At Heathrow with Sam and Harry – on our way to Atlanta to surprise Tom…
Amidst all the announcements we are familiar with, suddenly I hear my name. I wait for a moment, all my senses attuned now and then I hear it again.
“Would Mr Dominic Holland make his way to Gate…”
Quickly I gather my belongings as a single word bombards me – one of the most seductive words in the English language – and the word that all travellers live to hear – UPGRADE.
At the time, I am sitting alone while my twins are off, no doubt buying stuff they don’t need – and I am so excited at having been chosen that I don’t bother to wait for them. I have been selected from the riff raff and why not…
Quickly I head for gate. The twins can figure it out for themselves. They’re grown-ups now. They can find their own way to the plane and if needs be, we can meet up on-board. I might even share my macadamia nuts with them.
At the gate, I have my little Spartacus moment.
“Hello, I am Dominic Holland.”
I believe you have a bed for me? Show me the way…
“Yes, Mr Holland. You have been selected…”
I know, I heard you calling. How blinking wonderful. My boys will be green. Is there a pillow menu, I wonder…
“…for an extra security search.”
My face falls.
The BA member of staff has a knowing look. I realise now that they must understand what is at play here – to see such joy and anticipation instantly turn to disappointment. They might even have a book running on how quickly the passengers arrive after their name is called?
I am led to a separate room to be searched. My mind now on how thorough this search might be and whether gloves might be involved and whether I have new pants on…
But it turns out to be less intrusive. Just a bag search. The guard looks bored and my bag contains nothing to change this. He smiles at me and instantly I know that he recognises me – like a sixth sense which all people of any notoriety seem to have. With me, he has my name already and the face obviously fits.
In Atlanta, I tell this story to Tom and he laughs because this always happens to him, he explains.
Yeah, they call me out – and then after the search, they ask me for a photo!
This makes sense I suppose and I wonder if I was chosen for my somewhat familiar name.
But then I cast my mind back to my search and my encounter. The guard pulled a recall face and he smiled broadly.
“You used to be on TV, right?”
I just shrug.
And he did not ask for a photo.