Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mess in a plane

I was intrigued by the information that seems to be conveyed by this photo. The regards of these hostesses are calm. They appear to be oblivious of the mess in the passenger area behind them.

                                              — photo by Alan Cross

They seem to be saying to themselves: "It's the passengers who made that mess, deliberately and stupidly. So they can clean it up by themselves."

This interpretation of the sense of the image is totally false... and so much the better. On this flight between Singapore and London, when the hostesses were serving breakfast, the plane was severely shaken by a zone of huge turbulence, and it almost turned upside-down. Within a short time, happily, the aircraft emerged from the turbulence, and it is said that the hostesses lost no time in cleaning up the mess and making the aircraft spotless.

I often wonder whether there are people (pilots, hostesses, passengers...) who actually get a kick out of flying through zones of turbulence. In asking this question, I think back to the wonderful season of sailing on the Zigeuner in Western Australia in 1986. When the sea was turbulent, I loved to sit on the tip of the bow, where my body could receive the brunt of the waves. But it's no doubt silly to compare sailing on an old wooden vessel with flying in a jet airliner.

Talking about the possible effects of turbulence, many of us can't help thinking that a wing might fall off. Here at Choranche, I once went out driving with a lady friend from Paris who was suddenly terrified, while we were moving up along spectacular roads beneath the cliffs, that the wheels of my Citroën might be about to fall off, sending us hurtling down into the dark abyss. And there's a notorious case, too, of a great vessel in Western Australia whose front fell off.


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