Thankfully not an “air crash investigation”
Have you ever had one of those moments when you make a tiny mistake and then realise, with a thump of your heart, just how catastrophic the results may be? I had one last Saturday.
As you may remember, I wasn’t looking forward to flying to the UK alone with two small children, though I was armed with a gorgeous handbag bag stuffed with snacks, toys and my ultimate weapon: a brand new iPad loaded with age-appropriate games for DS.
The journey didn’t start well. We boarded the plane, I settled the children into their seats and then a lovely cabin crew boy offered me a glass of champagne.
But then DS wanted something from his hand luggage and, in getting it down and opening it, I managed to knock my champagne glass flying.
On further guilty investigation, I realised that two thirds of the glass had poured down a grille that said “Do not cover” and it is to my disadvantage that I realised I watch too many episodes of National Geographic’s “Air Crash Investigation”.
As I peered at the grille, mourning the loss of my bubbly, I heard the Nat Geo narrator’s voice in my head:
“As passengers boarded the plane at Dubai International Airport, a careless passenger unknowingly triggered what was to become a fatal chain of events for Virgin Flight 401 to Heathrow. As the champagne trickled slowly down onto the loose wiring in the hold, it short-circuited, causing sparks that ignited the fuel line. Within minutes after take-off, the London-bound jet was a flaming inferno. 30 seconds later it plummeted into the Arabian Sea. Bodies, debris and Prada handbags washed up on Palm Jumeirah for months to come.”
“Excuse me?” I asked the cabin crew boy timidly. “I spilled my champagne down this grille. Does it matter?”
“Uh,” he said, disapprovingly (and I can’t blame him) but within seconds there was a ground staff engineer peering down the grille next to a vacant seat and a blonde cabin crew explaining what had happened.
“DOES IT MATTER?” she was asking the Indian ground crew. “CHAMPAGNE? WENT DOWN THIS GRILLE? IT SAYS ’DO NOT COVER’. Is it IMPORTANT?”
I shrank a little lower in my seat, visions of the whole jet having to be emptied, the flight delayed for hours while they waited for my champagne to dry, the passengers furious.
“No, it goes into the cargo hold,” he said, and that was it: doors armed and cross-checked, cabin crew prepare for take-off. Passengers in row 5, prepare for crash landing, I was thinking, as I kept a nervous eye on the engines.
A little later in the flight, the blonde cabin crew lady who’d spoken to the ground crew came over.
“It’s absolutely fine, by the way,” she said. “I double-checked with another engineer as well, because of the language barrier. I’m sure it happens ALL the time – you’re just the first one to tell us.”
Needless to say, I’ll be limiting my exposure to “Air Crash Investigation” from now.