Sunday morning and I'm in the BA lounge at Gatwick, en route to France, specifically Bordeaux, where I'll take a TGV for the two hour journey to Poitiers. It's a little convoluted but way more civilised than enduring the combined ordeal of Shabsted and Ryanair in August.
Ever since I arrived in France four years ago, like most of my friends, I have used Ryanair, not just because it is (sometimes) cheap, but because it's the only carrier operating from Poitiers. But a couple of weeks ago, Ryanair reached, what was for me, the tipping point.
Reading about the chaos at Shabsted on one of the busiest weekends of the year - with only eleven baggage drop desks open for 250 flights - I decided I wasn't prepared to put up with Ryanair's no-frills approach to customer service anymore. The penny-pinching, kilo obsessive, luggage fascism is one thing, but joining a two hour queue to drop my bag off and possibly missing my flight as happened to David Dimbleby and countless other passengers? Non merci.
Interestingly, a single club class ticket with BA to Bordeaux costs from £135 and entitles you to TWO check-in bags, weighing up to 23 kilos each. For those of us who travel with lots of luggage, this is not only way more civilised but more cost effective too. (When I last looked Ryanair was charging approximately £100 for today's flight and with excess luggage charges at £15 a kilo, I would have been looking at an additional £150 or £250 for a single trip on the brutal yellow and blue airline). It was, as they say, a no-brainer!
And so far, my trip has been a pleasure. Provided it isn't too much hassle to get from airport to railway station at the other end, BA will be getting my business in future. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to say, Mr O'Dreary: you're fired.