2 years ago
I am writing today to tell you about something I first discovered as I took my seat on a Boeing 737 for my outbound journey to Australia back in the October of 2011…
Prior to that year’s Paralympics, I’m sure many aeroplanes were specially adapted to transport amputees to London as efficiently and needless to say, as cost effectively as possible. And just after the games, it appears that the great Thomas Cook travel agency had bought back all these aircraft, and were now using them to fly holidaymakers to their sunny destinations all around the globe.
But how do I know this? I hear you all ask.
Because that’s the only explanation I can truly offer as to why, on the outbound flight to Australia, there had been no provision made in any of my seating arrangements for anybody with legs.
In fact I’m pretty confident that if you were to transport sheep or cattle for 24 hours (yes it takes that long) in such confined conditions, it would have contravened a whole number of European directives and regulations... People with scruffy beards, coloured hats and thick knit sweaters would have been out demonstrating in the streets on behalf of our woolly livestock friends.
But this wasn’t sheep I am talking about, it was people – some of whom were Scousers (Liverpool folk) too – and me - so we were clearly far less important. And as I tried to wrestle the seat-belt from under my left buttock, the whole ‘safety demonstration’ and ‘friendly welcome aboard’ and ‘calm down because you're in safe hands now chat’ from the captain and cabin crew did little to lift my spirits.
Now I fully understand why they have to tell you about the much practiced ‘brace yourself for your instant demise’ position and all of the exercises it’s advisable to do to avoid DVT (and more importantly, mitigate an expensive lawsuit for Thomas Cook). But don’t just tell me about it. Show me!
Come and sit in the seat you have sold me at great expense, and demonstrate how I can adopt the ‘brace position’ without first head-butting the headrest on the seat in front.
Show me how I can flex and rotate my ankles and calves while my whole lower half is wedged firmly into position tighter than supermarket chicken thighs in a vacuum pack.
Show me how I can “Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight” when my arms are pinned to my sides and my testicles are locked in a mid thigh sandwich.
Don’t just talk about it. Show me… Here, in my seat!
Needless to say, nobody was ever going to show me. Nor were they ever going to explain why they were supplying me with a life jacket rather than a parachute, which to my simple brain seems far more useful.
And so there was really nothing else to do other than resign myself to several hours of discomfort and general irritation, only to be punctuated by the occasional interruptions from cabin crew selling us junk food, the exquisitely planned plasticised meals that were to constitute the airline's gourmet on-flight menu, scratch cards, cigarettes and all manner of other duty free crap I neither needed nor wanted.
Thank god it was only to be a one way flight is all I could say. And for the benefit of wifey, it was well worth the inconvenience. :)
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