Holland for foreignersWell, avid blog-reader, you may remember some time ago (4 June to be exact), that I blogged my dismay at the airline which didn’t know anything about geography or the finer aspects of British constitutional history, to whit: I queued up at the “All UK flights” section to check in for my flight to Northern Ireland, only to be told that Northern Ireland is not part of the UK “for the purposes of our company, sir”. I won’t bore you with the finer details of that experience. Check the archives if you have forgotten or not read it in the first place…
…Well, the sequel to my story is this…
Yesterday morning, at 0600, I arrived bleary-eyed at the same airport for a day-trip to Holland on business.
Not England. Not Scotland. Not Wales. Not even Northern Ireland.
(Are you with me so far, avid blog-reader?)

“Ha!”, I thought, despite my semi-comatose state at that time in the morning. “I will not get caught out by this airline again. No, Sir, not this time.”
I scanned the information above each check-in desk with the eye of a keen eagle, hunting down its prey. And there it was – the Check-in desk for Holland.
Not England. Not Scotland. Not Wales. Not even Northern Ireland.
There was no-one in the queue (hardly surprising, I thought, at that early hour). So, I raced up to the counter, thrust out my passport and, with a hint of victory and pride in my voice, assertively claimed, “I am going to Holland today. I am here at this counter to check-in”
“Oh, sorry, Sir, the computer’s down. Queue up at the next check-in desk instead.”
A bead of sweat broke through on my top lip. I held my nerve and held his gaze. I knew my ground was safe, so said in a low (and slightly threatening voice), “I can’t queue up at the next check-in desk. It is marked ‘All UK flights’ – and I am going to Holland. And Holland is not, most definitely NOT in the UK. England is. Scotland is. Wales is. Even Northern Ireland is. But Holland is not – nor has it ever been in the UK.”
There was a moment of silence. I allowed a small smile of satisfaction to cross my lips, safe in the knowledge that I had finally demolished this company’s illogical systems with my extraordianry knowledge of world affairs and British constitutional history.
The man looked at me. Then, he waved his hand dismissively and said, “Ah go on, queue up at the ‘All UK flights’ counter if you want to. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter where you queue – we can check you in at any desk, really.”
I bit my tongue. Hard. Perspiration seeped through my furrowed brow. There was so much I wanted to say.
But, with quiet British dignity, I turned and slowly walked away. Knocked down by their system – but not defeated.
I shall return to fight another day.

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