Flight of Fancy
No matter what our nationality, sexual preference, job status, we all have one thing in common - the flight over. I know there are some Cheap Charlies who come as stokers on Japanese tramp steamers, or who back-pack across Myanmar but how else to get in lots of airline jokes?
At my age, I know I am getting a bit deaf, but I always seem to have trouble with the pilot and his gratingly jovial voice delivered at just the right pitch so you can decipher one word in three. "..weather at our destination is … degrees with some broken
clouds, … we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank…and
remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than … Airlines."
Sometimes it is more disconcerting if you actually hear every word! "Your seat cushions can be used as flotation aids, and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with you with our compliments."
They say the truth hurts, but occasionally, honesty IS the best policy: "As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."
Do you remember the flight attendant who lost it and resigned on the spot after a confrontation with a stroppy passenger? He was an Internet celebrity for days. So what about the pilot being brutally honest about the standard of care one could expect during his welcome message? He opened the flight with, "Delta airlines are pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the business. Unfortunately none of them are on this flight.”
Or the joking pilot - On a small commuter flight one sunny day from Utapao to Phuket, the captain was told that his passengers were nervous about being on a "small airplane." He decided to take action: "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. I have been informed that some of you are nervous about being on a 'little' plane. Well, let me assure you, there is nothing to worry about, just sit back and take it easy. It might be helpful to do some sight seeing to put your mind at ease. Now, if you'll all lean and look out over the right wing of the airplane...NO, NO, not all at once!’
Or the wily Oriental pilot, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Chang Mai, we hope you enjoyed your flight and thank you for flying AirAsia. If you didn't enjoy your flight, thank you for flying Bangkok air.’
And then there are the passengers! The Tourist Association of Thailand announced that 53% of all arriving airline passengers are single males. Of course, this ranks alongside the news that Immigration Officers have all been to charm school. I would estimate, from my observations, that this number is nearer 75% and the rest are families with children suffering from chronic toothache and hyper-activity syndrome. Their symptoms are; nervously drumming the back of your seat with their feet during meals or emitting blood-curdling shrieks thirty minutes after you’ve taken a sleeping pill.
The adults can be just as bad. I always try to get a window seat to be in control of the window blind. Thus I do not have to endure the thoughtless nerd next to me putting up the blind to see where we are and flooding the plane with ultra-bright light at 4.30 am.
From this seat, I can also endure the toilet visits. Like a camel, I can go long periods without watering and can easily manage six or seven hours, no matter how much free booze I get down my neck. If I get an aisle seat, I know the two fat guys next to me will be incontinent, requiring frequent trampling over my toes as they try vainly to squeeze by without waking me. And why are their bladders not in proportion to the rest of their enormous torsos and not in synch with each other?
Before I board any plane, I wander round the Duty Free section (strange how ‘duty-free’ at King Power BKK translates to ‘more expensive than any other shop in the world but don’t mess with our store detectives’). Once there, I douse everything: shirt, under my armpits, crotch, even my socks with various sample aftershaves. I know, therefore, whoever sits next to me will have a fragrant six hours. Invariably though, I get a nervous flier who tries to drench his fear with the aroma of beer and stale sweat in the seat next to me. The stench of long-dead, incontinent badger musk permeates our area and I am always horrified that the attendant might think it’s me.
Even worse than the odiferous passenger is the garrulous, friendly type who wants to flap his trap when you are settling down to sleep?
I’ve found that one of the best ways to subdue this type of passenger is to scare them into silence. "I wonder how they make those windows strong enough to withstand the pressure? Can you hear a hissing noise?" Sometimes a stronger dose is required: "What would you do if a crack opened up in the fuselage?" (I save this for bouts of air turbulence.) If all else fails try raising the blinds a little then grab his arm saying, “Bloody Hell! DID YOU SEE THAT GOOSE HIT THE ENGINE?"
Last word from Anon, ‘Eagles may soar, but weasels never get sucked into jet air intakes.’