The doors slid open and the first long-haul survivor shot out: a business type with laptop and suit bag – a gate-lounge veteran – full of grim purpose as he power-strode to the taxi rank. Then came another just like him, his stunt double perhaps, silking thousand-buck shades from an inner pocket as he emerged into the sunlight. A few other purposeful types followed, full of youth and vigour, backpacked, baseball-capped, moneyed and logoed. Then the flow stopped. There was a moment of stillness, expectant silence. The letters on the arrivals board shuffled. A cleaner in a hi-viz tabard trudged past with a wheelie bin. And then it became clear what the others had been fleeing.
The doors slid open again and a seething mass of bodies and luggage trolleys spilled forth: families, old folk, suburbanites, the morbidly obese. On they came in twos and threes, dead-eyed, mouths agape, dragging themselves bodily towards daylight. Limping and shuffling under the burden of cases and holdalls, slung cameras and duty free bags stuffed to bursting. They twisted and craned this way and that, seeking out fresh brains or, failing that, a lift home.