Soggy pants flight

“Six o’clock!” she cried and the bedsheets undid. “We’ll miss the bus. Won’t catch the plane!”

So she ran and he ran and they ran, until they came… to the wristwatch which, glowing with a smug luminosity on the bedside table, told them: “It’s only five o’clock”.

They groaned  but dressed anyway. Besides, they told themselves, they could relax over  breakfast; be early for the  bus which  would take them to the airport.  They arrived at the bus stop  on time  but the bus didn’t. A half an hour later they boarded. Things would be alright  now they thought.

At the airport  the  boards  indicated  they were an hour early  for their  plane but, like the bus it was at least a half an hour late. One of those days they thought.  Stuff happens.

And stuff  really was happening, this time to the plane. Some technical issues said the crew without conviction.  Issues – that dreadfully over-used PC term for screw-ups, potential or otherwise. The passengers knew that much, muttered to themselves and buried themselves in their books and iPads.

But issues remained.  And they didn’t just hang around, they morphed into navigation problems which  the crew tried to settle with Auckland – 1300 miles away. Why don’t they just google it somebody  joked. And then after that, we were told that  one more ever so slightly important issue remained – topping up the fuel.

On the tarmac, about 45 minutes after scheduled take-off  some exasperated South Americans remonstrated to air stewards about possibly missing their connections home. In the sweltering Australian heat we should have cooked. Instead it became chilly and some passengers asked for water.  Bad news for one who immediately  spilled an entire glass of it on his lap.

The water soaked his trousers and much more. The  backwards slope of his seat readily obliged any excess, creating an unwanted chill as it seeped towards the back of his trews. More obviously in front, he looked as if he’d had an unfortunate  accident. Suppressing a giggle, a sympathetic hostie gave him so many facecloths for the problem that he began to look like the man from a famous Mae West quip:  Are you just happy to see me, or is that a Colt 45  you’ve got down there?

Ninety minutes after scheduled departure the troubled plane took off, possibly with the help  of a compass. None of it cheered the man who looked at the flight  information on the screen in front of him and realised he’d be sitting soggy for nearly three hours.

“Feels as if I’m wearing wet togs” he told the hostie.  “One of those days I suppose”..

She nodded. “Yep. Just one of those days” .

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.