30 July 2005

In the unlikely event of a water landing, your seat cushion may be used as a toilet.

A year or so ago, I used one of those discount online travel agencies to book a flight to Frankfurt. The low bidder by a considerable margin was Pakistani Airways. I had to forgo this option as I had yet to remove the “I ♥ Gitmo” tattoo that had appeared mysteriously on my right hand the same night as a particularly insightful tour of the Mexican correctional system. Thank you ever so much, José Cuervo.

The next cheapest was LuftBavaria. I’d never heard of it, and they didn’t seem to have a web site. In fact, the only reference I could find was a German consumer report that only stated: ”Lieber eine Arsch voll der Nägel als eine Minute auf LuftBavaria.”

Since I am not fond of storing pointy fastening hardware in my bung, I must say that I didn’t much like the sound of that, but when one is strapped for cash, and has been banned from as many airlines as I have, one must make do.

My heart sank when I saw the aircraft. It was covered with dents and patches. Buddy Holly would have had second thoughts getting on board. The pilots appeared to be a bit too jovial, and the stewardess was a powerfully built woman who would not have looked out of place on the back of Skeletor’s Harley. She quickly made an ordnung.

“My name is Gretchen. This Plane is going to Frankfurt. SIT DOWN!”

I sat. Perhaps, if I did not make eye-contact, she would not talk to me. No such luck. She had read the passenger manifest.

“Herr Doktor Scientist, are you related to the Von Scientists?” She asked, with bosoms presented at eye levels like twin mallets of doom. Digression being the better part of valour, I lied.

“Ja” I replied. “Grandfather was brought to the US after the war as part of the anti-Soviet: ‘Our German scientists are better than your German scientists!’ program.”

“Gutt. TheVon Scientists are wealthy, no?” She asked with a calculating smirk, and sat down next to me. “Hasselnuβschnaps?” It was more of an order than a question.

I obeyed out of fear.

“Gretchen, bring us a drink. We’re thirsty” Yelled the pilots.

“Get them yourselves. I am talking to my boyfriend” She yelled back.

Boy friend?!” I thought, before shrieking like a little girl as the plane went into a steep dive. The drinks cart crashed into the cockpit.

“Sorry about the turbulence!” The pilot shouted as he started to climb, sending the drink cark rolling back, lighter by one bottle. Gretchen deftly made it a more symmetrical two as the cart rolled past us.

It was obvious that the Atlantic was very stormy that day. I proposed to Gretchen over the Azores. One of the pilots married us by the time we cleared the Portuguese coast. There were four or five more turbulent events over Spain and France, but soon we were near our destination.

“We see two runways” The pilot exclaimed. “Lucky for you we also see two planes. We shall attempt to land each plane on the appropriate runway.”

CRASH! We rolled to a stop, and I reluctantly disengaged myself from Gretchen’s cleavage.

“Welcome to Köln. The local time is .. er, night time” The pilot seemed vaguely confused. “Um, is there any more of the schnapps back there?”

Did we land or were we shot down? I’ll never know for sure. What I am sure of, is that the consumer website had unfairly maligned LuftBavaria. I highly recommend that you give them a try.

Just keep your filthy mitts off my Gretchen

And that's the way I likes it.