First class travel: no longer for the faint-hearted
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First class travel: no longer for the faint-hearted

The coronavirus outbreak is already having an impact on my jet-setting retirement lifestyle. I suppose I shouldn’t complain ─ but I will.

I spent much of my banking career sitting on a plane, waiting for a plane or running to catch a plane. The first class lounge was the only refuge I had from life, wife and the stress of work.

However, lounges no longer offer stress relief for me. Instead they are becoming a  source of panic, as I found on a recent holiday with Tai Tai.

Earlier this week, I arrived at the first class lounge in Hong Kong airport, looking forward to winding down with the newspaper in my hands, having made my way through security.

But I found myself surrounded by hordes of mask-wearing business travellers, their eyes and their protruding stomachs the only hint of humanity, like lonely cosplayers at a superhero convention. But who cares for my fellow men? As long as I get a coffee, a paper and a nice chair, I am generally happy.

Alas, I got none of the above. The lounge was stripped bare of everything that is not pinned to the ground or the wall, for sanitation reasons. In retrospect, it seems sensible that newspapers might not be shared between the braying masses. But why not allow me a copy and just warn everyone else off?

Things got worse on the flight. No hot drinks were available because they need to be served in a cup. Cups are, apparently, the great battleground of the latest pandemic. We should all be afraid of bats, civets and paper cups.

For the next few weeks, I’ll cancel travel and remain in Hong Kong. I just need to source a black market toilet roll dealer…

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