There probably are more hellish places to be on a Monday night than Heathrow Terminal 3. Guantanamo Bay, I suppose. The less safe parts of Helmand. At a dinner party with Julian Assange. But not many.
I fly quite a bit for work, usually once a month, and I have spent a fair chunk of the past decade in airports. I don't like the places, from the petty security checks (that ridiculous belief that toothpaste becomes less explosive if placed in a clear plastic bag) to the mark-up that Starbucks charge on a tuna melt panini.
But the worse thing about airports is other people and nowhere quite brings you into contact with the great unwashed like T3. First you are forced to go through Duty Free after passport control and have to barge your way past people who can't go on holiday without stocking up on eight bottles of Smirnoff and a couple of hundred B&H.
Then you are squeezed through a tiny corridor into a barely bigger waiting room where you are packed in like turkeys on a Bernard Matthews farm. If you want to walk anywhere, you trip over bags and limbs.
You just about find a seat between two large ladies reading what I imagine they call "books" but seem to feature 100 pages of photos of Katie Price and Natalie Portman, and then you realise that you cannot read the status of your flight on the iPads that pass for departure boards and so you have to get up and barge past the masses again. At least most flights seem to be taking off. God knows how desperate conditions were here during the great snow-in last December.
Oh well, such is the glamorous life of a journalist. In about an hour, my flight is due to take off for Dhaka, Bangladesh, via Dubai, where I will be covering the cricket World Cup. The waiter in my local Indian tells me that Dhaka is an overcrowded city but surely compared with Heathrow Terminal 3 it will be like the Scottish Highlands.
Happy birthday, DCMS
8 hours ago