Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
As I was sitting on an Air Canada “Express” plane last night, waiting for a “ramp crew” to produce a nonexistent ramp — the plane was a turboprop about two feet off the ground; the built-in stairs did nicely, but apparently we needed three “ramp crew” to smile at us and point us into the terminal ten metres away before we were allowed to exit the damn plane — I was pondering how “Express” has somehow become a synonym for “inferior PITA version of what used to be”.
Ford Prefect: How are you feeling?
Arthur Dent: Like a military academy. Bits of me keep passing out. Ford? If I were to ask you where the hell we were, would I regret it?
Ford Prefect: We’re safe.
Arthur Dent: Ah. Good.
Ford Prefect: We’re in a cabin of one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.
Arthur Dent: Ah. This is obviously some strange usage of the word “safe” that I hadn’t previously been aware of.
Air Canada “Express”. Is this what Jazz has become? Except on Jazz you could get hot drinks, and you could gate-check your bags. Neither of these conveniences were available on this “Express” flight, so my perfectly legal carry on needed to be wedged very firmly under an empty seat across the aisle since they’ve apparently made both the overhead bins and the underseat area too small to fit normal carry-ons. And on a two-hour flight after five hours of meetings and a four-hour drive, we couldn’t have some tea, since they appear to have dispensed with all heating elements onboard. Then when we arrived we had to wait ten minutes before the “ramp crew” was able to supervise our descent of the three steps to the tarmac.
I’m fond of Holiday Inn Express hotels, but they’re inarguably the inferior, less nice version of Holiday Inns.
Lately my wine club has instituted an “Express” line for members. Before this line, I could walk up to the (enclosed, covered) warehouse loading dock, hand them my pick-up notice, wait three or five minutes then walk away with my wine. Now I have to go into an office, wait in line, have someone peruse my ID, wait for that someone to fuss about on the computer, and eventually be sent outside to a distant door far past the loading dock to wait outside in the rain for my wine. I have yet to spend less than twenty minutes on this “express” process.