Son Sant Joan airport in Palma. | A.G.


OMG! Along with everyone else on the island, I simple can’t believe this ‘extraordinary’ weather we’re currently enjoying. Yet, at this time of year, as Mallorca once again throws open its arms to an exultance of faithful visitors from abroad, I can’t help thinking about the stress and anxiety dished out to our seasoned travellers by airline companies and political ‘procedures’ alike, all instrumental in ferrying happy holiday-makers religiously, to our sunny shores.

Travelling abroad used to be such a fun, truly exciting experience, yet sadly the evolution of commercial air travel has sunk to such a low that the anticipation of arriving at any holiday destination ‘stress free’, with all luggage in tow, has become something of a bygone myth.

From the get-go, a degree of certain apprehension creeps in the moment you log in on-line, book your flight and reserve your ‘allotted’ seats on the aircraft. Accidentally tick the wrong box and you could end up with a 16-piece, monogrammed travel set in faux leopard-print complete with an assortment of illuminated, interchangeable handles. Or a hire-car at arrival that you simply don’t need. Whatever happened to those trusty travel agents where you relaxed in a comfy chair, clutched a glossy brochure to your chest, and smiled as some rosy cheeked enthusiast cheerily organised everything for you! How stress free was that?

These days, even when your on-line booking has concluded with that final, resounding ‘click’, you’re still not entirely certain you have actually booked your flight! Particularly when the booking site suddenly crashes, and you’re left waiting, with baited breath, until the confirmation arrives by email. Ping! Phew! That was a close call!

And heaven help if there’s an unprecedented error, because there is no human available to help or offer a guiding hand or a refund on your alleged booking. I say ‘alleged’ because with current air-travel legislation, nothing is actually set in stone. The airline has advertised a flight to your chosen destination, stated a time of departure along with an estimated time of arrival, and happily taken your money along with extra for a chosen seat allocation. However, airlines apparently are under no obligation whatsoever to deliver those ‘exact’ goods they have promised as long as they offer an alternative or a refund (surprisingly, their terms are quite different from your expectations!)

One particular airline immediately springs to mind - a budget airline operating out of Spain with a growing reputation for bad administration, regular delays, cancellations and seeming lack of commitment to its passengers. Don’t want to name names, but personally, over the years, the big ‘V’ airline has given me so much unnecessary stress with its ‘cavalier’ attitude to performance and delivery I have anxiety flashbacks every time I see their logo.

You might be asking - if one is continually disappointed with a particular product - then why keep booking with such a low performance outfit? Generally, it’s because said airline offers an enticingly wider range of time schedules than other airlines. But now, I am seriously questioning whether a good percentage of these scheduled flight even exist, considering the number of repeated delays and last-minute cancellations.

Is it simply a sprat to catch a mackerel? Quite a ruthless, uncompassionate and totally dishonest concept if that is indeed the case! Yet apparently totally within the law, so it’s always going to be a question of personal choice and naive trust!

Living on a holiday island which prepares to welcome a plethora of excited visitors to our golden, island shores, I cannot help but sympathise with those tourists who religiously put their faith in airlines, airport protocols, and face incomprehensible bureaucratic hurdles which seem to be constantly put in place by local authorities to hinder what could otherwise be a smooth transition to an unforgettable holiday experience. OK! So, no-one knew what a nightmare Brexit would turn out to be!

But industrial action, strikes at airports, baggage handler walkouts, revisions to island policies, attitude, and constant changes to travel regulations and documentation doesn’t exactly give a big, ‘ALOHA’ open arms welcome to anyone heading our way. Yet still they come! Is some strange ‘force’ deliberately attempting to make things as difficult as possible for tourists to visit our island. It used to be soooo easy. So fun! I’m not an expert on tourist economy issues, yet wonder what the island would be without the input of our faithful, oversea visitors! Why has it all become so complicated? Happy holidays!