Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Flight Entertainment, by JD

JD recalls fun aboard a Spanish jet...

Everybody who has travelled will have a tale or two about the weird and wonderful things that happen. Amusing tales, scary tales, strange tales…..

In over thirty years of travelling and probably 1000+ flights I should have kept a log of all the things that have helped make the journeys interesting and entertaining; missed connections, delays, ‘firm’ landings, turbulence, lightning strikes (three so far), scared passengers as well as mad cabin crew.

(If you are wondering how I could reach 1000 it’s because I live nowhere near London which means I have to take two planes to go anywhere and two more to return. And when I have needed to make a day trip to, for example, Zurich or Frankfurt it can mean four flights in one day, two there and two back, So they quickly mount up.)

Almost all of my travelling has been work related. A job in Madrid involved periodic short viits to Cairo. On one of these visits, after boarding and settling down, I then wandered along the cabin to ask the stewardess (am I still allowed to say stewardess?) for an aspirin or something for my hangover and we had a chit chat about nothing in particular, as you do.

Back to my seat and it was seat belt, safety routine and away we go. Then it was drinks, duty free trolley, meal, wine, more wine, coffee, brandy and later it was blinds down, dim the lights and time for the in-flight movie. I am not much of a movie fan so I relax into my usual semi-comatose tranquility with only half an eye on the screen.

And then – Ding!

“Cabin crew; twenty minutes to landing.”

Oh. Shurely shome mishtake. I wasn’t really paying attention but it seemed to me that there was about half an hour left before the end of the film. I must have misheard but then the bustle began. Cabin lights on again, clearing away empty glasses, checking overhead lockers, seat belts fastened etc, the usual. The film was switched off and then we landed.

Well, that was a new one. Iberia always keep you on your toes, you never know what to expect.

Three or four days later, having done whatever it was I was in Cairo for, it was time to return to Madrid. Lo and behold it was the same crew and the stewardess recognised me. “Hola de nuevo, JD, como estas?” and we had a chat and I asked her, “Will we see the end of the in-flight movie this time?” She laughed and said, “Don’t worry, no problem. Now we are better organised.”

So I settled down and as above; take off, drinks, duty free trolley, meal. wine, more wine, coffee, brandy. In flight movie time once more and again I lapse into dozy contentment, half an eye on the screen and mind in neutral.

And then………

The film snapped or the projector broke down or something and we ended up with a blank screen (this was in the olden days before digital video etc). The crew and the other passengers must have been dozing too because I don’t think anybody noticed. And we carried on cruising home, ‘entertainment’ free in blissful quietude, until we landed in Madrid and returned to the hurry-up of normal life.

The in-flight wines were better and more reliable than the in-flight movies. Iberia have got their priorities right, they know what is important to their passengers.

In case you think I am being unfair and critical of Iberia, I am not. They are one of my favourite airlines. Unlike the Barely Average competition, they employ real humans and their First Class really is first class.

Wherever and whenever you are travelling can I wish you all ‘buen viaje’.

The above piece first appeared -with visual supplements - on Nourishing Obscurity here.

1 comment:

wiggiatlarge said...

I used to love flying but today I loath the whole process and try to avoid it.
My worst experience was utterly bizarre, having boarded a flight to Nairobi fro Heathrow and taken our seats, a man came struggling up the aisle towards us with multiple bags, but what was worrying was a cloud of BO was eminating fom him even at some distance, furtive looks from seated passengers as all were wondering who was going to be the unlucky ones to have to suffer 14 hrs of that next to them.
We breathed a sigh of relief as the man sat down three rows ahead of us though 'it' still wafted back on occasions.
Half way through the flight a group of young men in the row ahead of us started to raise their voices and they were spraying deodorant in the direction of said man, the extra protection was because the man was not finished in his quest to euthanase everybody on board he had taken his shoes and socks off and was picking his toes, never been so relieved to vacate a plane.