Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A Jet, Yes?

Easyjet are a WYSIWYG airline.

They alternate between professional, no frills thrift at one extreme and rude, obstructive morons at the other.

Flight I got back from Crete on Sunday was the former. However my mood and some of the cretins sitting around me could quite easily have tipped my opinion into the latter category.

For some reason it took an age to get everyone on the plane. Well, probably about 35 minutes but when queuing in 38 degrees celsius heat with no air con, surrounded by yattering, middle class, Team GB-obsessed fat English women...my patience was thinning.

I was one of the last to board so finding a seat was hard. A lot of families had been split up, because in their genius, Easyjet don't regard anyone other than Speedy Boarders as deserving preferential treatment. Once people had started to get seated the stewards began to shuffle the decks, trying to get fathers next to daughters and husbands with wives.

I saw a window seat with a little girl in the middle pew and what appeared to be her father in the aisle. Seat was vacant so they moved aside to let me in. When we took off I thanked my personal gods that I wasn't claustrophobic and tried to have a nap once the jet levelled out.

Kid behind me then began noisily playing a computer game and shouting "COME ON ROONEY!" over and over again. He also kept knocking the back of my seat. I was going to have a "word" when it dawned on me he was probably "special" as his mother kept telling him sternly to behave, which he would for a few minutes, then he'd act like a chimpanzee again. This would have merely marked him as a brat were it not for his constant chatter that veered off on some obscure tangents including how a Scotch egg smelled like it had come straight from a chicken's bum. He also kept saying he'd been to Greece many times before to which his mum reminded him that he'd only been once. I let it slide as he was clearly suffering from at least ADHD and some grumpy guy asking his mother to ask him to be quiet would ruin the kid’s holiday so I just put up with it.

As we’d taken off the little girl next to me had been steadily sipping from a mineral water bottle and her father had gently told her what a good girl she was and when she got home she could choose whatever treat she wanted as she’d been so brave. I sparked up a conversation with him and it turned out she’d bumped into something the day before and made her ear bleed. They’d taken her to hospital that morning and the Greek doctor had put a sponge in her ear and said she was to sip water on the plane if she felt pressure at altitude but to NOT pop her ears by pinching her nose and blowing due to the bleeding.

My grumpiness melted considerably as we began the descent to Gatwick as she took the bottle again and steadily sipped it without a word of complaint or squeak of protest. Her older sister on the other side of the aisle was loudly crying due to the cynus pain but the little one just soldiered on and even smiled when her dad said how good she was and he was very proud of her. Turned out she’s only 4.

As they stood up to go he shook my hand and I said to the little girl “you’re very brave” to which she simply stared at me.

He offered me my hand luggage but I declined. I wanted to be last to get off to imagine what it will be like in a few years when THE CATASTROPHE OF THE EMERALD QUEEN is an international bestseller and I have my own private jet.


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