A new initiative from Heathrow Airport will see staff undergo training in order to talk to passengers who have children with imaginary friends. This, they say, is all part of their commitment to giving passengers the world’s best service, and going that extra mile to delight families travelling through the airport.
They’ve thrown some money at it too. They’ve roped in Chris O’Dowd to do the video. He’s off the IT Crowd. He’s probably not cheap. Do Heathrow have more money than sense? Well, far be it from me to judge….
Now a part of me likes this idea. My kids don’t yet have imaginary friends. Hell my daughter doesn’t even have any friends at all. She’s a bit picky. She’s also 18-months old. My son’s coming up on five, but he hasn’t shown the slightest inclination yet towards phantom buddies. However if they did, then another adult playing along with the fun may well be quite nice.
However another part of me questions where this will end? I mean, once you start playing into their fantasies at the check-in desk does it continue on through security? Can you picture the scene as a six-foot penguin with a bow-tie and a monocle gets patted down, or told it can’t bring raw fish onto a plane. No of course you can’t picture it. Because it’s not there.
How about on the plane? Does Lord Bumpo The Third need his own seat? Oh he does? Well that’s OK then. Heathrow will go that extra mile and sort that out. Now at this point a canny parent would be whispering to their son That Lord Bumpo only travels in first-class, and so will need an upgrade. Oh and you’d better have a word with the chef too, because he only eats fresh Eucalyptus leaves. Well he would, because after all he is a Koala.
I wish them well with their endeavours, I’m sure they are doing it with the best of intentions. But I for one will not be happy, if the day comes where I have to cram my luggage under my seat because the overhead locker is already full. With imaginary suitcases.