THE holiday season is up and running, when families head off for two weeks in the sun.

We flew back to Ireland again last weekend, making a second visit in three weeks, and the change at the airport was remarkable.

Liverpool Airport was packed with mums, dads and the kids, stag groups of lads already optimistically wearing shorts and an early morning beer flush, and hen parties kitted out in explanatory “on tour” T shirts.

“What goes on in Benidorm, Goes on Facebook!” said one.

Now there’s a threat you don’t take lightly. Especially if you’re a professional footballer.

And a team whose matching black tops proclaimed status: chief bridesmaid, bridesmaid, bride’s mother and groom’s mother. The bride could be further distinguished by the veil, tiara and ballet skirt she wore to go through security.

Isn’t it grand to be daft?

Two things struck me.

How times have changed from those simple days of a night out with the girls (or lads) down at the pub. We ended my stag do at Nicky the Greeks in Blackpool when I did a runner because they wanted to chain me naked to a lamp post. The nudity did not bother me so much as the time of year – it was November.

And the mixing of the generations and families – bride, bride’s mother, groom’s mother.

Perhaps Heidi Withers should invite her mother-in-law from hell Mrs Carolyn “Fancy Pants” Bourne on her hen party – and give her a one-way ticket to Mongolia.

You remember Mrs Bourne? The snooty lady who banged off that appalling email to her stepson’s fiancé? She complained about the young lady’s manners. Mrs Bourne, manners start at home, love, and you seem to have missed out.

The airport bars, cafes and lounges, were all thronged with folk embracing the holiday spirit before they had even boarded their aircraft.

Worries had dropped away once they were in Departure. They were committed to the wide blue yonder. Strange how so many of them had also checked in their common sense with their luggage.

This has to be case to pay the food prices flight side. A breakfast bun, consisting of small stale bap and three slices of cold bacon, was £4.50. Yes, I succumbed, too.

Of course, it was ever thus. One memorable year of French air traffic control chaos, Maria, me and our two young daughters were stuck in Manchester Airport. We spent more in four hours than the first four days in Majorca.

Traveller beware! Eat before you go and don’t get ripped off by the holiday spirit.

And we weren’t even going to the Med. We turned the other way and joined the queue for the 35 minute flight to Derry.

“We’ve been through Liverpool Airport three times in three weeks,” Maria told our daughter when we landed.

“Ooh, you jet setter. You must feel like Joan Collins.”

But I’ll bet she never paid £4 50 for a cold bacon buttie.