Those ridiculous fools in their flying machines
Aeroplanes will always be a mystery to me. Every time I see one sailing smoothly through the clouds, I wonder how this thing - this giant lump of hollow steel filled with rumpled clothes and people and vacuum-sealed trays of “braised lamb and mushrooms” - can possibly stay in the air.
I am absolutely convinced that if you found the Wright brothers’ original blueprint, it would be a picture of a stick man riding a bird, followed by a question mark and the word “magic”. Even more baffling, however, than the physics enabling these crazy machines to propel themselves through the skies, is the idea that people still manage to get thrown off them.
UK rugby bad boy Gavin Henson is the latest victim of mid-flight silliness. The 30-year-old was this week sacked by the Cardiff Blues following a spot of drunken behaviour on a flight from Glasgow.
Not content to sit still and be transported from one city to the other in the relative comfort of a modern aircraft, Henson decided to start throwing ice around the cabin - much to the displeasure of other non ice-throwing passengers. Airlines, it turns out, are very strict about this sort thing.
Henson, however, isn’t alone. We seem to hear about spectacularly unruly passengers grounding flights and being booted from cabins almost every other week. What is it about planes that turns ordinary, boring citizens into thrashing blurs of flailing limbs, tears and bourbon?
Last week, a passenger on a flight from Carolina to Florida was arrested after kicking and spitting on a (clearly unreasonable) flight attendant who refused to hand her more booze. In an attempt to prove her hand-eye coordination - and, by extension, her sobriety - the woman slapped a second flight attendant.
That same week, a Pennsylvania man almost managed to board a plane with fireworks in his backpack when a bunch of squares told him that people aren’t allowed to put combustible objects in their hand luggage, for some reason.
And last December, Alec Baldwin was tossed from a flight because he refused to switch off an iPhone game.
All of these incidents were completely avoidable. When it comes to planes, the rules are both simple and strict. Don’t throw frozen lumps of water at people in confined spaces. Don’t physically assault people when trying to convince them you are sober and rational. Listen to your flight attendant - if they’re taking time out of their busy afternoon of listening to old people complaining about the temperature of tap water to tell you something, it’s for your own good.
Nobody cares if the Mythbuster guys told you that mobile phones can’t crash a commercial airliner, just switch it off. We know it’s way more effort than engaging in a sustained, 40-minute screaming match with the cabin crew, but just press the damn button and put it in your pocket.
And don’t be the guy who insists on making the bomb joke because of free speech and your undeniable right to infuriate random people for no good reason.
It doesn’t matter if it was a hypothetical when you were talking about how a terrorist could potentially choke-hold the flight attendant and make a bomb out of shoe leather and toothpaste. You know the rules, just follow them.
You’re not getting placed in handcuffs because you’re some incredible revolutionary - a raging rebel tearing your bayonet of truth through the lies of The Man’s many devious minions. You are getting led off the flight by surly, underpaid security people because you are an idiot - a rude, self-indulgent idiot who is determine to endlessly stamp your foot and pout at the expense of your fellow passengers.
You probably think everyone on the plane is rooting for you. Anytime someone acts like a jackass in a public place, they think they have the automatic support of everyone within earshot of their frantic screeching. But they never do. Nobody thinks they’re a hero. You’re just a loudmouth, intent on wasting everybody’s time in the most dramatic way possible.
Aeroplanes - and whatever voodoo science keeps them in the heavens - really are magic. All you have to do is sit perfectly still and allow yourself to be transported from one point in space to the other.
The easy part should be not getting kicked off.
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