I refuse to pay more than about £100 to sit in a tube for several hours, no matter how far it travels or how interesting the place at the far end, and even if they let me sit by the window and look at the clouds and, with extreme luck, at the beginning and the end of the journey, some actual views of earth. So until now, and given that no one else has thought it worth paying for me to visit, I have resigned myself to never actually seeing the (now sadly truncated) towers of Manhattan and the depths of the Grand Canyon (to name the two American things I most want to see before I die), plus whatever else American has to offer, such as those peculiar shaped small mountains in the desert wherever those things are, nice people, Carnegie Hall, an NFL football game, etc. But now, via the invaluable Transport Blog “In Brief” section (April 28th), I have come across this:
Transatlantic flights for as little as £60 could soon be available under a deal being forged between a German airport and US carriers.
The managing director of Cologne-Bonn airport, Michael Garvens, says he has been negotiating for several weeks to establish the service, which would take low-cost travel into a new realm.
Under the proposals, carriers such as Hapag-Lloyd Express and Germanwings would fly passengers from Cologne-Bonn to New York, Chicago and other destinations in America and Canada for as little as £60 per stretch. The deal would require passengers to pay for refreshments and to book online.
“We are currently holding concrete discussions with American carriers,” said an airport spokesman. The airport said its goal was to combine the strengths of budget airlines.
Concrete discussions, no less. (Interesting that “concrete” in this connection means a discussion that is actually going somewhere. Often “concrete”, applied to conversations, means the opposite of that.)
Two possibilities suggest themselves. Either Cologne-Bonn to America will shortly be followed by (e.g.) Stansted to America, or Stansted to Cologne-Bonn by Ryanair or scumbagair or reallyeasyjet or gojet or whatever can be stuck on the front of the journey, and I could be in the USA for something around or not far above my £100 limit.
The world is getting smaller.
So, now, who will pay my American hotel bill and cab fares, or put me in their spare room and feed me for a fortnight, having collected me from the airport? Some pocket money would be nice. A few speaking engagements (but not too many), some TV and radio appearances in which I can air my opinions to the American masses and become an instant celebrity, maybe some girl friends for the duration (see the Kris Marshall scenes in Love Actually for details), …
Who will start the bidding? America is the land of opportunity, right? So America: prove it. Show me some opportunities. (And please: no “we will pay this much for you to stay at home” nonsense. Well, actually, yes, that might be good too.)