Riding the Glasgow to Dublin Express

Sometimes in life you end up in places scratching your head and wondering how on earth you ever ended up there. Ryan Air’s Friday night flight between Glasgow and Dublin is one such place and this year, that is precisely where I ended up on over twenty occasions.

With the most random collection of people you will ever come across, the Glasgow to Dublin Express is a sociologist’s dream and (more often than not) my nightmare. The best thing about this hop across the Irish Sea is that it only lasts 35 minutes and the worst thing about it is that it lasts 35 minutes. If you manage to take the edge off by having a drink or two before boarding this airborne version of “Night Shift” meets “About Last Night” you might find the antics of your fellow passengers quite entertaining, but sober you will likely want to set your hair on fire.

If Geordie Shore ever started their own airline, I imagine that Ryan Air’s 10:20pm Glasgow to Dublin would be pretty much it.

I guess Dublin must be like the local Vegas to the Scots and Northern English and in the terminal I became quite adept at spotting people who would later be boarding my flight. Rotund women in tight spandex, sporting neon pink penises on their heads were a dead giveaway. As was the guy dressed in a green dinosaur jump suit complete with fanged hoodie and the bunch of tipsy middle-aged guys wearing identical t-shirts emblazoned with “I’m with Jack”. And then there was the boisterous “best man” donning a bright pink tutu…

On one flight, I was seated next to a fresh faced American exchange student who was heading to Dublin for the weekend as a break from her studies in Stirling. Next to her was a friendly drunk Irishman (seems to be in the Irish DNA that no matter how drunk you’re still friendly) who was giving her pointers on what sights to see. The man had clearly never heard of personal space and as he kept sputtering drunken tips into her face, she gave me this slightly shell shocked and wary smile. I figured she was getting off lightly because she could’ve been seated a few rows back next to the rowdy bunch of Scottish rugby supporters in kilts who were hitting on anything that moved. For the young and over-makeupped hosties it was like running a gauntlet every time they had to walk the aisle past them. The only thing this scene was missing was John Belushi burping loudly and smashing beer cans against his forehead.

Another amusing thing (or not) about the Glasgow to Dublin express is that if you are unlucky enough to be delayed, the boarding process is usually supervised by several police officers. Presumably to peel off any overly rowdy stags or hens who have been whiling the delay away in the terminal bars. Although the standard for being overly inebriated must be set pretty high, as I watched one group of Scottish lads prop up their dead drunk buddy like a scene out of “weekend at Bernie’s” and slip him past the gate agent.

Also Sandwiched between the bachelors, bachelorettes and Irish businessmen returning home from the week in Glasgow, was a never ending stream of Irish dancers returning from some competition holding their trophies. Irish dancing must be huge in Scotland because every week there would be at least a couple groups of dance kids dressed in tracksuits with their hair tied up in tight buns returning to Ireland.

If I learned one thing during weeks on end of crossing the Irish sea on the Dublin express, is that there is no greater equalizer than a single class airline offering the only jet service between two cities. People who would normally never choose to spend time together under any circumstances are forced into each other’s company by the sheers physics of getting from point A to point B. Check your airs and graces at the door, for we are all the same once we enter this Dublin bound aluminium tube in the sky.

FT

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