Night in an Airport

It’s three in the morning in the airport and I have just been trying to sleep on the floor whilst waiting for security to open. The look I got from the man trying to enter the closed shop was one of distain. It’s not my fault he couldn’t waste his time browsing and spending money. It should all be open 24 hours day. That’s the expectation nowadays.

Everyone here is trying to find some where to spread out and pass the hours till their flight. Yet, there is not enough seats for everyone in arrivals as departures is shut. There are enough seats in the airport but they are controlled by a higher presence. They have the power not the public using the services. But what if we did?

People are evasive of others as they judge them on their suitcase, skin colour or if they have Lacoste or Lonsdale on. It’s a small community in a small confined area yet the judgement of people is still strong and obvious. Every stereotype is here and everyone follows them.

The private security guards tell people they can’t sleep on the floor of the airport and the police are no where to be seen. Shop workers do their piece, selling their labour throughout the night. Some manage it with more enthusiasm than I have at this point. Both are paid to keep the place ticking over day and night.

As I pass through security I’m reminded of borders. You can only come in if you have a ticket – the money and correct passport. If you have anything we don’t like you have to leave it behind or stay the other side of the barrier. The illusion of choice is strange — truth is you have no choice. It’s their way or nothing.

Passing through Duty free you are barraged with adverts for perfumes that you don’t need. Although maybe I do now. Vivid signs, videos and people paid to entice you with free shots of the latest product by an age old brand trying to stay relevant in the market. Promises of cheaper material goods that you hope will make you feel good. Will they? Maybe till tomorrow.

Many of the shops are still opening. W H Smith is stocking its shelves for the £3.99 meal deal. A fast meal for a fast society. The workers filling the shelves probably just have enough time on their break for a meal deal. Their wages are making the company profit in more ways than one.

Some of the designer shops are shut. Even if they were open I could not interact with them. I’m excluded by my lack of funds… for now. Maybe one day I’ll rise to the challenge of earning enough to shop in Hugo Boss. That’s the expectation isn’t it? If I don’t I’ll probably be judged as inadequate or lazy.

Every airport has its national shop. ‘Cool Britannia’. Harry Potter, Paddington Bear, money boxes in the shape of phone boxes or Queens guards. Fly the Union Jack for this is Britain. Buy a waving Queen to show your appreciation for visiting our country. Just don’t slag off our food and we can stay friends. As long as you have money that is.

They work around the clock to keep this place a float, safe and make profit. Yet, the workers here don’t reap the benefits. No free flights or holidays. Maybe a weekend of if they are lucky. Is that all we are allowed? 8 out of 31 days and most of the time less.

One thing that is real in the airport are human emotions. Crying girls splitting with their partners, tired children screaming for validation, workers laughing at customers stressed travelling and of course wary travellers checking the information board anxiously to go on their well earned holiday.

Automation has shown its capabilities. Like a new posh co worker showing off… no one likes them at first but then they aren’t the new guy anymore. It becomes normal.

Checking passports at the border and serving people in Boots. It’s moving fast and makes the airport more modern. Who’s benefit is this for though? Less workers are needed but jobs are still created. I still hate self service tills. I promise there is nothing in the bagging area. I’m starting to think this isn’t for the customers benefit.

The airport is a strange place. It encapsulates modern society. A global machine connecting people from all walks of life all over the world.

Even the fake wannabe celebrities that just walked passed me look lost in this tiny rigid artificial world.

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