In flight entertainment

Last time I blogged about in-flight entertainment, I was referring to the AV system. But I’m back to my old tricks and this time I’m inspired by my fellow passengers.

Not long after sitting down, I’m in conversation with the chap beside me – Jazz. He’s in Marketing, lives in Twickenham, spent two years in India and a year in New York, has travelled extensively with his work, rocking up over 300,000 air miles, and is addicted to Alaskan survival documentaries. Surprising what you learn about someone in a few minutes’ in a confined space! But whilst the conversation is interesting, my attention is soon distracted by the passengers in the row in front of us. 

So Walter is by the aisle. From behind, I can’t see what he looks like, but I envisage a resemblance to the chap next door from the Good Life (not Richard Briers, the other one, the tall one). Walter is greying, going a bit thin on top, but still making an effort with his appearance (he’s wearing Prada specs). Beside him is Gloria; also greying a little, and somewhat shorter than Walter, but I suspect she also tries to make an effort, as her thinning hair shows multiple shades of red and blonde, suggesting to me that she has (or used to) dye it to cover the grey. 

AN: I’m not consciously trying to judge poor Wallie and Glors based on the state of their hair – it’s just that, from the seat behind them, I have little more on which to base my assessment!

Anyway, They don’t seem to chat much (well, not compared to Jazz and I anyway, we haven’t shut up since we took off?!) Perhaps they’re tired (we did have a slight delay on take off)? Or perhaps they’re reading or something? But I soon draw a new conclusion – it’s actually in Wallie’s best interests to say nothing. I come to this conclusion having just witnessed our first food service of the flight.

I’m not actually sure if Glors is vegetarian, has a nut allergy, or is simply accustomed to complaining? But it begins when the choice offered on today’s menu turns out not to be a choice any longer – they’ve run out of beef (we are on the back row of our cabin, so I’m not entirely surprised; like Glors herself, maybe everyone in front of her fancied the beef (I know I did), but clearly Glors isn’t happy with this. She doesn’t want the chicken. In fact, it sounds like she actually pre-ordered caviar, but for some reason, in this seat (we’re in Premium Economy) that particular blend is not readily available. 

Wallie keeps quiet.

When our polite crew member (Elaine) suggests she could try the veggie option (pasta) instead of the chicken, Glors argues her case. That’s not what she wanted (the fact that there is nothing else available, is irrelevant). Diplomatically, and I suspect to show how important they consider Glors’ satisfaction to be, Elaine suggests she speaks to her cabin supervisor to see what could be done… She disappears.

Wallie says nothing.

A few minutes later, as I’m tucking into my chicken, Elaine returns with her cabin supervisor, Shane. Shane begins by showing he has been brought up to speed by Elaine, and relays back to Glors what he understands the issue to be. But Glors is getting hungry. She’s been on this plane for nearly 90 minutes now, and still she’s had nothing to eat.

AN: I actually saw her eat the pretzels they brought round a while ago but, like Wallie, I’m saying nothing, this is far too entertaining…

Before Shane can get a word in edgeways, Glors is guiding his vocabulary with comments like ‘is there no sorry in there?’ for which Shane naturally apologies, as Wallie gently slides an inch down in his seat.

By this point, Glors’ argument is still not entirely clear to me – she’s taking up time in making them run around after her, without actually helping them find her a suitable solution? Instead of accepting that the Beluga she was expecting had not actually been loaded at Heathrow, and as we are now 29,000 feet up somewhere over Scandinavia, it’s unlikely to appear anytime soon; instead of telling the cabin crew (who are trying to help her) that she is hungry, that they should apologise, and that she is not happy; if she gave them a second to propose an alternative, the situation could potentially be resolved?

A third crew member soon approaches, and Jane has a far more businesslike look on her face. Wallie slides an inch lower, and says nothing.

Jane clearly has no need to demonstrate authority, understanding, or anything else. From the look on her face, you know she knows her stuff, and will be able to diffuse the situation, even if it means Glors going down the emergency exit slide.

Jane apologises (tick) for Madam’s hunger (tick) and for the misunderstanding which has caused this. She has now come downstairs from First Class, and has brought their menu with her. If there’s anything on there which Madam might like, they can arrange that. Clearly, as food in First is cooked to order, she may have to wait a few minutes – Glors opens her mouth to complain (I’m guessing that waiting is unacceptable?) – but Sally gets there first, saying that beyond that, there are no other options as we are now 39,000 feet up and not landing any time soon.

Glors is finally in her place. She orders the fish. Wallie gives her hand a little squeeze of approval – god help him if he actually spoke – and Jane disappears, job done.

I am stifling a grin, typing away, suitably entertained. Jazz clocks me writing and hands me his business card, saying “please can I read it when it’s published?”


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