ONCE upon a time, you could call someone a little Hitler and people would know exactly what you meant and no one would go running to complain to the politically correct brigade.

You didn't mean the person you were describing had a penchant for invading Poland, a degenerative disease that made him go insane, and was responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

You didn't even mean the person was a small man with a silly haircut and a daft moustache who had a passing resemblance to Charlie Chaplin (pictured) and Blakey from On The Buses.

You meant the person wielded a small amount of power with dictatorial effect.

So I shall be careful not to use the comparison in case it gets me into hot water.

Sufficient to say that some of the Ryanair groundstaff have never been to charm school or know how to use common sense.

The latest minor incident to annoy me was when I was passing through Derry Airport to catch the plane from Ireland back to the UK.

As everyone who has travelled by Ryanair knows, you can only carry on board one piece of luggage.

If ladies want to take a handbag as well as a small case, the bag has to be put inside the case before boarding and the staff take great delight in having passengers try their bags out for size in small bins.

Many is the passenger I have seen crouched near the gate madly trying to repack their case so that that extra half inch will slide into the sizing-receptacle.

One young chap changed his plimsolls for walking boots and put on three sweaters to get through – and then took them off again on the other side of the gate.

How daft is that? But the staff seem to love to put you through it.

So I should not have been surprised when, as I proffered my passport and ticket, before embarking on the 60 yard walk to the waiting aircraft, that a young uniformed woman stopped me because I had the temerity to be carrying a paperback book as well as pulling a small case.

“Only one piece of hand baggage allowed, sir. Please step over there and put the book in your case.”

It was like being sent to the naughty step while everyone else shuffled past, pleased they hadn't been caught and sent to the headmaster.

But I mean. A paperback book?

If I'd been wearing a jacket, it would have been in my pocket.

But there was no point arguing, so I stowed the book, walked to the aircraft, and took it out again before climbing the steps.

Ryanair make a lot of money because of their cheap fares, but their customer service leaves a great deal to be desired.