Thursday, July 26, 2012

you know that feeling when you hear...

"all doors in flight and cross check".....right!, lively now dart across and get that free seat you´ve been eyeing since you sat down next to jumbo in 19B...its like a know you can´t move till the green lights watch and wait for that magical announcement...of course yore stuffed if you made the mistake of going F on a day are doomed ! seat chequers for you tonite....

"gentlemen start your engines."

..check out the others on the grid...14B still messing around with his belt, 14A eyes shifting, edgy on his seat...bugger he is three rows nearer than you...of course you could ruin the game by...please miss may I move to that free seat please ?....but thats the whimps way out !

Now you´re ready, checked the approach, silently going through the body check motions, slip and slide past, just as the last vibrations of the tannoi echo through the cabin..before the inane..."this aircraft is equipped with 6 emergency exits."...flight instructions for non-initiated!, anyoe worth his salt can tell you the layout of an airbus A300 stretch in his sleep.

all doors in flight...and before the cabin crew can thumbs up ....youre in, grabbing that extra cushion on the way..straight what you think...window seat...nor the aisle...but the middle seat,,,6B....Yes, Yes...guess who is getting his head down on this two hour hop ! no one would want to join you why ?..what would be the point.......B´stard you hear him can read his mind..."if he would take either the A or C but no B....little does he know you´ve planned it.

(tip: feel behind the arms there is a small clip release and the arms fold right up..push the seat belts under the seat off, tie loose, window blinds down and...all doors in flight..

Sunday, July 15, 2012

now wouldn´t that be perfect !,,as a kid I always thought, "how the hell do they lift off...and in the case of Thunderbirds ..nah never get off the ramp!
„Would you mind listening to the end of this gentleman’s story“

You all know him,..the chap, preferably on a night flight, with you in your favourite 6F sleeping seat, who has to tell you his life´s story.. as if you care, but polite as you are you keep him amused before, during and after dinner.

To be fair, I´ve met some really astounding people on planes, rarely afterwards though, as most , pleased as they are to force their contact details on you,  do not exist in after flight life….leading to a belief that some have visiting cards that are pure dummies, allowing them to have a interesting, exciting life of their own as long as they are flying without the fear of being “caught” once those wheels hit mother earth…

But back to our jailor passenger, whose occasional flashes of silence make his conversation perfectly delightful, and his tales of success, grandeur and acquaintances’, which according to his list would make anyone proud, and that from a travelling mid level manager for somewhere out west…you suffer…and wonder how on earth you can shut him up…when inspiration strikes….

Calling over the airflightattendantperson you calmly ask, whilst legging over the chatty chap sitting next to you on the pretence of heading for heads,…..or what ever is the true air nautical word for the tiny cabin in which one relieves oneself from both these passengers and the port wine….you utter the most famous of expressions..hailing from a member at a London club if I recall!..

„Would you mind listening to the end of this gentleman’s story“

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Getting an upgrade… really quite simple…starts with your FF card registration.
Most of the newly wedded flyers applying to be a junior FF are of course both honest, and have too much pride…they are after all Managers….regional, area, specific or otherwise…that’s why they are allowed to fly business in the first place.

So off they go and fill out the forms…Occupation: MANAGER…smirking and smiling they don’t realise they have just committed the ultimate failure…doomed to never upgrade unless they have played the points game….collecting bravely, suffering all those long flights to go from blue to silver to GOLD, before they have enough miles to actually waste on taking an UPGRADE…for what?..they are already flying business thanks to their bosses´ generosity.

Do they use up all that hard earned miles to up to First…three years of suffering to fly one stretch in First, and then what happens…as it is a day flight…..and under 6 hrs…the airline uses the oldest planes which are due to be flogged off as first rate equipment to those states that believe having an ex-european run and maintained plane will enrich their fleet with at least one in which the seats recline, lights work and the toilets aren´t stuffed.

And our luckless FF…lands up in the front row of what is now First, yet was business, and has used up all his well, hard earned miles to get there, sadly to see that the seats are the same only leather (slippy, sodding, things) and the service mildly nicer, flower holder on wall, and two glasses of champers before TO, yet otherwise the same…..ah what a disappointment if he had listened to daddy…

When filling out the form…I filled in neatly and with no bad conscience whatever…security advisor..or Fireman…policeman..even  survival trainer….why ? you may ask,, why demote yourself! For gods sake man, that suit cost a fortune, you are a MANAGER for gods sake…yes and that why you get B or E seats on short hauls when you boss refuses the elite business class….

You see…if you can´t get upgraded then you want to secure that most limited of commodities
on any flight…leg room. So by entering security, fireman, police…you’ve indicated you are stress resistant, know how to react in an emergency etc…(you should really feel suitable before you do this lives are at stake)..and guaranteed a midget would get an emergency exit seat….

A million miles on your account and a two pm flight gets you an upgrade to First from Business in real airlines like Emirates, Gulf and the like. Only DEATH on Lufthansa gets a bed like travel arrangement as an upgrade!…..although a body bag in the toilet has been known as usual ! no matter in which class you originally entered the plane….

Well dressed at check in on an afternoon flight also has worked if they are not overbooked and you have reached gold class…

And asking for the station manager, or have the luck to be recognised by the duty manager!,
But, all in all. An upgrade to first is after all! better than the captains seat….at least you can sleep and drink whilst travelling ..he can´t. …..Smile…

Friday, July 13, 2012

in the meantime

in the meantime nigh on 15 years have passed and I am 52, seasoned, weary and still travelling. Middle East now, Africa and the deserts of Dubai are the new haunting grounds. Email has taken over fax, mobiles and sms are my life, and the speed is on.

Gone are the days of casual travel, suits and ties, stopovers, business lunches and the like.

Now I am a secretary, a word processor,  an excel sheet manipulator, PBIT charged exec, armed with I-Phone, I-Pad, I-Plane, and a ton of useless ballast which I am supposed to need but never do...

Although "up the air" God bless him..taught me the final touches needed to cut the hand-, and may I say only luggage, down to 7kg....even the laptop weighs under a loaf of bread. Slip on shoes, quick release belts, min. size wash kit, and less metal than a piece of tinsel, and I am through the security like....greased....ah! no... there is always one isn´t there.

Millions of miles and the corresponding "lovely Jubly...would you like to rib my tits Amex/Visa card combination" means I can while away my preceeding hours/minutes before a flight in the sound knowledge that within these hallowed walls of the "lounge" I am distinctly separate from the great unwashed...

That is of course...until I get to that totally unecessary final security check before the gate. All those who entered the airport, no even planned their trip and dared to read the fine print about, metal, drinks, watches, shoes, laptops,glasses, and anything that looks like causing a Deltaforce Agent to have a hiccup, has decided NOW, 30 feet from the plane to festoon his body with such like items.

Agonisingly slow, we watch the mini drama´s of the loss of ..yes 101ml of Down the Canal N°5 BEING CONFISCATED....tears of agongy, but why, its half empty....(its the container size not the contents etc. etc.)...oh god!...

Finally after gay gordon has felt my balls, I am allowed to proceed to sanctuary, thats is if I am flying Emirates ! Heaven between the real one and earth, or stalag 42 if Lufthansa and all those in between who mean well but! sigh!...

Once cushioned, separated by a serge curtain, dark in colour I can slip into my travel mode.

Check the reds, the films, and the service in that order! All entertaining but serious if I am to enjoy the next 6-9 hrs. You know the menu, its either or or both of a combination of fish, chicken and meat, mostly Halal, ..wont see a bacon rasher for miles...nicely disguised using either french names for fry, grill or cook, and decorated to look like a spilled packet of liquorice allsorts.

Mildly amused I watch the pillow takers...there are three types, the business class knows all he has to do is ask..and he shall be given (unless in LH where you will be curtely told that she has other things to do such as kick start the plane...and will bring you one later ..if she doesent forget..or have to change the oil in the hydraulics..)...
those lucky enough, rich enough or clever enough (see "How to get an upgrade") to be FIRST CLASS, well they only have to imagine the sublime pleasure of an extra pillow and  a mild mannered, delightfully sweet, attractive, nymph, impeccably dressed slides a down filled, silk covered cloud under your head, patting it for good measure.(it has been known on some airlines to be accompanied by the final kiss a lover gives before turning to sleep a contented sleep.)

and then there is the crafty, swifty smooth FREQUENT FLYER...who knows..yes he is aislewise.. a mover, dodger and diver, W.N.A.D online booking specialist.
(Window at Night, Aisle on DAY flights), guaranteed sleep at night, no incontinent disturbances, and first off the flight during the day, albeit slightly more difficult if settled over the wings, equi-distant to both front and back doors.

.....he knows he needs those three extra mini cushions plus the one on his seat. Left and right hip (bloody buckles), and one to cut out that incessant downward blizzard from the A/C. So deftly slipping past the ticket checker (the fouth by now) who tries to push 400 people into a tube corridor, with no A/C to wait a miserable final twenty minutes, whilst others are being seated, traversing back UP the aisle with a monster bag, because he cannot count and has missed 21 D...oh by the way, the alphabet has been the same since the bloody thing was written  in 4000 BC in Byblos Lebanon, so yes its..... ABCDEFG across the plane, in that order!

the FF has sussed that one years ago! off he shoots through the business class tube..the bolder, and older use the FC route, knicking whatever glossies they can en-route, or those fantastic night bags, which would make an Elisabeth Arden shop look peeky!..and grabs the soft fluffies on his way through!....finally enjoying the shocked look of the GUW , with whom he is forced to stay these meagre hours because of a new ruling ..under three hours flights no business..the shame of he settles into his body cut slim line non -reclining seat , as he is not going to get the free red, and irish slumber water anyway, he can conceed on trying the glut attached to a plastic plate , washed down with plastic liquids aptly named orange juice or coffee..for a well earned few hours of shut eye....before we all reach our next airport destination to enjoy the pleasures of ARIVALS and CUSTOMS.

next to obtain an upgrade.....!!!