And Then, He Flew
It is my nature, and indeed the strongest of my natures, to sit at home, chew on the popcorn family, watching TV with one eye and the computer screen with the other. The closest of friends would recognize me as the ‘sit-at-home’ type. Laze, it is often said, would be second nature to me ONLY if I can establish a stronger candidate to take the ‘first nature’ position. Indeed there was one time when a ‘friend’ made the observation that if I were locked up with a fridge in my room, it would be weeks before I realized that the room was locked.
So it would come as no surprise to learn that when my company told me to pack up and go to Mumbai, I cringed visibly. One whole day’s worth of journey by train or bus – this wasn’t a journey I would be looking forward to. The cringe, however, lasted only till I found out they were flying me there.
Hence began my tryst with Kingfisher Airlines. I was apprehensive at first. The last ime I had travelled by plane, the ordeal wasn’t exactly picturesque. I vaguely remember accidentally knocking down the airhostess with my elbow. I had created a small flight plan on my own, sending her tray flying into the air, spraying what I hope was water onto the floor, covering her in some sort of soft drink, and covering myself blissfully with an assortment of candies.
Thankfully, there was no sordid outcome for that event. I was armed with certain qualities at the time, which prevented a sad ending to the anecdote. I was cute and cuddly back then. Air hostesses do NOT fight back at five year olds. I suppose it’s some company rule. Air hostesses, I am sure, receive rigorous and critical training on handling/tolerating five year olds. It’s not an easy task. Statistically, five year olds have caused more frustration aboard airlines than 6-megaton nuclear warheads. (I am basing this on the fact that there has been no airline damage due to 6-megaton nuclear warheads so far.)
But air hostesses’ training and instructions probably give them clear and complete understanding on how to tackle five year olds and other hazards. I’m sure if you take the Air hostesses’ manual, go to the troubleshooting section, you can look up how to handle all kinds of situations. For example, if you were to look up situations like “The five year old kid tripped me up and spilled candy all over the front row”, or “The five year old kid on aisle one threw goo all over the floor”, or even “The five year old locked up the pilot in the toilet and is now flying the plane”, a simple, clear, and easy to follow set of procedures would be given in the manual, serving as irrefutable guidelines on handling the situation. For example, in this case, the manual would suggest: “Look at the kid straight in the face, make eye contact, smile, and say thank you”. Arguably, it may advice the same procedure for dealing with hijackers, turbulence, and fuel shortage.
In any case, I’m straying off the point. What I wanted to say was that I was a bit apprehensive, because, if you have seen me recently, you would know that ‘cute and cuddly’ are not my allies anymore. But as it turned out, the flight experience was a really pleasant one. Kingfisher Airlines was superb. It delivered what it promised to. Well, I wasn’t talking literally, but yeah, even on literal terms, it delivered what it promised to; which was me; to Mumbai; and on time.
The hostesses were very helpful. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too many airline commercials, but I kinda had the impression that air hostesses were stamped with perpetual smiles on their faces, bowing with folded hands at regular intervals. Nope. They were pleasant enough, and smiled at the right occasions, but they were pretty human and quite rational.
Takeoff was smooth. A bit too smooth, I’d say. I had expected some radical force at action, pushing me INTO the comfy seat; making me shout out loud “Thank God for the seatbelts.” After all the detailed instructions on what to do, and how critical it is to wear the seatbelt, one naturally expects a force of powerful dimensions that would make him grit his teeth, close his eyes, rediscover God, and start praying. But there was no G force in action. The seatbelt simply felt like overkill. Yes, the mild take off was a slight disappointment. Hey, it’s just my thought.
The seatbelt felt like overkill, but what I COULD have used was a little heads up on the ear-pressure thingy. For those of you who still don’t know, when you board a plane, be sure to stuff your ears with cotton and/or chew candy during takeoff and landing. It’s something to do with pressure, I don’t remember what. The bottom line is, if you don’t, there is a good chance that your ears can get blocked and hurt like crazy. I had read about the phenomenon before, but it didn’t register at the critical juncture. Cotton wasn’t offered up front, and while my neighbour demanded for the earplugs, I was content simply looking out the window. Takeoff didn’t bother me that much, but the landing sure did. My ears hurt like Mike Tyson had made a snack of it, and it felt so clogged that everything I heard for the rest of the day had the audio backdrop of a persistent and annoying hum.
All things considered, my experience with the KF Airlines was not unlike my experience with their beer. It got me high very fast, I soon lost sight of land, I began to see clouds, felt like I was dreaming, heard humming sounds with no logical source, wanted to have a hot snack in between, and in under two hours, the high wore off; I was back on earth. And I immediately wanted to do it again. Definitely a similar experience.