Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Exiting in style

There's a nice story in the US media about a 38-year-old flight attendant, Steven Slater, who was totally fed up with the behavior of an unruly passenger at the end of a flight from Pittsburgh to New York. While the plane was still taxiing, the passenger stood up to fetch his luggage in the overhead rack. When the flight attendant intervened, the passenger refused to sit down, and confusion ensued. The flight attendant released his anger through a stream of invective over the aircraft's public-address system. Then, as soon as the plane stopped, the overwrought flight attendant activated the emergency-evacuation chute, grabbed himself a can of beer for the road, and slid down onto the tarmac, thereby terminating in an eye-catching flash both the flight and his airline career.

In this morning's French news, there's a banal story about the crash of an ultralight aircraft in the vicinity of Angers.

It's said that the pilot hit a tree before landing, and that he died instantly in the crash. When I saw the age of the pilot, 83, I imagined immediately that, like the flight attendant, it might be thought that he had made a spectacular and stylish exit.

ADDENDUM: Just after finishing this post, I came upon the case of a 94-year-old British gentleman, Wing Commander Ken Wallis, who gives the impression that he's hell-bent upon exiting in style. Or maybe he's just another charming British eccentric…

Click the photo to access the article by Patrick Barkham in the Guardian.

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