have been slashed to 20 minutes, with time to spare. Somehow I had managed to get from bed to boarding in under an hour, including a 45-minute taxi ride. That’s not what you’d expect from the worlds foremost budget airline and an airport considered London’s runt of the litter.
My only gripe was that the snack available onboard was a packet of crisps from an Irish brand named Spudmuckers. Savagely salted, hardly appetising and probably available in 12-bag multipacks at your nearest Tesco.