Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Up, up and away with you

This week everyone seems to be having problems with aeroplanes. Three people got into a fight on a Virgin Atlantic flight to Barbados, and have been banned from the airline for life. (One of them is 76, so that's less of a problem for him than his middle-aged daughter and son-in-law, but it's not clear how they're going to get home again. Maybe this is a scheme to emigrate to Barbados on the cheap, because they're too violent to be flown back to the UK by anyone.)

A guy in the US was taken off a plane for swearing. Not swearing at the flight attendants, mind. After boarding the plane was delayed by 45 minutes, he complained to another passenger about how long it was taking them to shut "the fucking overhead bins". Police were called, the plane taxiied back to the gate, and he was removed.

Now, I don't think flight attendants need to endure verbal abuse, but taking umbrage at somebody making a flippant remark to another passenger is a bit rich. Are the cabin staff on American planes such delicate flowers that they'll wilt before a single Anglo-Saxonism? I hope they never encounter anyone from the quaint Austrian village of Fucking...

Perhaps we're not hearing the whole story. Perhaps this chap from Brooklyn wasn't making one judicious use of the f-word as a badly-placed adjective, but in fact rolled onto the plane on a carpet of curses. Or perhaps people at airports are much more sensitive. It's the change in air pressure, perhaps.

(I've got a little experience of this. Back in 2002, we flew from Geneva to Gatwick with a friend with a broken ankle, and Easyjet didn't get round to supplying a wheelchair at the gate in London. Not known for his restraint at the best of times, he was turning the air blue like a recently redundant costermonger (especially when his brother offered to put him on a luggage trolley). I was a hundred yards away when a hatchet-faced woman in a hi-viz jacket came up to me and told me "that was completely inappropriate language for an airport."

Well, it seems a bit inappropriate to me to scowl at somebody who isn't swearing, rather than confront the person who actually was polluting her hearing, and if it's not appropriate to swear while staggering through an airport on one working leg, I wonder when it is. Ah, the joy of nostalgia.)

Finally, a man on a plane bound for Berlin took all his clothes off and locked himself in the toilet. Which means we now can make all sorts of jokes about concealed weapons, I suppose, although that would mean we didn't remember the Arabian bum-bomber from a few years ago.

But seriously? Is it something in the air?


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