The flight back from Phoenix turned out to be a real hoot, if (slightly) life-endangering.
We were seated right at the back of the plane, very near the lavatories and, just beyond that, the galley. We were literally inches from the flight attendants for the entire flight. That fact would eventually play a huge role in the closing seconds of our descent, and the thrill ride yet to come.
At the beginning of the flight, while taxiing for takeoff, the standard safety video played and, as usual, I was cracking wise with Junkii about it. As I was voicing the kid waiting for his father to put on his own mask before helping others – "Daddy, I can't breathe!" – I felt a good-natured slap on my arm from the flight attendant. She had been standing over my shoulder listening. "That's not funny," she said, before proceeding to slag the lead actress for her silicone lip injections. From then on, the three of us were a regular MST3K, bonding using humour.
The video ended and off went the flight attendant to continue her duties.
The flight was bumpy. We had some mild turbulence for close to an hour during the flight, which kept people in their seats (well, most people. there's always one or two who feel unrestrained by the seat belt sign.) And bladders were filling, so when the seat belt sign finally went off, a loo-line quickly formed right beside our row. The queue made it tricky for the flight crew to get in and out of their galley. So there was a lot of scooching. The flight crew and I (sitting in the aisle seat, as I was) bonded even further.
Okay, now for the drama:
Maybe 20 minutes before the descent started, an old francophone lady went to the washroom. Now, because there had been so much traffic around the toilets, no one took any notice that she was in there. Evidently she decided to use the lavatory to take a rest! when it came time for final descent, the flight crew realized she was still in the lavatory. They knocked, but eventually had to force the door to wake her and urge her back to her seat.
Well, she wasn't having any of that!
The crew tried frantically to get her to return to her seat, but she was stubborn and wouldn't budge. They tried reasoning with her. They tried leading her by the arm. They tried pulling her. They tried yelling at her. Nothing worked. She seemed quite perturbed. Didn't they know who she was?!
The whole affair was starting to cause quite a commotion, with people craning their necks for a better view. The crew phoned the captain, who said he had committed to land the plane. He couldn't stop his approach at this point, so they better get her seated.
The attendant spotted me and asked if I would move to the lady's seat so she could sit in mine. I was happy to do it and high-tailed it towards the front of the plane. I just got nicely seated when the attendant approached me again. The lady refused to sit in any seat but her own. But there she was, finally creeping her way back up the aisle towards me.
Of course, she was blocking the aisle, so I had to wait for her to get back to her seat. And here we are, near to landing! The flight attendant was darting up and down, look out windows to see how much time we had before touchdown. The lady finally reached her seat and the plane erupted in applause as I ran back to my seat, fastening my belt just in time for touchdown. What a ride!
It sure made for a memorable flight. We commended the Delta crew and had a nice chat with them as we were waiting to de-plane. They all thanked me profusely for trying to help. I hope all Delta crews have the same sense of humour and camaraderie about their work. We were thoroughly entertained by the crew.
In fact, the crew chief made some great jokes during his announcements. They were delivered with a marvelous deadpan. Here are a few gems:
- The cabin crew will be passing through the cabin to collect trash, cups, cans… wallets, jewellery, AIG Bonds, Lehmann Stock – really anything that you want to dispose of.
- Please make certain to check your seat area before leaving the plane. If you forget something you can always check Delta's award-winning lost and found website at http://www.ebay.com. Check under the seller "DeltaCrewPensionFund" to see if your things are there.
- Please remain seated until the plane comes to a full and complete stop at the terminal building. Throughout history, no passenger has ever managed to beat their plane to the gate, so you might as well remain in your seat.
Gems. Sure makes flying more fun when the cabin crew isn't grumpy. Take note, Air Canada!