27 Nov 2021

Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: It’s a real pleasure to fly from Ireland West Airport Knock

Knock Airport

€1.9m in funding has been awarded to Knock Airport

On Sunday last, driving to Ireland West Airport Knock it took me one hour and fifteen unhurried minutes.

On the way down, the traffic was scarce by comparison with the M4. A pleasant change, indeed.

Occasionally I noticed passing undulating landscape, and the journey filled me with thought.

On arriving in Knock I parked in the car park, again a pleasant experience compared to Dublin, or even Shannon.

Of course some of the reason is age, one becomes settled enough to like the quiet life, and one way to escape the quiet life is to travel the M4. Whoosh!

The speed limit can be a source of real worry, in that scenario, if you let such thoughts rush to the front of your brain.

Whereas there isn’t much opportunity to exceed the 100 KM per hour between Longford and Knock.

After parking in the crowded park in Knock, I wandered on into the airport. A surreal experience, it became.

No rushing around, no sense of hurry, no crowded areas, rather like somewhere you’d enjoy spending time, provided you didn’t mind your own company.

Thankfully, I don’t.

Knock is a revelation in terms of attitude.

Whereas in most airports nowadays the attendants at the slow moving security check constantly seem to be shouting - until you travel through New York - that’s when you really hear verbal noise.

In Knock nobody shouts, nobody is hurried, yet nobody misses the flight. Proof, if any were needed that it’s not really necessary for attendants to shout and sometimes even works just as well if they stay calm and allow people to get through the airport in civilised fashion.

I travelled by Ryanair from Knock to Luton, because there’s no other airline working the route at this time of year.

I couldn’t believe that the queue started almost an hour before boarding. Why do people do this? It’s not designed for people, it suits the airline to have people waiting.

Waiting a long time makes the passenger so bored and tired that they hardly know what they’re doing by the time it comes to boarding the aircraft. Consequently passengers often leave things behind them in the perceived rush to get on the plane.

I sat watching as all this unfolded and once again I’m astonished at the way people are so easily made submissive and controlled.

Announcements make people more anxious. Half an hour out as boarding was ready to start the announcer became more and more urgent in the language, and in the way it was expressed.

I could see the queue becoming slightly more focused and perhaps even agitated, but nobody noticed.

They don’t notice because that’s the way airports are run.

As we approached closer to boarding close, the urging became more insistent. If I wasn’t alone, it would be hard for another person to resist walking straight on to plane.

To please the announcer - which is the very purpose of the exercise in urging in the first place.

When I went through with one person following, it was still plenty of time left before takeoff. But that is when the real reason for creating agitation becomes apparent.

Standby passengers. Ah yes, they were still waiting near the gate - a regular occurrence, when a flight is overbooked, as this one was.

The longer one travels and if one is minded to, the more you will learn about the behaviour of airport staff.

They too, are put under pressure from on high.

So the circle of authority is constantly reined tighter!

That said, it’s a real pleasure to fly from Knock, a tribute to the originator, Monsignor James Horan, and his team. He proved what can be done in the middle of rural Ireland when most people on the east coast scoffed at the notion of an airport at Knock.

If they could see the number of cars in the car park, they might realise that there was indeed, plenty of appetite for an airport at Knock.

Maybe it’s another miracle.

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