Flying to Dublin from Riga means flying with Ryanair. It also means travelling with a planeload of Latvians
fleeing the country off to visit loved ones in the Emerald Isle. While this may not sound like the most thrilling prospect in the world, there is a definite advantage.
If you’re ever in doubt as to the nationality of the other passengers you’re flying with, there is a sure-fire way to tell if they are Latvian: wait until the cabin crew announce that they’re going to start the inflight refreshments service, then listen for the rustle of tinfoil. Latvians are far too
tight clever to spend their hard-earned cash on a ham and cheese ‘panini’. No, no, they’ll bring their own food with them, thank you very much. This is great as it means that, no matter where you’re sitting, the wine will be beside you in under a minute. You’ll never see a trolley rattle down the aisle so fast on any other flight – it’s a wonder the stewardesses don’t get whiplash.
I can handle flying Ryanair. I can navigate the quagmire of the online booking process. I can cope with the cattle call at the gate, the garish interior of the planes, the non-stop sales attempts, the non-reclining seats, and yes, even the ridiculous trumpet blast that announces that ‘Yet another Ryanair flight has arrived on time’. What I can’t deal with is the fact that Latvians CLAP every time a plane lands.
Why? Why do they do this? It’s the pilot’s job to land the plane. It’s really the least he can do considering the only other option is a raging inferno. Do you clap when a waiter gets your order right? Do you clap when your doctor prescribes you antibiotics? Do you clap when the cashier at Rimi gives you back the right change? They’re doing their jobs, just the same as the pilots are, so why not? How do you decide who to clap and who not to?
I flew home for Christmas a couple of years ago. It was a particularly harsh winter with pretty much the whole of Europe under a blanket of snow. Naturally, there was no problem taking off from Riga Airport. The Latvians are used to snow. The problems started as we were approaching Dublin, and when I say ‘problems’, I mean that the airport closed. We were redirected towards Belfast – ten minutes later Belfast Airport closed. We were sent to Glasgow Prestwick and were finally able to land.
What did the Latvians do? They CLAPPED. I wanted to stand up and scream, “What the **** are you clapping for? We’re not even in the right ******* country!”
It seems to me that they’re clapping the wrong people anyway. It’s far safer in the skies than it is on the streets of Riga. I think I’m going to start clapping the bus and taxi drivers who deliver me safely to my destination far more often.
Are you with me Latvians? Hopefully, together we can spread ‘the clap’…