STARS IN HIS SKIES!
Celebrity air steward reveals his A-List encounters at 35,000 feet!
IF you passed 63-year-old SELWYN GASFORTH in the street, you probably wouldn’t give him a second glance. You’d certainly never suspect that the unassuming, bespectacled father-of-nine had spent the last ten years getting up close and personal with Hollywood’s most famous celebs. But, incredible as it seems– he has!
For Kettering-born Selwyn has spent the past decade criss-crossing the globe as a flight attendant for a well-known budget airline – who he prefers not to name as he is currently pursuing them through the courts following his recent summary dismissal. During his time on the job, the thrice-divorced bachelor regularly found himself face to face with the cream of the glamorous Tinseltown jet set. And now he’s ready to spill the beans about all the A-listers he met at 35,000 feet. “I’ve lost count of the megastars I’ve served up there in the big blue yonder,” he chuckles. “If I told you some of the huge names to whom I’d flogged overpriced sandwiches or pointed out the emergency exits, you’d accuse me of making it up.” Now, to celebrate his career in the sky – which came to an abrupt end last week following accusations of indecent exposure and in-flight drinking which he hotly refutes – Gasforth has released a star-studded, no-holds-barred autobiography entitled Cabin Pressure: My Life
As An A-List Air Steward. In these sizzling extracts from the book, he lays bare the craziest, most unbelievable stories from his dazzling decade of top-level flight attending. And big-hearted Selwyn told us: “Every last penny I make from this book is going to charity. If there’s any left over after I’ve given it all to charity, I’ll use it to pay for my forthcoming wrongful dismissal tribunal and perhaps a holiday if there’s any left over after that.”
‘GODLESS’ DAWKINS WAS LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER
Selwyn had his first celebrity encounter on his very first flight – a quick hop from London Stansted to Glasgow. During his pre-flight safety demonstration, as he pointed out the exit lights and demonstrated how to blow into the whistle thing on the life jacket, he spotted a famous face among the plane’s passengers – none other than outspoken godless boffin PROFESSOR RICHARD DAWKINS.
Once the plane took off, I started down the aisle with my trolley, dishing out refreshments. As I passed Dawkins’s seat, I overheard him droning on at the woman squashed in next to him about the ‘miracle’ of air travel, which he said represented man’s Darwinian scientific prowess and was conclusive proof for the non-existence of God. The professor stopped me and asked for a gin and tonic. Just as I handed him the tiny plastic glass and took his £14.50, the plane hit a small pocket of turbulence. The pilot got straight on the intercom and asked the passengers to remain seated with their seatbelts fastened and I quickly nipped back down the aisle to make sure everyone was following orders. Suddenly, I heard a frantic, muffled whispering coming from the middle of the plane. I couldn’t believe it: it was Professor Dawkins – the supposedly ‘godless’ firebrand with his eyes clamped tightly shut and his palms pressed together. He was quite literally praying for his survival. ‘Oh, please Almighty God who art in Heaven’, Dawkins hissed. ‘Hallowed be thy name. Please, O Lord and Saviour, see me through this time of trouble. If Thou lettest me survive this, O Mighty God, I promise to believe in thy majesty for evermore and pray to thou every day and go to church on Sundays and everything. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.’ At that exact moment, the turbulence ended and the captain switched off the seatbelt sign. Dawkins motioned me over and sheepishly asked for some napkins. ‘I’m afraid I appear to of spilled my G&T in my lap,’ he explained, motioning to a rapidly spreading wet patch in the crotch of his beige slacks. I had to smile, because I’ve had a few of those gin miniatures in the galley and believe you me, there’s not enough liquid in one of them bottles to make a stain that big.
I would never tell a soul that he had pissed hisself. And, what’s more, I never will.
Now, us air stewards are like doctors: we take a solemn oath when we sign up that what happens at 35,000 feet stays at 35,000 feet. As I handed him his serviette and took his fiver, I reassured the red-faced ‘atheist’ that his secret was safe with me: I would never tell a soul that he had pissed hisself. And, what’s more, I never will.
DIDDY WENT NUTS
Cabin pressure can get to anyone. And one person who blew a gasket at altitude was It’s All About the Benjamins rapper P DIDDY, whose bout of air rage at 35,000 feet left his fellow passengers – and Selwyn – shocked.
It was a short commuter flight from Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster, to Teesside. I’d been suffering from a sore throat and had just nipped behind the galley curtain for a few therapeutic whisky miniatures off the trolley when the attendant call light lit up. I was being summoned by the passenger in seat 14B. I popped a Smint in and went to see what the trouble was. When I got there, I was amazed to find Bad Boy For Life rapper P Diddy squashed into the middle seat of a row. I recognised him immediately from his trademark Versace shades, mink fur coat and diamond topped cane. He’d just bought a tiny can of Cola and was turning the air blue over the contents of his complementary bag of peanuts. ‘There’s only five muthafuckas in this muthafuckin’ bag of peanuts, cocksucker,’ he was screaming. ‘Get me another muthafuckin’ bag, muthafucka, or I’ll pop a cap in your muthafuckin’ pussy ass.’ The two old ladies crammed in on either side of him didn’t know where to look as the foul-mouthed rapper’s four-letter tirade continued. I explained to him that margins were tight and it was strictly one bag per passenger. ‘The airline can only offer such low fares and remain competitive in the crowded sub-budget airline marketplace by keeping costs to an absolute minimum,’ I told him. Suddenly, his entourage – who were squashed between some backpackers and a hen party in the row behind, joined in. ‘Fuck you, asshole! You heard Mr Diddy, cocksucker,’ screamed his manager. Then one of his bodyguards reached over and grabbed me by the lapels of my bright orange fleece gilet and pulled me over. ‘Get the man another muthafuckin’ bag of nuts, cocksucker, or you’re dead,’ he hissed into my face. I could feel that the situation was rapidly getting out of control. What’s more, as the only steward on board, I was going to have to sort it out myself before I ended up with a fullblown gangsta riot on my hands… at 35,000 feet! Thinking quickly, I made a grab for the intercom. ‘Are there any passengers on the flight with a peanut allergy? Please make yourselves known to the cabin crew,’ I announced. Fortunately, there were three onboard, and I was able to collect their bags of peanuts and give them to the irate
Shake Your Tailfeather star. Luckily, this seemed to calm Diddy and his hangers-on down a bit, and the rest of the 20-minute flight passed without a hitch.
I was going to have to sort it out myself before I ended up with a fullblown gangsta riot on my hands… at 35,000 feet!
HUW WOULD’VE GUESSED EDWARDS WAS BAD NEWS?
In the good old days of air travel, small children were often invited up to the cockpit to see the pilots at the controls, but sadly those times are long gone. Nowadays everyone knows that the flight deck is strictly out of bounds to anyone who isn’t official flight crew. But amazingly, this fact seemed to be news to one famous passenger – BBC anchorman HUW EDWARDS.
I was welcoming passengers onboard a Monday morning flight from Newcastle to Luton airport. This route is typically pretty hairy, as you get stag parties returning home after a weekend’s solid boozing on Tyneside’s notorious Bigg Market. And this occasion was no different: as I stood at the plane’s entrance, I heard raucous shouts and cheers ringing through the tunnel. As they came into view I was amazed to see who was making such an uncouth racket – it was a gang of the BBC’s most respected newsreaders. It turned out that it was Nicholas Witchell’s stag-party, and all his mates from the BBC news department were there; Eddie Mair, Clive Myrie, Jon Humphrys, Nicholas Owen and John Sopel – all of them and more bustled past me, dressed in Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts, stinking of booze, kebabs and stale Lynx body spray. Nicholas Witchell brought up the rear, looking very much the worse for wear in a traditional stag night Little Bo Peep costume with a ball and chain round his ankle. They were a lively bunch of lads, all right – but thankfully, after a light-hearted-but-firm word from the captain, they settled down quickly for the short half-hour flight. Well, all except one... As soon as the seatbelt signs went off, silvered-haired newsreader Huw Edwards dragged himself unsteadily to his feet and started staggering up the aisle towards the front of the plane. I thought he was looking for the bogs, so I told him they were at the back end, but instead he pushed past me, explaining that he wanted to go and see the captain. ‘He’s going to fly us all to Wales,’ he slurred. ‘I’m taking everyone to Glamorgan for a nice drink. The beers are on me.’ Although Edwards was quite good-natured to begin with, he began to get more agitated and aggressive as I tried to steer him back towards his seat. ‘Get your hands off me, we’re going to Wales,’ he shouted as he shoulder barged me out of the way. ‘Let me see the captain, you bastard.’ A rogue passenger can spell disaster on a flight; I knew I had to neutralise Edwards, and quick. I was just about to administer the secret neck pinch that all airline stewards are taught at cabin crew college when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was George Alagaiah, who could clearly hold his drink a bit better than his Welsh colleague. ’Sorry about Taffy, he’s had a few too many,’ he said. ‘Don’t worry, we’ll look after him. No hard feelings, eh? Let me buy you a drink,’ Alagaiah offered, as Simon McCoy, Quentin Somerville and Damien Grammaticas manhandled a now maudlin Edwards back to his seat. ‘I just wanted everyone to come to Bridgend for a nice pint at the Llangewydd Arms,’ he was sobbing. ‘What’s wrong with that?’ I was a little shaken by my experience, so I took up Alagaiah’s generous offer. ‘That’ll be £29 please,’ I said as I swiftly downed a couple of therapeutic whisky miniatures to calm my nerves and popped a TicTac into my mouth. I must say I had to chuckle when I turned on the Six O’Clock News later that evening to see Huw Edwards’s trademark steely frown staring back at me as he read out the latest Treasury figures. The poor twat must have been nursing the mother of all hangovers!
TAYLOR’S SAUCY ADVANCES LEAD TO MY SWIFT EXIT
Gasforth will never forget the events of the disastrous flight that was to be his last as a jet set employee of the budget airline. And amazingly, he lays the blame for his tragic downfall squarely at the feet of US pop vixen TAYLOR SWIFT.
The route was pretty standard – Leeds Bradford to East Midlands – but I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the glamorous
Shake It Off singer sat in the back row of economy, right next to the bog. With all her millions, she could surely of afforded her own private jet to get from Yeadon to Nottingham, so what on Earth she was doing in the cheapest of cheap seats on a low-budget airline, I’ll never know. But such musings were none of my business; I’m an air steward first and a music fan second, so I remained utterly professional and simply handed Taylor the four gin and tonics she ordered, charging the £58 to her gold Amex card using the machine on the trolley. While I was down the arse end of the plane, I decided to nip into the toilet to answer a call of nature. I hadn’t been in there more than about five or ten minutes or so when there was a knock on the cubicle door. I opened it and Swift’s perfectly coiffed blonde head appeared. ‘Excuse me,’ she purred. ‘Can you tell me how I go about joining the Mile High Club?’ I could smell the thick end of sixty quid’s worth of gin on her breath. Now, Taylor has been linked to some of the planet’s hottest hunks – from Harry Styles to Calvin Harris – so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t flattered by her attention. But I’m cabin crew first and a red-blooded male second, and I made it clear to the nubile megastar that I simply wasn’t interested. However, Ms Swift was clearly not used to taking ‘no’ for an answer. She grabbed me by my neon orange waistcoat and pushed me back into the cubicle. I’m too much of a gentleman to recount what she started to do to me next. However, the A-List icon had forgotten to lock the door, and it was promptly opened by another passenger, catching me and the Look
What You Made Me Do singer in fragrante delicto, with her pulling me off. The passenger screamed and there was a right old kerfuffle as accusations and counter-accusations flew around the cabin. To cut a long story short, after landing we were both marched off the plane and questioned. Swift’s hotshot lawyer ran rings around East Midlands Transport Police, spinning them a literally incredible web of lies about how she had walked innocently into the unlocked cubicle to find me pleasuring myself surrounded by four empty gin miniatures. Even more incredibly, she also claimed that she wasn’t even Taylor Swift – a ‘fact’ that was backed up by a false passport that revealed her to be a 48-year-old office administrator from Salford. My employers and the police simply wouldn’t listen to reason. My line manager turned up and I was handed my P45 right there and then. My whole life has been turned upside down and I’m now on the Sex Offenders Register, but I know one thing for sure; if I ever board a plane again, it’ll be too soon. I just want to put these last ten years of my life behind me and never think about them again.
NEXT WEEK: Selwyn fondly recalls the flight from Cardiff to Aberdeen on which he had full sexual intercourse with all five Kardashian sisters who had drunk the trolley dry.
‘He’s going to fly us all to Wales,’ he slurred. ‘I’m taking everyone to Glamorgan for a nice drink. The beers are on me.’ ‘Excuse me,’ she purred. ‘Can you tell me how I go about joining the Mile High Club?’
TOUCH DOWN AND OUT: Gasforth believes he lost his job as a flight attendant on wellknown airline due to star passengers’ hi-jinx.
PUFF OF AIR: P Diddy’s mid-flight flare-up was defused by Gasforth’s quick-thinking.
P-NUTTY: Diddy’s flew off his nut at snack packet’s meagre contents.
PLANE SPEAKING: Selwyn’s high-flying life was brought down to earth after famous fliers’ fits led to his dismissal.
PREPARE FOR TAKE-PROF!: Dawkins prayed for steady flight.
TAYLOR MADE: Superstar Swift shook Selwyn up.
HUW’S A NAUGHTY BOY?: Unsteady Edwards caused in-flight panic.