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Shabadoo and wifelette down under

Flight of the Conboreds

SOUTH AFRICA | Friday, 15 February 2008 | Views [706] | Comments [3]

Yes, two journal entries before we've even left Britain. Well, okay, one from just after the flight arrived in South Africa. Well, I've had fish and chips as well, but now you're just nitpicking.

The checking-in process starts with us checking-in, like you do. However, in the case of the sensible gits, they have checked-in online 24 hours previously, allowing them to steal every seat with even a modicum of extra leg-room. So we are now to be sandwiched between two other people in the centre of a 747. And then the Sharon at the desk has to have a chat with the other two Sharons at the desk, which makes the whole process increasingly lengthy and bitter (must.....control.....rage.....).

The flight process tends to continue with us getting on a plane, it taking off, and us reaching a destination. Call it tradition if you will. British Airways, proud purveyors of just such a service, have decided to spice things up. Now, instead of your flight leaving at its scheduled time, they have what is called a 'delay', which means that whilst you think they're just leaving it late to tell you which gate to go to, they in fact have no intention at all of providing a plane to haul your rear end from A to B.

So we had a delay of 55 minutes before we were called to the gate. This is followed by the interminable queue to get on the bloody contraption, followed by a resigned sounding message from the captain once we are all in. Apparently someone forgot (not a phrase one wants associated with a fair tonnage of flying metal) to move (it really needs to be able to move) the plane (ah, there is a plane) from the engineering hangar (why the chuff is our long haul flight in an engineering hangar an hour before the flight?) to the gate. I can only hope someone realised before the first class passengers lemminged their way off the edge of the walkway onto the welcoming tarmac below.

This however is not enough. Apparently, it's "not our night", since once we're all on board, it takes another 15 minutes to load the thing, only for the captain to find that there are no tugs to back the plane up so we can get to the runway. 90 minutes later our contraption leaves the ground, and our early morning arrival in Johannesburg is scuppered.

The in-flight meal pretended to be a chicken casserole, though I must heartily recommend the rice pudding, which was sealed and clearly had never been touched by a BA employee or any catering person at all. Bless you, rice pudding, you single-handedly made dinner okay, though special mention to the bread roll I didn't touch - it just wasn't your night buddy, chin up eh?

Our fellow passengers were a fine bunch, though the little sprog over to the right was quite noisy for a bit, though to be fair to her, once her mum put a coat over her head, she fell asleep instantly, like someone covering the cage of a rather deformed, drooling, tone-deaf songbird.

Also of note was the very tall guy who swapped seats to the one in front of me, as it was empty and had more leg-room. Just marvellous. To ease the pain in my legs, I had the novel idea of cutting off his head and trying desperately to flush it down the loo, something I cannot recommend to even the most hardy of travellers (those vacuum loos are just too damned small for decapitation - maybe plain old dismemberment for me next time - finger at a time, and all that). Instead I stored it under my chair (apparently you can't have heads rolling around on the floor when we come in to land, hazard of some kind, blah blah blah). Ok, aside from the first sentence, this paragraph is a lie [just for legal purposes]. His head fell off on its own.

BA have pretty good inflight entertainment, and everyone has a touch screen TV to select their desired programming poison, which results in everyone prodding the chair in front constantly like some sort of drugged-up psychiatric patient trying who's convinced he can use a brick to contact Captain Kirk, if he could just find the on/off button. Having enjoyed Flight of the Conchords, New Zealand's finest ever export, and then some movie where Matt Damon runs around for 2 hours without killing anyone, it was time for an attempt at sleep.

Sleep rather shabby, it's a flight, and my legs don't bend in the right direction (kudos to BA for having those metal footrests on the seat in front - nothing says 'sweet dreams, lanky' like a dwarven samurai hacking at your shin bones throughout the night). Not that I'm bitter.

Still, got here in the end. South Africa is nice and toasty at the moment, think it's trying to storm, but for now we've got blue skies and the temptation of a swimming pool. yes, it is possible that my hideous, scrawny, pale British legs may get an airing this early on in proceedings. My thoughts and prayers go out to the in-laws, neighbours and their next of kin.

Wow, just imagine how long these bloody entries are gonna be if we actually do something. Whinging bloody Pom.

Tags: Airports



Hiya both, glad you made it ok. Enjoyed the decription of the joys of long distance flying, sound like my last experience on a flight to the UK ("Uiters kak" Cathy can translate for you James). Cheers for now

  Colin Walker AKA the uncle no. 2 Feb 20, 2008 11:57 PM


Loving it! Keep it coming. xxx

  Annabel Williams Feb 21, 2008 11:58 PM


Had you considered cutting off your legs and flushing them........As skinny and scrawny as they are, (not much thicker than a human finger) I think this would have solved the problem. I actually had a flash of inpiration, now to get out the drawing board to design you one of those carts that legless people in poor countries scoot around on(or at leat the movies that depict legless people in poor countries scooting about on carts) I'm sure that Australia would take great joy at seeing a once lofty Pom now cut down to size scooting around the Aussie bush on a cart!....And Oh! If you were wondering, the plans (Now completed, I'm multi-tasking) have options for big bush covering wheels, a power source, incase your arms get tired pushing yourself around with the blocky things in your hands (also to (actually manly put there to)provide power for Cat's hair drier, but while it there why not make your life a little easier)and even a trailer so that you can for once be a gentelman and carry Cats bags!
Hope the swim went well I could also make some flippers to fit to your leg stubs, might help with foward propulsion while in the water!



  Dad Feb 25, 2008 2:19 AM

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