Wednesday 29 August 2012


Airport arrival and then to the check in. Dark Lady is a General when it comes to organisation, so we were briskly marshalled to the check-in desk. She had checked us in the night before, and had been trying for days to get us a seat allocation without success as the airline website wouldn't play ball and kept telling her that she couldn't reserve seats on the aircraft.

With this in mind we arrived early so we could pick our seats.

"I'm sorry, these are the only seats we have available. All the others have been allocated" beamed the woman on the desk.


"All the others have been allocated. We keep a few back."

"We've been trying for weeks, and the moment the flight was opened on the internet twenty-four hours ago we tried to get on to reserve seats and the website wouldn't let us."

"Well I've no idea about that, but these seats are all we have left as the flight is full."

DL was fuming by now as she has a very highly developed sense of injustice. She is not given to shouting (luckily for me) but when she gives you the Paddington Bear hard stare the temperature drops by several degrees.

"You messed up the seating allocation when we went on our honeymoon. Changing it so we couldn't sit together. The year before we reserved seats and on the day you changed the plane at the last minute so we didn't get the seats we wanted. The company I work for always uses your airline for its business travel, and you tell me there is nothing you can do?"

"Sorry, no."

"Can we speak to a supervisor please?"

A person was duly summoned, and the DL politely and patiently explained the situation.

"Sorry" said the supervisor.

I think all that happens under these circumstances is that the higher up the management chain and the larger the salary, the person is trained to say "sorry" with more gravity and sincerity. It amounts to the same thing:

"Hard luck buster!"

We trudged onto the plane for our nine hour flight only to discover shortly after take off that the much vaunted in-flight entertainment system wasn't working. So we couldn't see any movies or anything.

When I say it wasn't working, it was for absolutely everyone else but us. Luckily the children had working TV. Just not the Dark Lady and myself.

"Sorry" said the steward. "I'll try and reboot it."

BOOT... Nothing.

"Sorry" said the steward. "I'll try and reboot it again."

BOOT... Still nothing.

"Could we please speak to someone in authority?"

A nice lady was summoned.

"Sorry" she said. "This really isn't good enough". She produced complaint forms to fill in, which the DL did - crisply, efficiently and accurately.

I suggested getting wildly drunk and trying to open the door mid-flight. She disagreed and carried on writing.

The nice lady re-appeared with a bottle of champagne substitute.

"Very sorry" she reiterated. "We'll put a note on the computer so that the staff will know about this on your return journey. You are flying back from Miami, and our aircraft are more modern on the route so you shouldn't have any trouble. I'll try and reboot the system once again."

BOOT... Clank whirr. Success! We had movies... two hours late but they were there. Now the rest of the trip should be plain sailing. Shouldn't it?


RuthnJasper said...

Hmmm... plain sailing - or "plane" sailing...?

Did you know that most airlines routinely over-book flights to ensure full capacity even when some passengers fail to turn up? Amoral but true.

The Dark Lady sounds exactly the sort of person to have around in a crisis - I shouldn't thing she gets messed-about by the same people more than once... Whatta gal! Bit like me - I almost NEVER get angry (I can only recall a handful of times when I've actually been livid) but, when I so, it is terrible to behold...

But God bless you for not pulling the ol' "Do you KNOW who I AM?!" line... And at least they allocated you a seat INSIDE the plane...!

Keep smiling! x

Phil Parker said...

Just a thought - how about using a different, i.e. less pisspoor airline in future ?

Paul F said...

Is it fair to take it you were on a plane similar to the picture (i.e. run by that fella with the beard who has his knickers in a knot at the moment about his train set, and is also responsible for the sandwich pickle)?

I've flown with them a few times and they've been generally ok, apart from one problem with the in flight entertainment system. In my experience they're the "best", although that may be "best of a bad bunch" when you consider the alternatives.

That said I've heard from plenty of people who have had bad experiences with that other UK airline (you know the one who had the Union flag on the tail fin, then removed it, then Thatcher covered the model with her hankie, and they put the flag back again) but I've had no problems myself when I've flown with them. There was a flight to the US where my entertainment system didn't work and they bumped me up to Premium Economy (bulk head seat too!) as Economy was full. That was an incredible experience for a first time flyer.

Maybe I'm just lucky with flights?

At least the kids had in flight entertainment. Your pain would have been an order of magnitude worse had they had no constant barrage of media stimulation for the entire flight!

Good to have you back on the Shoe Dark Lord.


Jansparrot. said...

They are out to get you aren't they?
You married the right Lady. Could do will her as Prime Minister, she would soon have this country back on it's feet!

Unknown said...

Ive used Mr Pickles airline a few times before. I paid an extra £50 or so to get the seats by the door, not realising you end up half the flight moving your stretched out legs so the queue for the pisser can get past you grrr!!! On take off, a stream of water poured down from the overhead locker, the stewardess sitting opposite said "Oh sorry about that, it always does it, something to do with the air conditioning" and guess what? Yep we had the boot re-boot re-boot gain saga!! Rock star treatment my rrr's!!!