Monday, August 14, 2006

Tiger Flight BA179

You see! You shouldn't joke about these things. No sooner are you settled into your seat, awaiting the cheese & chive flavoured pretzels when all of a sudden a phone rings.

Nothing too unusual about that you might think, except when it happens two minutes after take-off on a flight out of Heathrow during the height of a major security alert. Cue mild hysteria and over-reaction by rows 25- 37. The other slightly disturbing thing was that after deciding not to answer it, apparently Mr A Bomber wasn't booked on our flght, it was then decided to smother it with pillows and blankets - utterly brilliant, in fact a totally inspired response!

Once the cunning terrorist (or forgetful idiot) foiling ruse had been undertaken, it was then followed by a Milliganesque bout of "What are we going to do now?" by all and sundry. This then seemingly led us to cruise at about 4 mph and 15ft while the Captain and 'The Company' decided what to do next. Break out the Vodka? Sing a few rousing hymns to cheer everyone up? Dish out the prayer mats? No! What we'll do is hand out bags of mixed nuts. All that we needed was a packet of Bensons, a pint of mild and bitter and a quick quiz and the scene would have been perfect. With the Captain asking the killer tie-break question - How tall is Big Ben? Answer about 6ft 6"

So, once the nuts were sorted out (a popular move, with all but the nut allergy sufferers i.e. me). What to do next involved heading for Shannon airport. BA didn't fancy making a mess over Wales apparently - (insert own gag here). Then better still not wishing to cause a scene over Ireland' (first time for everything) the instruction came to fly on out over the Atlantic, only then to inform the plucky souls of flight BA 179 that actually we really ought to head back. More out of deference to the bloke who was obviously very keen to speak to someone on the plane. And we all know about steep 'roaming' charges... The only downside to this was the fact that we had loads of fuel on board so that needed to be dumped before headiing back to terra firma. The sight of Kerosene being chucked willy-nilly into the Atlantic just about topped the whole experience off. Fly tipping in its truest form!

So, some four + hours after boarding Tiger disembarked to be greeted by the sight of three BA employees being beseiged by over a hundred indignant passengers. At this stage CT confesses to taking a backseat, eating a crunchie and trying to work out how to turn the whole thing to his advantage - Could three days in a hotel with mini-bar, a couple of good books and no mobile phone be the answer?

Sadly, the options were limited, fly out in 2 hours perhaps, with no luggage or hang around Heathrow until Tuesday. Book a room at the Hilton and wait for luggage to arrive and dust to settle. Well, best laid plans etc. No room at the Inn, isn't that how the whole of this thing started? Therefore only thing for it. Back to North London and back to the loft in about 30 minutes flat, where the air is cleanish, the rain wet certainly, the Vodka plentiful and cheese and chive pretzels are the only thing on the menu.

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