British Unfairways

18/07/11 -- A highly pleasurable but whirlwind trip to Kiev was badly marred by severe difficulty getting home. Upon arriving at the front of the queue at check-in at Kiev airport on Friday I was confronted by a surly British Airways employee telling me that "computer says niet!"

Think of a heavily lipsticked Arthur Mullard in a BA blouse and you are somewhere close. I was reliably informed that "all Ukraine women are absolutely gorgeous" and so they were. Except for this one. In fact I would go as far as to say that she made MrsN#1 look like Keira Knightley.

"So what am I supposed to do?" I asked.

"Wait. Maybe your name will be on the list in five minutes, ten minutes, I don't know," she unhelpfully replied twiddling her moustache. Only now actually do I consider that maybe she wasn't a she at all. I'm sure that there are some ugly post-op transexual shemales kicking around Eastern Europe just as there are in Royston Vasey. Just my luck then to have landed up in this queue I thought.

Still, there's an hour and a half yet until the plane leaves, surely my name is going to appear on the list by then isn't it? I tell you what I'll do, I'll look for a BA desk. There isn't one. OK then, I'll queue up all over again in that queue over there, the one for the attractive blonde lady who is smiling and ruffling little kids hair, she'll let me in won't she.

"Computer says niet!"

Jesus wept. There's only half an hour to go to departure now. Look I've got my booking reference and printout and everything. Yes I know it's not an actual ticket, I haven't needed and actual ticket when I've flown anywhere since about 1995.

"The only way you can get on this plane sir is if you buy another ticket. My colleague says, I don't know, some problem back in UK, I don't understand." You and me both sister.

"You go here to ticket desk, it not far, run, run. Plane leave in 25 minutes."

Bugger, bugger, bugger.....

At the ticket desk: "You cannot leave Ukraine unless you buy ticket, this ticket not valid."

"Right then so how much is that?"

"4,750 Grivnas" (They don't spell it like that but that's what it sounds like).

At this exact moment in time I neither know nor care how much 4,750 Grivnas is, I just want out. 4,750 Grivnas turns out to be more than I paid for my entire round trip, so no surprises there then.

"Thank you sir, have a nice day..."

I'm the last one on the plane narrowly avoiding the slow handclap.

Needless to say BA have had a stiff memo over the weekend. Needless to say they haven't yet got back to me. Needless to say their switchboard number is experiencing a high volume of traffic and maybe I would like to try again later. Needless to say that is due to hundreds of other similarly stranded passengers getting fleeced around the globe.

The ball's in your court, BAstardos.