The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Pricking the balloon


The flight was full and it took quite a while for the cabin crew to get the passengers sorted out – no mean feat considering that several had oversize cabin baggage, refused to let other travelers pass by, and some even wanted to have their seats changed.

One particular passenger, seated three rows ahead of me across the aisle, caught my attention. There was a deliberate swagger in his gait as he walked in, he grumbled about the co-travelers who blocked his way, and loudly demanded that the cabin crew bring him some water.

I heard him announce loudly to the person seated beside him that he was a senior manager with a large multinational and was traveling economy only because someone in the travel desk had goofed.

The loud-voiced diatribe went on well past take-off, and I could sense that other passengers were getting a bit sick of it. No one said anything though.

Twenty minutes prior to landing when the aircraft had begun its descent and the seatbelt sign was on, the inevitable happened. A member of the crew, laden with used trays, walked past this person and accidentally dropped a partially full glass of juice onto his lap.

The guy leapt out of his seat like a scalded cat, berated the hapless air hostess for messing up his trousers, and bolted for the lavatory. It didn’t end there. When the purser, who observed the man disappear into the loo, waited outside and enquired about what happened when he finally emerged, the gent let fly yet again about the carelessness of the crew, the apparent lack of service, and more.

The purser, perhaps a veteran of many such episodes, put on a patently fake smile, placed a friendly but firm hand on the guy’s shoulder, spoke a few words of apology, directed him back to his seat, and told him to stay put.

Did the story end there? No, not quite.

Our flight arrived late, and this guy missed his connection. The next flight was eighteen hours later and he would have to cool his heels in the airport.

I think most observers rejoiced at this. And the traveler beside him who had endured patiently for close on two hours told him, “My friend, make as much noise as you want, but no one here cares who you are. Enjoy your walk around the airport for the next few hours, it will do you some good.”

The guy exited the aircraft with the look of a deflated balloon, and those who had watched his pantomime couldn’t hide the grin on their faces.

It takes all types, I suppose.



September 21, 2011 - Posted by | Aviation, Human Behavior | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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