I’m not a good flier. Although not aerodynamic, I am referring to my psychological attitude to powered flight; the fad that started at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with the Wright brothers and will, any day now, disappear from society like the hula hoop and efficient customer service.
I embark on any aeroplane with trepidation. I think of it as a potential fiery tube of death. A winged cylinder filled in a split second with a vicious orange fireball, the heinous result of a tiny spark, from an ill-maintained circuit, igniting tons of aviation fuel.
People try to help by saying things like, “it’s more dangerous driving on the roads.” I know they have statistics on their side, however, if the engine stops on my Toyota Townace, then I am not 30,000 feet above ground in a machine that the Internet informs me weighs approximately the same as 56 African elephants when fully fuelled. (Yes, the Boeing 747, not the elephants.)
There are no engines, so we glide. We travel pretty far, but the plane is above the Great Australian Bight and as we hit the water it’s like plummeting straight onto concrete. Or worse, some of us survive and the Southern Ocean rushes in pitilessly, smashing the air from the cabin. The last thing I see is the pale yellow light, flickering on my lifejacket.
The trouble is I don’t drink. But I always consider having a drink or two – which is all a teetotaller needs to feel comfortably numb – when I get on a flight, but then I always decide that I need to face the enclosed furnace or the icy ocean depths, fully sober, which, even as I write these words, seems extraordinarily dumb.
When I get on the plane, I do what many other bad fliers do. I mentally detach myself from the experience. I become a consciousness piloting the vessel of my body which is inside a much larger craft that is totally out of my control. I listen to music. Read magazines. Ignore the food and drink. And generally pretend as though I am not really cramped into one of those Economy Class airliner seats. You can attempt to talk to me, but you’re only getting my voicemail.
All of this is a mere preamble to my actual point. If all of us who hate flying didn’t have enough reasons to curse the experience, now there’s something else to worry about. This happened in the United States last Thursday. Apparently, during a JetBlue flight from Newark to Orlando, a centrefold model for Singapore Playboy attempted to open one of the plane’s doors. Tiffany Livingston, 21 is reported to have suffered an anxiety attack when she attempted her mid-flight flit. Apparently the other 328 passengers experienced their own anxiety attack shortly thereafter.
So now, I have to worry about the anxious centrefold model three rows up. (Although, if she’s back in Economy with me, she needs a better manager.) I would like to end this post with an appeal to any potentially skittish Playboy models boarding planes that I might be on. Please make sure you down a couple of Mersyndol Forte or whatever elixir you require to help you get through the flight.
Otherwise, if you go anywhere near a door and don’t appear sufficiently cheery, then a pony-tailed Eurasian man slightly drunk on half a can of UDL gin and tonic, will be spearheading a phalanx of passengers to tackle you to the floor.
And no one wants to see that.
Post Script: Ms Livingston also wins are coveted “Eurasian of the Week” award. Congratulations!