Breaking the journey

Nice story in the Guardian.

When a middle-aged man swore at airline staff after he was refused a drink on a flight from Manchester to Tenerife, he got a sunshine break he had not bargained for. The pilot diverted the charter plane and dumped the troublesome holidaymaker 300 miles from his destination on a barren volcanic island off the west coast of Africa….

We use budget airlines a lot and I don’t envy the cabin crews. It’s become a horrible job, even when the passengers aren’t obstreperous. It takes about an hour to fly from Stansted to the various airports we use in Ireland, and each time I look on in amazement as the crews rush to get through the same deadly routine — passing through the cabin with a drinks trolley, then coming round trying to sell scratch cards and ‘duty free’ goods. Then tidying up and packing everything away prior to scrambling into their seats in preparation for landing. And then being expected to turn round the plane in 25 minutes. (That’s the RyanAir norm.)

When I was a child in 1950s Ireland, the profession of “air hostess” was regarded as unutterably glamorous. Parents prayed that their daughters might get a job in Aer Lingus, the state airline, thereby enabling them to land some rich businessman as a husband. Mind you, the prospective husbands would have needed to be well-off, because Aer Lingus fired its hostesses the moment they got married. (So, come to think of it, did church/state-run primary schools.) Different world, then.

Hmm… just noticed that the offending passenger is “understood to be an Irish citizen living in Lancashire” who “ignored numerous appeals to calm down when he was refused further alcoholic drinks”. Bet his Ma hadn’t been an Aer Lingus hostess.