December the 6th is a holiday here in Spain and is known as Constitution Day. Celebrating the anniversary of the country’s current democratic constitution that was installed in 1978 after the fall of the Franco dictatorship. With the present problems in Spanish politics you might be forgiven to think, is there a possibility we’re going return to those dark days? Now I could carry on but politics really isn’t my bag and I thought why bore you any more than I already do.

As it’s a public holiday it was standard to find out that the flight prices for this week were horrendous, so I decided to go back to the UK last week for a couple of days to see my family. Why is it in the winter they make you walk miles to the gate at the airport when the rest of the gates that are closer are closed? I wrote in October that the age of the No-Frills airline had ceased to be and they are doing their best to rip you for whatever they can get. More about that later!

As I was only going for a couple of days I decided on the airlines ‘small bag policy’. I watched with great interest one staff member at Palma airport who was like a hawk stalking his prey trying to catch anybody he could with the wrong sized bag. I’m sure these people get off on causing misery to others and I’m sure they’re probably on a commission to catch as many people out as possible. That stand they have at the check-in desk has definitely got smaller, you’re lucky if you can get a Lidl paper bag in one of those things. But I was fine with my little Nike bag that I’d borrowed from my Son and had used on countless occasions throughout the Summer.

I had been offered a ticket to see the Arsenal in the Championship League that night but I was worried that if I landed at 5pm which I was due to do, I’d be hard pushed to make it to the theatre of dreams by 8pm. Well if 'London Stansted' was actually in London and not in deepest Essex then maybe I could have done. As I left the plane I was greeted by a Siberian temperature of minus something. When you’ve been used to 20 degrees and above all year in Mallorca, this was quite a shock. Having picked up my hire car and safely negotiated the first roundabout which is always a nightmare when driving on the other side of the road, I was on my way up the M11 to Cambridgeshire. Or so I thought. All of a sudden we ground to a halt and we didn’t actually move again for a whole hour. I managed to listen to the whole Arsenal game on the radio before I reached my destination. Visiting and spending some time with my mum aka the Duchess, my sister and friends is always great but never long enough.

And so to my return. Now most airlines encourage you to download their apps so you can do everything on it but they are different when it comes to checking in. With some you can check-in when you want but with one particular one if you choose not to buy a seat they won’t let you check-in until 24 hours before. At that point i’d been asked a thousand times whether i’d prefer to pay for a seat which I politely declined. But this time something new occurred which hasn’t happened to me before and is obviously another one of their stealth taxes.

A message came up on my phone which read "This is not a mobile boarding pass, you must collect your boarding pass at the airport check-in desk." Another message popped up which read, "Get your boarding pass now and avoid queueing at the airport by adding a seat". Or otherwise known as, we know you’ve declined to pay for a seat a thousand times so we’re going to stitch you up and make you wait at the airport for a boarding pass. Which I dually did but what was the point and what happened to us beginning to become a paperless society? This was a story that was picked up the mainstream media, the Sunday Mail had a story at the weekend and BBC news contacted me for a similar story they were running.

It didn’t end there. That trusty Nike bag which I’d travelled with all summer with no problems all of a sudden wasn’t the right size for Mrs Jobsworth at the check-in desk. There are other names I could call her but she wasn’t having any of it. I asked why she hadn’t stopped the guy in front of me, "oh he’s priority" she snootily replied. It was pay £46 or start walking so I had no choice. That £46 was in fact more than I paid for my flight and I’m sure that when I scanned my boarding card a message came up on her computer saying. "Passenger refused to buy a seat even after we made him wait to get his boarding pass so feel free to stitch him up!"

In a week when Shane McGowan sadly passed away "Happy Christmas your arse" was a perfect riposte when handed my receipt. It might be Christmas season but goodwill to all men isn’t a message that this airline is sending.