I just got this little partial blog post gem e-mailed to me from The International Man of Intrigue in Thailand. Do you know what happens? I don't, and since it's past everyone's bedtime on this side of the world, I'm left with a cliffhanger ending, too. Sorry about the bold--I just copied and pasted from my e-mail and Blogger won't let me undo it. Don't say I didn't warn you about the ending:
Bangkok and Sri Lanka Air
Bangkok and Sri Lanka Air
I saw a show a few years ago that said full planes, planes with all their seats occupied, never crash. Since then I've taken selfish gratification when I find myself sitting next to south Asia's only 7 foot tall sumo wrestler. However, today was to be the exact opposite.
I should have prepared myself for trouble when I asked the counter agent at Colombo's airport if the flight was packed or if I could get bumped to business class. She sad only two business seats on the Airbus 300-it's-not-a-Boeing-so who-gives-darn were booked but upgrading my economy ticket would cost more than my original ticket no matter how many zillion sky miles I have with the carrier. Well, as about 95% of the time it was worth a shot.
I made my way through immigration and security, grabbed an airport beef burger, and went to the gate. In this part of the world one must go through security (for at least a third time) at the actual gate and beyond the final check your boarding pass is verified by the carriers reps. I asked one last time if I could get bumped but it wasn't happening, even though the crew recognized me from my other zillion miles.
No big deal. They said the flight was almost empty and I shouldn't have trouble stretching out. What was that about not full flights?
I sat down in row 33 seat K and I had to wonder if I'd gotten on the wrong plane as ten or so other people scattered about. We were pushed back from the gate and on our way...or so I thought.
The plane clunkered along like my old 1979 Pontiac LeMans. And I mean clunkered. It sounded like some one was running beside the plane trying to get a luggage door closed: slam, clunk. slam, clunk. slam, clunk.
The noise continued as we made the turn to line up on the runway. Something's not right, I thought to myself, but I was the only person at all alarmed. Instead of announcing a delay due a wobbly wheel nut the pilot ignored it too! He actually directed our attention to the safety brief, and for the first time in two decades I paid close attention because I thought I'd be putting that info into practice as I envisioned this plane sliding off the runway and plowing into some squatter's house.
But the joke was on me. I bet the pilot and crew had money riding on who would freak out. We did make it off the ground, and the air was rougher then I remember it being recently, but I could have been imagining things from the safety pamphlet that was seared into my brain.
From then on the flight wasn't too bad. I finally made good use of the kick ass Bose headphones Dorothy gave me for Christmas. I broke out my laptop and did a little paperwork. I even caught a few z's...until we were on approach.
Now, I didn't see a little gremlin on the wing or an old lady in colonial dress, but that plane aged a lifetime while I was enjoying all my elbow room.
I sat above the wing and the strangest, most aerodynamically wrong sound vibrated through the cabin as the flaps maneuvered to their landing positions. Did no one else hear this? It sounded like the hydraulic fluid had leaked out over the Bay of Bengal. That couldn't be good.
Then a strange whining came from what I imagine was the landing gear cover. For an eternity the devil played his cover of Dave Matthews "Crash".
The whining stopped only when the loudest metal-on-metal collision ever recorded on a still-flying airplane caused me to almost jump out of my seat. I swear the landing gear ejected because they knew how this flight would end. And still, the flaps, THE FLAPS screamed.
Please, I thought, just give me some ball bearings and 10W40 and take care of it. I'll climb out there myself and oil the crap out of those things. Please!
Am I asleep or is everyone else? WTH?! I was surrounded by sheep, by cattle heading to slaughter. My God, what if I was surrounded by zombies?!
For the love of all things holy will some one show some concern?! I swore the oxygen masks would drop down as the cabin vibrations grew stronger and stronger.
If this is it why can't I die in business class?! Why am I going to croak back here with the weird smelling bathrooms and 30 year old trust fund hippie that hasn't showered since his dad bought him a ticket out of civilization to Lackohygieneistan? I bet the life jackets are under the seats have a personalized "Enjoy the afterlife Mr. Intrigue. Your crash will be credited to your sky miles account." I doubt my seat cushion even floats.