Thomas Cook: A Protest Poem

This is because complaining to customer service, requesting staff be better supported to deal with bad behaviour (which costs money), or suggesting ‘safety-first-flying’ might come before maximising profit, would achieve nothing.

So instead I resort to writing appaling poetry.

Sadly, despite the best efforts of TC staff, I’ve still never felt so unsafe on a flight before as I did between Manchester and Antalya because the dangerous and unacceptable behaviour of my fellow passengers was left unchecked:

Inside this yellow-hearted aluminium tube,

we meet a congregation of consumers

who decant

unholy waters

into mixers.

Meanwhile their children

spread rubbish up and down the aisle,

their mouths hungry for food of little

importance to their alcoholic parents.

‘This is what happens,’ I hear someone say

‘when holidays are sold off cheap.’

Yet income level and respect,

are absolutely not related.

Before we even land

the alcoholic adults stand

and hurl their cases to each other

in the body of this still-moving plane,

ignoring pleas from staff entirely untrained

in asserting safe authority.

‘Sit down,’ I beg, ‘it’s dangerous,’

remembering all-too-well that searing spinal pain

from when a most impatient man dropped his

kilograms of stuff atop my head

without apology

several years ago.

Immediately I’m ‘fucking’ this-and-that

and ‘need to get a grip.’

A full-grown man reduced to tears

by a mother swearing proudly

in front of all her kids.

Kids who look on, laughing –

threatening like their father.

What world is this we live in

where meaningless stuff-we-own

is more important

than delicate skeletal and emotional structures

of our fellow men?

I imagine Mr Thomas Cook

who founded this here company

to ferry friends affordably

to Christian pilgrimage abroad,

his worm-eaten face

horrified in his Leicester grave

by his passengers’


selfish capitalist rage.

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