COMING home from a jaunt can be pretty tedious. We're all guilty of acting tetchy when we've been killing time in airports and falling asleep in uncomfortable seats, then waking up with a severely cricked neck and creased-up face ...
You can mutter and frown as much as you like, safe in the knowledge that no-one's taking any notice, least of all your nearest and dearest who you're travelling with. But imagine if you're famous and people have got their eyes on you?
Our flight was delayed for 24 hours returning from Rio de Janeiro - though the hardship wasn't too great because when we did finally board, we had business class flat beds. Amazing!
Such luxury usually commands the price of £4,000 per ticket but I managed to get our flights more or less gratis, thanks to the magic of saved-up air miles.
We flew with British Airways and you get real glassware and crockery when it's time for your meal. Later you get a lovely blanket and a big fluffy pillow, your seat reclines to become properly horizontal and you can choose what film you want to watch, when.
You even get a telephone right next to you that you can plug your credit card in to then chat away to your friends and relatives to your heart's content, if you're not tired and you can't sleep. I loved it so much I felt like moving into the plane permanently.
So we arrived at Heathrow and jumped on our connection, also with British Airways, to Manchester. Who should be sitting a couple of rows in front of me but Sir Alex Ferguson and his missus?
They'd been ushered aboard early so they didn't have to queue with the likes of us. Sir Alex looked decidedly grumpy and was firmly glued to the sports pages of the Daily Mail. He and his wife barely spoke to each other.
Mrs F was very smartly dressed, like she'd been at a business meeting rather than a posh social do, and he too was very dapper in a grey tweedy jacket and a black and white stripy shirt.
There was no first or business class on the flight, everyone was seated together, and the stewards made a huge fuss of Sir Alex, constantly asking him if he wanted a tea or a coffee ... well I suppose he is a knight!
Not even their friendly attentions were enough to get him to crack a smile. Before you ask, I didn't do my usual trick of befriending him, I was too scared!
My civil partner Michael had left Rio a couple of days earlier than me and some of the other members of our group - we'd been at the world-famous Carnival.
He's a big Man United fan and when I excitedly told him about Sir Alex, he said: "Well there's no mystery why he looked so glum. He's probably still gutted about Man United's shock defeat at the hands of Sven Goran-Erikksson's Man City on Sunday."
Ah, I see. If I'd peeped at the sports news over Sir Alex's shoulder I'd have no doubt figured this out for myself.