Listening Is Life

, , , , | Right | February 14, 2020

(The plane is sitting at the runway, waiting to take off, and the flight attendant’s giving her normal pre-flight instructions, but for the most part, people are ignoring her. She continues unfazed.)

Flight Attendant: “Remember to put on your own mask before helping children, those who can’t get their own, or those who aren’t listening.”

(Surprisingly, the flight was relatively quiet.)

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Anger Rising, Just Like The Plane

, , , , , | Right | January 20, 2020

I’m moving from a small seaside town in Australia back home to New Zealand. This involves a flight from the small town to Adelaide, Adelaide to Melbourne, and then finally from Melbourne to New Zealand. There are long stopovers in Adelaide and Melbourne, meaning the trip will take the better part of 24 hours.

My partner is staying in Australia for a couple of months to finish out a lucrative contract, so we’ll be long distance for that time. To top it off, I manage to get food poisoning, so I spend the trip throwing up in airport and airplane bathrooms. I’m feeling totally miserable.

Staff have been fantastic and have moved me to the back row of the plane by the bathrooms. The back of the plane is mostly empty, and I have the entire row to myself. I’m on the final flight from Melbourne to home and they have announced that all passengers must be in their assigned seats for takeoff and landing. Being so close to done, I can’t wait to get home and into bed. 

Another passenger has moved to the row opposite me and spread out, despite the air hostess asking him multiple times to return to his assigned seat. She even promises that she’ll save the row for him so he can move back after takeoff. 

The man is getting more and more belligerent and refuses to move, wanting to know why he can’t stay. I can hear staff discussing if they need to delay takeoff and have him removed by security.  

I’m sick, exhausted, and just want to get home. So I snap. It should also be noted that I’m barely five feet tall and I’m wearing a sparkly pink jumper at this point. 

“Listen here, you f****** idiot. They’ve asked you to sit in your assigned seat for takeoff and landing because that’s when the plane is most likely to crash. The likelihood of surviving a crash is slim to none, so the hope is, if you’re in your seat and buckled in, your charred, mangled corpse will still be tethered to it. That way DVI (disaster victim identification) experts like myself can match your body to your seat number as an identification start point and maybe give your family something to bury! Furthermore, civil aviation law requires you to comply with all crew instructions. So, get your f****** a** up and back to your seat before you’re thrown off and arrested, and piss me off further than you already have!” 

The man — and air hostesses — look shocked, but he quietly gets up and moves back. 

I apologize to the air hostesses for my outburst and language. But they tell me there is no need and they can’t have been nicer, bringing me ginger ale and crackers after takeoff. 

Shockingly, the guy doesn’t try to move back to the empty row after takeoff.

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Not Trying To Be A (Buda)Pest

, , , , | Right | January 10, 2020

About six years ago, I went on a family vacation to Budapest on Portugal’s flag carrier. This happened on the flight back home.

After climbing for about fifteen or twenty minutes, the Captain made an announcement.

“Hello. Unfortunately, we will have to return to Budapest to pick up some passengers who did not board. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

We turned back, landed twenty or so minutes after the announcement, and taxied to a gate only for the doors to open and a four-member family to board. They were not famous and they were not important; they were a family on vacation in Budapest, just like mine.

Later on, we found out they made a mistake and entered the wrong bus, saw our plane depart, and spoke to the bus driver who passed the information along for everyone to coordinate the return of the aircraft and boarding of the passengers. It was nice to see that, for a change, an airline didn’t have a “Your mistake, your problem, buy a new ticket, we won’t waste our money with fees and fuel” attitude, but were rather truly interested in getting all their passengers from A to B.

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The Biggest Tantrums Do Not Come From The Babies

, , , , , | Working | January 8, 2020

(When my daughter is sixteen months old, I fly to Vancouver with her to visit my parents. The two-and-a-half-hour flight there is fine, and the visit goes well. Then comes the flight home…)

Mum: “Here, [My Name].” *hands me a brand-new umbrella stroller*

Me: “Um, thanks, Mum, but we’re just about to leave for the airport; what am I supposed to do with this?”

Mum: “It’s all folded up, so you can put it in the overhead compartment, and then you can use it to take [Daughter] off the plane. I have a friend with grandchildren, and she says it’s a great idea.”

Me: “Well, okay. Thanks.”

(We drive to the airport, I get myself and my little girl checked in, and then the two of us get on the plane. I struggle to get the stroller into the overhead compartment. It takes a few minutes, but luckily – due to that rule that “passengers with small children are allowed to board first” – I don’t hold anyone up. I keep looking hopefully at the flight attendant, thinking that she might help me, but all she does is give me nasty looks. Oh, well, I guess she is busy. My daughter and I take our seats. She gets the window seat, and I get the middle, leaving the aisle seat unoccupied, until…)

Passenger: “What? Oh, no. This is unacceptable.”

Me: “Sorry?”

Passenger: *presses button for flight attendant*

Flight Attendant: “Yes, ma’am? How can I help you?”

Passenger: “I don’t want to sit next to a kid. You need to move me.”

Flight Attendant: “I’m so sorry, ma’am; this is a full flight. There’s nowhere to move you to.”

Passenger: “You can’t be serious. I have to sit next to that for two and a half hours?”

Flight Attendant: “I wish I could help, ma’am. I’m very sorry.”

Me: *thinking* “You know, I can hear you.”

(The flight begins. I thought I’d packed plenty of juice and milk for my daughter, but she gets extra thirsty and drinks everything I brought, and then she starts to fuss. I press the button for a flight attendant, but no one comes.)

Daughter: *whimpers*

Passenger: *glares*

(I press the button again, but still no one comes. My daughter starts to cry.)

Passenger: “UGH.”

Me: *presses the button repeatedly*

Flight Attendant:What? What do you want?”

Me: “Could I get some apple juice, please?”

Flight Attendant: “Fine. I’ll be a few minutes.” *turns to the woman again* “I asked around, just to be sure, ma’am, and there are no extra seats. Again, I am so sorry!”

Passenger: “Hmph.”

(My daughter eventually gets her juice and is a lot happier. The rest of the flight is fairly uneventful, aside from the fact that our seatmate is wearing shiny leather pants that my daughter finds irresistible. She keeps reaching across me to try to touch them, which – naturally – does NOT impress the woman one bit. She shrinks back from my little girl as though she has rabies. Have you ever spent two hours constantly pulling a small child’s hand back from something she’s dying to touch and telling her, “No!”? It gets tiring after a while. Finally, we land, and I get up to get our new stroller.)

Me: “Uh-oh – this thing is really hard to open.” *struggles*

Flight Attendant: “Ma’am, you need to get out of the way so that passengers can disembark.”

Me: *near tears* “I’m doing my best; can you help me?”

Flight Attendant: “No, I’m too busy. Hurry up.”

(I finally give up on the f****** stroller and carry it, my bag, and my little girl off the plane to where my husband is waiting.)

Husband: “How was your flight?”

Me: “You do not want to know.”

(I was so glad to get home!)

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They Both Landed On The Wrong Detail

, , , | Right | January 3, 2020

(I am on a flight from Austria to Bristol in the UK. Unfortunately, due to bad weather causing poor visibility, we are unable to land at Bristol airport. Our pilot informs us that we will be diverted to Cardiff, about forty-five miles away, land there, wait about twenty minutes to half an hour, and then take off and try again to land at Bristol. The party seated behind us calls a stewardess over.)

Male Passenger #1: “Can we get off at Cardiff?”

Stewardess: “No. We won’t be going to a gate, just waiting a little while until the weather clears at Bristol.”

Male Passenger #2: “But we live in Cardiff. Can’t you let us get off here?”

Female Passenger: “Guys…”

Male Passenger #1: “It really won’t take long just to let us get off, and we live in Cardiff.”

Male Passenger #2: “If we’re just waiting around, it won’t delay anyone.”

Female Passenger: “But guys…”

Male Passenger #1: “Yeah, nobody will be inconvenienced.”

Stewardess: “It just isn’t possible.”

Female Passenger:Guys! Think for a moment! Where did we leave the bloody car?!”

Male Passengers: “Oh.”

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