hidden europe 13

Remembering Cheryl Summerbee

by Nicky Gardner


Cheryl Summerbee deserves to be better known. hidden europe takes a sideways look at one of the more intriguing characters to have emerged from a campus novel. Conceived by David Lodge in Small World, Cheryl works at London's Heathrow Airport. Or rather, she used to work there.

You may not quite realise it, but if you have flown on one of those airlines that still have real check-in desks - you know, the sort of carrier that follows such oldfashioned courtesies as pre-assigning numbered seats to each passenger at check-in rather than sanctioning a hapless scramble for seats on boarding - then you have probably met Cheryl Summerbee.

The legendary Cheryl Summerbee, for there are many of her kind, works for British Airways - or, rather, used to work for British Airways prior to an unfortunate tussle with her employer that resulted in an abbreviated career at Heathrow Airport.

Cheryl Summerbee - our one that is - was wonderful. She had that knack of assessing passengers at check-in, identifying to a tee their fads and foibles and so manipulating the seating plan to ensure that peculiarly compatible passengers might find themselves in adjoining seats.

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