Holiday bingo: What to look out for on your travels today

·5-min read
Traveller texting at airport check-in desk - Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty
Traveller texting at airport check-in desk - Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty

With school holidays starting and fully vaccinated British travellers off to enjoy quarantine-free travel to amber-listed countries, British airports look set for a busy few days.

So if you’re looking for a way to while away those (now extended) hours at the airport, try your hand at our new game, air travel bingo, and see how many events you can cross off. Simply award yourself a point for every one of the following you spot – and let us know how you get on.

Round 1

  • Amber-gamblers taking one last check on the quarantine status of their destination as the airplane doors close.

  • Tutting. Well there’s no way we’re actually going to tell someone off about masklessness to their face.

  • Cynical advertising (‘It’s been a difficult year for all of us. If you’re flying to visit relatives at last, put a smile on their faces with Tuberose!’).

  • People dutifully eschewing the seats with ‘Leave this space clear’ signs on them in the departure lounge, and stoically standing instead.

  • Those same people, six minutes later, surreptitiously sliding into those same seats.

  • Everyone – literally, everyone – sticking their heads round the side of the perspex screen at the desk, because with the screen and the mask, who can even understand a word?

  • ‘No more than two passengers in the queue for the toilet, and no standing in the aisle during the flight, please, ladies and gentlemen’ – then literally an entire planeful stood cheek by jowel by unwashed hand in the aisle and by the toilets waiting to disembark the millisecond the ‘fasten seat belts’ sign is switched off after landing.

  • Grown men doing that hopping-from-foot-to-foot toddler ‘I need a wee!’ dance because of the taped-off urinals and consequent queues outside the toilets.

  • Border Force personnel looking even wearier than usual.

  • Border Force personnel making even more perfunctory checks than usual.

Signs marking that only every other seat can be used in airport - Kathrin Ziegler/Getty
Signs marking that only every other seat can be used in airport - Kathrin Ziegler/Getty

Round 2

  • Self-isolation the teenage way (dead-eyed teens scrolling listlessly through their phones with massive headphones on, and trying to pretend their parents don’t exist).

  • Browsing the departure-lounge Boots like it’s Watches of Switzerland because there are no other shops open. (‘Ooh, maybe I would like a new sonic electric toothbrush…’).

  • ‘It’s ok, I’ll take the stairs, thanks. Only eight flights!’.

  • People trying to do that rueful ‘You couldn’t make it up, could you?’ smile the British do in long queues/slightly exasperating circumstances/life-or-death situations, without use of their mouth (look for Les Dawson levels of eye-rolling and some surprisingly expressive nosework).

  • The smell of disinfectant.

  • One point for each: Mask covering mouth but not nose; Mask covering nose but not mouth; Mask covering chin; Mask covering wrist; Mask covering top of head, like Italians do with their sunglasses when they go indoors.

Round 3

  • A ‘triple-snake’ – that’s a queue that’s zig-zagged back on itself three times beyond the area marked out for it.

  • Getting asked: ‘Precisely what time would you like your spontaneous swim on Tuesday? We have a 20-minute slot in the resort’s main pool at 6.40am’.

  • People taking very small and very regular sips from their bottle of water to take full advantage of the ‘You may remove your mask to eat or drink’ loophole.

  • Someone trying to work the tray-table release toggle with an elbow (10 extra points if successful).

  • That ‘Caviar House’ bar joint, desolately empty. Same as usual, in fact.

  • Hospitality staff with absolutely no intention of policing mask rules, thank you very much (well would you if you were on £4.20 an hour?).

  • Venues with a strict social distancing protocol – that dissolves in alcohol. So by 10.30pm strangers are shaking hands, hugging, sharing drinks, the works.

  • Budget airlines taking the opportunity to gouge passengers for more money (‘To avoid unnecessary contact, we now require all hand baggage to fit under the seat in front of you or be checked in. Which will cost £17.99 per bag’).

  • Punctilious observance of rules from unexpected quarters (a rigorous one-way system at the ruins of a 19th-century windmill which receives an average of 10 visitors per year? Sure, why not?).

  • Completely losing track of the current rules/etiquette (‘Are we still doing the elbow-handshake thing? Or was that just Lockdown 2?’).

Teenager at an airport with trolley - Pollyana Ventura/Getty
Teenager at an airport with trolley - Pollyana Ventura/Getty

Round 4

  • Utter panic as you realise you’ve left your mask in the hotel room. It’s not that you’re worried about Covid, it’s that people might think you’re the sort of riff-raff who walks around the public areas maskless.

  • Vaccine snobbery. Having had only one jab is the new ‘wearing own-brand jeans’.

  • People disinfecting their hands at the frequent hand-disinfecting stations. Sounds like you’ll be ticking this one off in seconds, doesn’t it, but just watch: No-one. Ever. Uses. Them.

  • Mask-strap tan lines.

  • ‘Cheerful’, ‘wacky’ or ‘personality’ masks being worn by the grumpiest-looking person in the whole resort.

  • Random areas taped off (so Burger King is a contamination hazard but Starbucks isn’t, right?).

  • The ‘Invisible Man’ (someone wearing sunglasses plus mask plus hat).

  • Hearing: ‘No, sorry boss, I won’t be in again now for another 10 days. On account of getting pinged by the NHS app. No. Yeah. Really frustrating. Sorry, what noise? Don’t know, mate. Well it didn’t sound like an airport tannoy to me. I told you, I’m self-isolating at home.’

  • Someone going ‘full Naomi Campbell’ with the disinfectant wipes on their airplane seat.

  • Patience and understanding. It’s rare, but you will see examples out there if you look for it…

Full house? Tell us about it in the comments section below
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