Ah, 2009. A year that commenced with me receiving a look of approval from Laura McDermott as she observed how impressive the lack of flying my epic backpacking trip was *supposed* to involve.
A year that reached something like its two-third mark with vague disappointment in those same eyes as I ruefully totted up how many flights I’d actually taken. Okay, my carbon footprint is considerably less than, say, Al Gore’s, but still, I’ve been appalling this year, my head quite shamelessly turned by a sickening four foreign press trips, my lo-flight backpacking escapade spiralling wildly out of control thanks to the impressive meshing of both my inefficiency and that of the Chinese. Anyway, sat here on what ought to be my last flight of the year, I apologise profusely to Mother Nature, and for the sake of all those people in posterity keen to know what weapons-grade levels of frivolity we doomed idiots in 2009 achieved, I hereby submit my thoughts and feelings on every flight I got in 2009. I was originally going to rate them out of five using images of Jimbo from Jimbo and the Jet Set, but then I realised I couldn't in any way be arsed to do the cut out. I leave you with the credit sequence. Those cows used to freak the fuck out of me.
Reykjavik Keflavik to London Stansted 02.01.09
Hugely delayed return leg of awesome New Year’s trip to lovely lovely Iceland. Would have appreciated the lie-in had we known how many millions of hours delayed our stupid am flight was going to be, but we didn’t find ourselves un-amused as we went ker-razy with our lunch vouchers and totally broke into the apology booze when we finally got into the air. If I’d actually had to be back in time for anything in particular then might have been annoyed, but on reflection this arguably wins flight of the year. FOUR JIMBOS.
London Stansted to Talinn 12.01.09
Hellish. This can mostly be put down to the fact that I’d got wasted to mark the commencement of my travels, gone straight to the airport with Powell at, like, 4am, knocked back another pint, passed out on the plane and then woke up about 30 minutes from landing to about the closest I’ve ever come to having a panic attack. While this can largely be attributed to hangover, lack of sleep etc, I do maintain EasyJet have the most cramped of all short-haul jets, though possibly this is down to the happy-go-lucky approach to reclining exhibited by the overwhelming majority of its cheapskate customers. ONE JIMBO.
Qingdao to Seoul Incheon 24.02.09
Mixed. On the one hand it was now dawning to me that my eco-friendly world tour was going to essentially be responsible for the extinction of several undiscovered species of animal, the ghosts of which would proceed to stare at me every time I went to sleep with accusing, adorable eyes. Also I ended up speaking to a really unpleasant Dutch guy who proceeded to irritate me more by the fact he had a hugely worthwhile job developing an entirely solar-powered boat, a fact that seemed cruelly designed to rub in my failure. On the other hand I’d made it out of China, and also there was free beer. THREE JIMBOS.
Seoul to Jeju 27.02.09
Jeju to Seoul 05.03.09
Hmm. The flights were less than £20 a pop, and South Korea is set up so epically impractically for anybody wishing to approach the southern island by water that I’m not sure I feel that guilty about these. They served mandarin juice, which was nice. THREE JIMBOS.
Seoul Incheon to Beijing Capital 06.03.09
While it seems silly that there was no direct flight to Hong Kong, they did show The Simpsons film in English, which was nice at the time. THREE JIMBOS.
Beijing Capital to Hong Kong 06.03.09
Hmm. I’d asked for ‘Asian Vegetarian’ as my food option, but they gave me cucumber sandwiches. I hate cucumber sandwiches. Also after the glory of TV on the first leg, this had none, plus I’d finished racist epic Gone With The Wind. Dangerously bored. TWO JIMBOS.
Hong Kong to London Heathrow 13.03.09
Was really looking forward to this – films, wine, joy of seeing friends at end of it. Had possibly built it up a bit too much/was too worried about being in a fit state to be sociable at the end – sat in cramped seat while drinking cheap wine and watching a shit film isn’t wonderful. Also I had an epic sleeping pill fail and merely pretended to be asleep as I’d informed the nice old couple next to me that sleeping pills worked without fail, and I wouldn’t want to loose face in front of some elderly folks who I’d never see again. Still, they were a nice old couple, who I actually liked (normally I absolutely despise nice old couples) and y’know, it was okay and I managed to be reasonably sociable at the end (even if it basically seemed to be an almighty drunken conversation about marriage). THREE JIMBOS.
London Stansted to Reykjavik Keflavik 08.04.09
I suppose it is irrational to hold a grudge against an airline for only having flights that preclude you from going out to the pub with Icelandic friends, but there you go, eh? TWO JIMBOS.
Reykjavik City to Isafjordur 09.04.09
Definitely the ricketiest flight I’ve ever been on, though maybe the horror stories were a bit exaggerated. Considering it only takes six hours to drive this exact same route this possibly loses out on the eco-fromt. But still, would be a bit sour to give less than THREE JIMBOS.
Reykjavik Keflavik to London Stansted 12.04.09
While the flight was fairly unremarkable, the fact Anna from Icelandic Music Export simply phoned the airport and had the plane held to accommodate the fact we arrived five minutes after it was supposed to have taken off... well that was just deliughtful. FOUR JIMBOS.
London Gatwick to Basel 03.07.09
Okay, I shouldn’t blame the airline for the fact I missed the morning flight when it largely boils down to the fact I got wasted the night before. HOWEVER a) I’d have made the flight if it wasn’t for a stupid police roadblock – GATWICK IS CLEARLY A HIVE OF DEGENERATE SCUM b) Basel is the stupidest airport in the world, straddling, as it does, two seemingly hostile countries. Also c) I demand to blame somebody else other than me. ONE JIMBO.
Basel to London Gatwick 07.07.09
Much improved, though there’s not much romance to shorthaul really, is there? Anyway, ended in small victory when I remembered how the Gatwick Express was a horrible con and bought the half price, ten minutes longer alternative far to London town. Well done me. THREE JIMBOS.
London Stansted to Katowice 06.08.09
I’d somehow managed to avoid getting a Ryanair flight all year, but finally it happened. Appalling cunts. Playing their godawful ‘this flight was on time music’ so bloody smugly. I mean. It’s the airline equivalent of ‘I went to the toilet and didn’t shit myself’, isn’t it? ISN’T IT? By the by, you would be surprised how busy the Katowice flight is. TWO JIMBOS.
Katowice to Frankfurt 10.08.09
Frankfurt to Edinburgh 10.08.09
Oh hai KLM! There is nothing more magical than drinks and snacks on short-haul. NOTHING. (Apart from 92-year-old-ladies in the year 1971). Well done to KLM for harking back to the golden age of airtravel. FOUR JIMBOS.
London Stansted to Eindhoven 18.09.09
Oh fuck you Ryanair, like 6.55am is a reasonable time. Most frustrating thing about this flight is how very short it is – something like 45 minutes, all of which I slept for. There is nothing for persuading you how awful you’ve been to the planet like a pisstakingly short flight. TWO JIMBOS.
Eindhoven to London Stansted 21.09.09
As above, really, possibly compounded by the fact there is NOTHING TO DO IN HOLLAND (that’s an exaggerated statement and one we shall not engage with). Still the flight was at a more reasonable time, and I was amused to note that they were selling those electronic cigarettes on board. Nobody bought them. THREE JIMBOS.
In conclusion: I got 18 flights this year and am a right shit and deserve to burn for all eternity, except not, 'coz I'll do ten per sent less next year, and that'll be my bit to save the planet.