Just Emkaying: Flying in Indian Skies

May 11, 2014

Flying in Indian Skies

(Language and content warning.)

The first time I took a flight, or to be put more appropriately a wailing me was buckled down in the seat, was when I was in the 4th grade. Well, that was the first time I remember it at least.

It was Gulf Air, with pretty air hostesses in golden scarves who handed out toys to kids and took some of them along to the cockpit to meet the captain. This was of course before Laden and his cronies decided to fuck up everything and the chances of me ever getting to accomplish my wishes in this lifetime. (No, Not meeting the captain, the toys.)

Toys are now called collectibles when adults buy them. FYI. 

The seats used to be big wide ones (the economy seats were better than today's business class) and good leg space. Enough space for a child to crawl around in.

As some of you would know, today's modern airways define leg space as "space for keeping feet comfortably, as long as your feet fit in the space given". Since some of us are beyond the definition of regular size, we have to contend with feeling like Jack in a box for the whole flight. If you also happen to be tall, you have to lay down like a horizontal wooden plank. If you are tall and umm..broad..sit in cross wooden-plank and a wide "giving birth" position to manage.

However, in the nature of making money off everything possible, including branding on toilet paper, the airways have come up with an ingenious way out of this as well. You could sit in the emergency Exit seat which has more "space" for your legs. These come at a premium, on the spot cash payment of Rs 500 to Rs.1000 depending on how booked the flight is.

I'll admit, I'm an emergency exit seat aficionado. Give my broad frame or weightily challenged (you can't call people fat anymore) you'll find me more often than not on these seats. However, what these airlines don't tell you are that these seats are non reclining. The arm rests cannot be moved up. They are not comfortable. They are also the ones that most often get people like me on them, which means romance in the air is out of the question. Unless you're into that broad intelligent amazing brilliant people. (Email id below)

The emergency exits also offer you a one time only conversation with the air hostess in a pretty collar with the "I'm the princess of Brunei" attitude.

Hostess: Sir, something something...mumble...emergency fire or evacuation you will help?"
Me: Sorry..can you..
Hostess: Thank you Sir. Something something mumble mumble Pull the handle..wait for our instructions haan?
Me: Err..
Hostess: Help yourself...mumble mumble.. but look around..mumble.. you get it no sir?
Me: (Looking at the other passengers)
Hostess: Thank you Sir. 
Me: Wait what?

And before you know she's / He's back to rounds, giving cursory glances at peoples laps to see if they've done the seat belt fastening thing.

* * * Safety * * *

But the next part is even more intriguing. They always ask you to switch of your phones and electrical devices. But there's always the idiot (and am surprised by the number of these dodos) who'll keep using his phone till the moment the airplanes tail is not off the tarmac.

For the courtesy of these people, let me put this in perspective.

1. Airplanes fly in the air.
2. They use Aviation Fuel and Electricity to move, telecommunications to communicate
3. Cell phones are electrical devices. Even the Blackberry, which may equally run on your tears.
4. Now this is important, read carefully. YOUR DEVICE can INTERFERE with AIRPLANE FLYING
5. Interference = Problem
6. Problem = BAD. VERY BAD. Especially in a machine flying in the air with no Parachute.
7. Yes, Airplanes don't have Parachutes.
8. There are usually 200 odd people in the Airplane
9. Your Level 23 game in Candy crush effect the LIVES OF 200 PEOPLE


Have you ever noticed that the safety instructions are NEVER in sync with the demonstrations?

"To fasten the seat belt, push in the buckle and tighten the belt" while the air hostess is demonstrating the removal of the safety belt. That's like code speak for, "you know if things get messy and that red seat belt light is on, it means open the buckle and run man, run. Fuck this shit. Just run."

Then there's "In case of an emergency evacuation, please use the life vest under your seat.." at which point the Air hostess is already blowing a red pipe on the life jacket. Or "If there's an emergency evacuation, smoke a pipe and look cute.Or you know, take a chill pill."

* * * Standard Operating Procedures and Passengers * * *

There are always people who always come late, with tons of cabin luggage, and will always make the whole flight wait because they have checked in online. 

The one who has to pee the most regularly will always get the window seat. They'll also be the ones drinking the most of free beverages. 

Time and again there'll be a lady with "can you move in" requests? No Lady, I can't. I chose this seat. I am uncomfortable elsewhere and I want to sit in the aisle. I love the view. I will only move if you offer me a replacement aisle seat or if you have a baby on you. You don't? Well tough luck. If you wanted a different seat, you should have booked it. Note: At this point she will crib for the rest of the flight and keep doing the "Mch" "Cheh" all day.

When you are the most hungry, the food cart will get empty one row before your seat. When it comes to you they'll be empty of whatever it is that you want.

There will always be the loud family group who will get placed all around you. And their kids will treat you like furniture. The mother will smile at you and ignore the ruckus the kids are making you. At which point the kids will get even more encouragement. Pray that there is no Aunt in that group who suddenly decides that you're an interesting prospect for a bride groom for her *add 20 relatives*'s daughter. 

You will always get the male host. If you get the female ones, the cute air hostesses will always be in the other section. If you get the cute one, they will always ignore you or look beyond you. If they do manage to talk to you, air turbulence will ask all of them to get back to their seats.

And finally, the chances of getting a cute, intelligent, non committed, open minded person of the opposite gender in the adjacent seat is as likely as finding a fresh water fish in the Rann of Kutch.

You. Cannot. Win.

* * * Announcements * * *

Announcements are considered more like general guidelines. While most of the are made in English and Hindi, the moment the plane is in the air, the hostess with the call center language training takes over and throws in such heavy English Accents that make you wonder if you've boarded the British Airways flight to Heathrow by mistake.

And the English, my GAWD. "The outside weather is 38 degrees." What's outside weather? At the cost of sounding like a moron, that particular line irks me, because its the most rampant one. Its ALWAYS there. I guess there's one Grand Old English teacher who somehow has passed this down to all the Air steward training institutes and its stuck. Trust me, its on every single flight.

Till date, the most commonly flouted rules has been the one where you remain seated till the plane has halted. It almost never gets enforced on any flight except my last GoAir flight from Guwahati to Mumbai. The air hostess literally yelled at the one dumb fuck who stood up like he was Noah commanding his Arc.

* * * Being Indian * * *

The moment the plane wheels touch the tarmac, the inbuilt hormones that control "baggage possessiveness" goes into overdrive. Every single mai-ka-lal worth his salt will jump and grab his baggage like its his first child tucked into the overhead cabin. I mean yes, I get being careful and all that, but it's highly unlikely that someone is going to grab your suitcase at the speed of light, dive through the window and on to the tarmac and run off into the wilderness.

And what's with the hate for seatbelt. The airplane is not a car that also happens to fly. Just because it landed doesn't mean its now controllable like your trusty Maruti 800. Its a behemoth machine of steel. One Jerk and you'll miss those front teeth and how. Sit down dude, chill. Let the vehicle stop. It's not a race to get off the plane.

And finally. There's nothing that says you've arrived as the collective Orgasm of 200 phones turning on, wave after wave of whatsap's storming in to find their target, before phones start going off, unable to control themselves from the cacophony of network signals.

I love flying.


1 comment:

  1. Very well said, these are my exact thoughts too. I loved the part you wrote about switching off their mobile phones, some people seem to just don't get it. :)