Sunday, 18 September 2011

The hazards of flying

Even if you didn't suffer from aerophobia, there are some non trivial hazards of flying. Missing baggage for example. Or delayed or cancelled flights leaving you stranded in some god forsaken land. Some even allege deep vein thrombosis. Insomnia due to your neighbour's high affliction of stertor could be another. But even the most wildly imaginative sort could not have thought of adding "going to the loo" in that list. But it is now conclusively established that this is a real hazard. Consider the evidence.

Last Sunday Frontier Airlines flight 623 from Denver to Detroit was escorted by F16 fighter jets. Why ?? Apparently two men and a women were seated in a three seater. One guy got up to go to the loo. The other guy stood up.  And the guy spent a "long time" there. That was it. F16s escorted the plane and on landing the three were handcuffed and led off to be questioned. The poor lady did nothing. She was simply sitting and yet was considered suspicious because she sat next to a guy who went to the loo. The wonderfully investigative press even reported that there was a "mile high club" membership application going on in the loo ! We'll let it pass that even a cursory familiarity with an aeroplane loo would convince anybody that such an act is an anatomical impossibility.

American Airlines flight 34 from Los Angeles to JFK was equally bizarre. The F16s were up again. This time, three men were suspected because they were making "frequent trips" to the loo. Apparently there is some standard as to the number of times you can go. For their "crimes" the three were handcuffed and led away.

What about Ryanair's proposals, which thankfully did not materialise, of charging passengers for the pleasure of a visit to the loo midair. Perhaps they might have stuck a notice on the door, not unlike the statutory warning on cigarette packs - "Entering this door would be seriously injurious to your wealth". Ryanair's profit improvement plans didn't stop there. They evaluated removing two out of the three loos on their plane because they could then add six seats, thereby providing an accurate valuation of the service they are providing in giving you a pleasure of a  visit.

All Nippon Airlines tried another tack. They claimed that they were green because they encouraged passenger to lighten themselves prior to boarding the plane. Lighter weights meant less fuel burnt ; so the airline was being very environmentally conscious. Pretty ground crew were on hand just before the boarding gate. Hello; Welcome to ANA Flight blah blah blah. The loo is that way ma'am; if you could make a visit, you will contribute to reducing global warming on our planet. Thank You. Before boarding, please provide proof of your visit !

And, of course, there is poor Gerard Depardieu, the famous, or should I say infamous, French actor. He had many a glass of wine, as any sensible Frenchman would do,  before boarding the plane from Paris to Dublin. And as the plane was about to start, he simply had to deal with the consequences of all that drinking. But no; the stew wouldn't let him get up until the plane was airborne, seat belt signs were off, etc etc - a good 15mts away. What could the guy do. He took the only option - he simply let go. Another instance of the police coming and escorting a passenger out. City Jet, the airline, then rubbed salt into the wounds by tweeting "As you may have seen on the news, we are busy mopping the floor of one of our planes this morning". Another tweet - " We'd also like to remind all passengers that our planes are fully equipped with toilet facilities."

You better be careful, the next time you fly, OK ? There is a new flying hazard.


RS said...

Couldn't stop myself from laughing. You are in full form, sire!!

Deepa said...

:D :D This time on my way back from India, a mom was helping her son go though the motions (literally)! She figured out that she wouldn't be able to fit in with the little boy, so she decided to stand outside and monitor his actions from outside. So for good 15 mins, we could hear things like-

1. Are still sitting on the potty? Yes Mommy.
2. Are you falling off? No Mommy.
3. Are you doing it in the bowl? Yes Mommy.
4. Are you done? Yes Mommy.
5. Are you sure? Yes Mommy.
6. Did you find the toilet paper? Yes Mommy.

And while I would spare you all the details, we all ended up getting a 'potty-101' from this super 'mommy'.

Ramesh said...

@RS - :)

@Deepa - Well, education never stops:)

K.Venkataraman said...

One option is to have coin operated loos. They should operate in such a way, for a five minute rental loo door opens and there is a warning signal with a red light and ringing alarm signal a minute before the door will automatically open. Since there will be many waiting in the queue, no extensions by a second coin should be allowed. Passengers should stand in line only when they are reasonably sure they will be ready when they near the door.

Vishal said...

Hahahaha! Good one Ramesh! I do not know if this can be controlled. Sounds bizarre!

TheMillionMiler said...

Ha Ha. I had the strangest announcement made over the PA system on a BKK-MEL overnight flight. Passengers please do not sleep on the aisles. Apparently on these overniters many folks get off their seats and lie down giving a new meaning to 'lie flat beds' Air NZ has actually created a family seat called the sky couch. Bit controversial as it seems to act as a facilitator for an easy entry to the mile high club. Here is a link to the skycouch

Anonymous said...

He about it. I have had a nightmare once while flying in my favourite sector.
The worst thing that can happen to a person is when you get a seat right in the front in an ATR flight and nature decides to be a little unkind to you and seeks your immediate attention! far so what? you can always heed to the nature's call. Now, listen to the difficult part.

So,you wait for the flight to reach the 35000 ft mark and wait for the pilot to announce that it is safe to unfasten the seat belt.
Ok..ok...just just hold on..I say to myself.

After a few minutes, all the formalities are done and I literally squeeze out of the seat and try to triumphantly head
towards the back.

I am surprised to see two pretty girls, who have so quickly managed to get the snacks cart upto the front! Since it is a short flight, they had to do their job!

"Excuse me", I say sweetly. She smiles back oozing the same sweetness and says 'Please wait mam". Then I rougly calculate how long it would take to reach the Z point. Even if they spend one minute in each row, it would take twenty minutes! No way! I clear my throat a couple of times and say ‘Ahem….This is urgent. I need to rush to the toilet right now please……” .
If you have noticed, there is ABSOLUTELY no way one can get across this snack cart in an ATR, however laterally compressed one may be! So, they had to move all the way to the other end of the plane to make way for me to reach the most wanted place for the next few minutes of my life!

Appu said...


Ramesh said...

@Venkatraman - Ha Ha Ha Nice idea. Will there be a tatkal scheme as well ?

@Vishal - :)

@kiwi - The only thing that can be said in favour of the sky couch is that any attempt at entering the mile high club from there will both result in acute lumbago as well as authentic verification of the application by many of the junta.

@Hema - LOL ! Serves you right for flying in an ATR :):)

Ramesh said...

@zeno - Thou shall remain the very esteemed zeno in this blog. Name changes are not recognised :)

J said...

What specific incident triggered this post - spill the beans (no pun intended)!

Reflections said...

Hahahahaaaaa totally entertaining post;-D!!!!!
And the comments come a close second;-D

Ramesh said...

@J - Ha Ha. It was actually reading the account of the poor lady who got handcuffed because her neighbour went to the ooo for too long. She was Middle Eastern looking and was lamenting that this was racial profiling at its worst.

@Reflections - :)

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