Do you remember how air travel was back in the good old days? It was what is today called, a “no-brainer”. You never had to think. You drove to the airport, parked your car in any one of the available slots in the parking lot and ambled into the airport carrying your bag. At the counter the pretty booking clerk smiled and you made your request. You took your boarding pass, had a couple of drinks to the pilot’s health in the airport bar, passed through passport control and when your flight was called, you boarded the plane and off you went. All in all, a quick and painless operation.

We, the “Over 70s Group” all living in various retirement homes, had just completed our week’s cruise on the Mediterranean and were now eager to get home. We stepped off the enormous cruise-liner at 9am. We arrived at our retirement home at 10pm that evening after a day of interminable waiting, hanging about, passing through one security checkpoint after another and in total spent an excruciating13 hours to make the three and a half hour flight. This is one for the Guinness Book of Records. I know we were a suspicious looking bunch, old, bent, haggard, leaning on our canes, each of us carrying at least one M16 under our jackets and a couple of hand grenades in our pockets, and accordingly the Barcelona airport security system outdid themselves. First they poked and prodded and then they literally took us – and our luggage – to pieces. True, our cases has been unattended overnight…

Terrorism, in all of its many guises, has changed the world dramatically. What a shame our children and grandchildren never knew the pleasures of early air travel and have inherited an irritating and unpleasant form of travel instead.