Flying has never been among my assorted phobias, but if what I’m reading about of late in the newspapers is true, I may well be adding it to the list.
It will not be so much a dread of crashing to the ground in a fireball caused by a malfunctioning aircraft as of being dragged from my seat by a dysfunctional member of the cabin crew in a fit of temper because I’ve had the temerity to decline his generous cash offer to vacate it voluntarily.
The way things are going, those avuncular and authoritative voices we always hear coming over the speaker system may be taking a different tone than the one to which we’ve become accustomed.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. Apologies for the delay in our departure from La Guardia this beautiful morning but the arriving flight came in late due to an in-board police incident. We’ll be departing shortly, just as soon as our specially-trained cabin crew have worked out why we seem to have more passengers than seats.
I’m afraid this may mean asking some of you folks to take another flight. If you’re among those selected, United will be offering you $500 in cash. I hope enough of you take up this offer. Otherwise we’ll have no choice but to be ejecting a few of you, with force if necessary. Don’t worry about this. It’s just routine procedure. And I assure you our cabin crew are especially trained for the purpose.
And none of this should hold us up for more than a few minutes.
I’m sorry about the incident involving a few passengers in economy class and our chief steward a few minutes ago. These things do happen, and on every airline. We do our best to satisfy our passengers’ needs, always with your safety and comfort in mind, but I’m sure you’ll understand that sometimes we have to turn down unreasonable demands, as in this case.
And FAA regulations specifically forbid naked football games.
It’s all cleared up now, I assure you. The passengers in question have been restrained and are now in custody. I’m also happy to report that the steward is responding well to treatment by our excellent medical staff here in La Guardia. If any of you have suffered stained or damaged clothing, please notify a member of our specially trained cabin crew if you need help.
You may have noticed a few folks aboard wearing helmets and body armour. This is nothing to be concerned about. They’re here for our safety and comfort. They’ll shortly be passing through the cabin asking a few questions. Just respond promptly and truthfully and you’ll have nothing to worry about. But please be advised that failure to comply could mean your being ejected from the aircraft and detained. So, please cooperate and we’ll soon have them on their way.
And we’ll soon be on our way, too, just as soon as the police have removed the folks who are deliberately holding the doors open.
After take-off on this service today, we’ll be coming round with complimentary bandages and aspirin. If any of you good folk require additional medical attention, please let our specially-trained staff know by pushing the red emergency button on your arm-rest.
The cabin crew will shortly be demonstrating the safety features on board this aircraft. Please listen carefully because there will be a mandatory test before we reach our destination, and those folks failing it may be barred from future flights on any airline. So, please try to pay extra attention. It’s for your safety and comfort.
And now we’ve been cleared to pull back from the gate, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the fight … I mean flight.
And thank you for flying Brutish Airlines.”