The first step on my seven month trip was by train to London and then a flight – firstly to Dubai, and then onto Singapore. I was determined to speak with the first people I sat next to on my train, as well as whoever checked in my bags at the airport.
On my train were Mark and Mandy, American tourists from Michigan in the US. Mark works for the Justice Department and Mandy is a stay at home mom looking after their three kids; one of whom wants to be a soccer player; one a dolphin trainer; and one is too young to answer this kind of question.
Arriving at London Gatwick Airport in the afternoon I was checked in by Lisa, who has worked at the airport for 28 years. (I wasn’t allowed to take photos here for security reasons.)
‘I’d have travelled more when I was younger; got some work experience; and maybe not got married so young. Working here has been great; I’ve learnt key skills – and in particular the importance of a smile. This job (working on the check-in desk) is about knowing people. Some have saved up for years to make a big trip so you need to realise they might be nervous and ensure you are warm towards them.’
And, no, despite this feeling of goodwill I wasn’t upgraded to business class…