Mayhem in the Air

Posted on August 9, 2010



Only Daughter and her family arrived on Saturday from London, via British Airways. Before heading to the airport, Life in the Boomer Lane checked in with the BA website. She clicked the “Information” button in order to check if there were changes in the arrival time. The first option was “Cabin Crew Dispute.” The choices under that category were “Information If You Have Been Affected,” “FAQs” and “Video Updates.”

LBL has personally never been on a flight in which the cabin crew has had a dispute, much less been personally involved in the dispute. If there were a dispute, she would assume that it would be handled privately, without the need to announce it on the loudspeaker or to resort to fisticuffs that could be seen in the main part of the plane.

She considered what kind of items a cabin crew might have a dispute about:

“If you run the cart over my foot one more time, I’m going to slug you.”
“Why do you always have to buy the same shoes as me?”
“Every time I go to the bathroom, my little bag of pretzels disappears. Can you explain that?”
“I’m not appreciating your incessant singing of ‘Free Fallin’”

LBL didn’t read any of the sub-categories of the BA posting. She assumes that if you chose the “Information If You Have Been Affected” category, you are already safely home and not left stranded somewhere (like that place where the cast of “Lost” was) by pissed off cabin crew members. She would, under no circumstances, chose “Video Updates.” It’s bad enough to imagine crew disputes, much less see them unfolding. The FAQ Section might be interesting, if for no other reason than people tend to slip about 50 IQ points when given the chance to ask questions about anything at all.

While LBL has never been on any flight in which the cabin crew had a dispute (that she was aware of), she was however, on a flight that involved a huge group of surly, out-of-control passengers (herself included), demanding to be let off the plane immediately. Luckily, they were on the ground at the time, although at neither their departure location, nor at their intended arrival location. And, given the nature of what was going on on the plane, they might have seriously chosen the option of being ejected in mid-air.

The Cabin crew, fearing for their lives, notified the pilots who, in turn, called Airport Security. Seven air marshals boarded and took control of the plane. The entire episode reminded LBL of “Standoff at the OK Corral.” The surly, out-of-control passengers, refusing to be intimidated by pistol-packing representatives of the US Government. The Surlies won. We were allowed to get off the plane, although the pilots refused to taxi the plane to the terminal and the air marshals refused to allow us to take our luggage with us. But the worst thing was that the cabin crew, usually happily beaming at passengers as they depart the plane, stood stoically without expression as we filed by. LBL thinks they secretly wanted to be exiting with us.

Back to the topic at hand. LBL found out later that the “Cabin Crew Dispute” category referred to strikes, which could, of course, affect ones flight arrangements. But it might also make for a less dramatic post, so she’ll just let this one stand.