The Chronicle

Nothing beats air travel but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea


IT’S no doubt a sign of the times in which we live, but even flight delays can have passengers looking anxiously out of the plane windows.

I know, because I was one of them last week when I jetted off to Mackay for a week off and to take in the Australia versus India women’s one day cricket matches.

Flight delays are nothing new, of course, but when the passengers have boarded and yet left to sit in the plane on the tarmac for 20 minutes or more, people start asking questions.

“This is you captain speaking,” a voice came over the in-flight speakers.

“We had to change planes so we’re just waiting for some equipment from the other plane and we’ll be on our way.”

Another 15 minutes goes by before the cheery voiced captain comes back on the mic, advising that: “We’re just waiting for some catering and we’ll be right to go”.

I couldn’t help hearing a few passengers around me ask their mates: “Catering?”

In these days of Covid clusters and global unrest, some could be excused for fearing the worse, but from my window seat position I could confidentl­y say that the captain was on the level – which for an airline pilot is quite reassuring.

From my window, I could see a young chap in airport runway gear emerge from the tunnel carrying a tray with which he sprinted up the stairs.

On that tray were the objects of our delay – two coffee pots.

I kid you not!

You know those black handled silver bowl teapots that the flight attendants use to pour the cups or tea and coffee for passengers, well, that’s what was on the tray.

To confirm this, no sooner had the young runway attendant handed over the two pots, than the door was shut, the stairs removed and we were on our way.

Being an impatient person, I admit to being a little peeved that my trip had been delayed by tea and coffee drinkers.

The flight was only one hour, 15 minutes, couldn’t they forgo their cuppa and bickies for 75 minutes?

On AirPatter, once the beer is on board we’re off up into the skies, bugger the tea drinkers.

And, at the risk of being inundated with emails and letters from tea and coffee drinkers, those beverages are free on most flights.

We beer drinkers have to fork over $9.50 a can at 35,000ft so I reckon we should be afforded priority.

Tea and coffee drinkers on planes for some reason seem to hold up the catering process.

It tends to take longer for a flight attendant to pour out the hot beverages, obviously being careful not to spill and burn a passenger, and then the recipient will expect an accompany cookie or chocolate.

We beer drinkers simply exchange the beer can for our credit card and the transactio­n is complete.

Having been left stranded on the tarmac for 35 minutes pre-flight, I was in need of a beer or two, but with all the hold-ups I ended up with one solitary can of Great Northern before the captain came on with: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve started our descent into Mackay, could you please check any rubbish around you and hand it to the cabin crew”.

What? I was only halfway through my beer, and I’m not one to rush things.

It was like being at the doctor’s when you’re expected to fill the specimen glass but nerves take over and you’re left squirming and wriggling.

I kid you not, the good lady flight attendant stood in the aisle motioning for me to either scoff the can or hand over the remainder.

I couldn’t help but notice the tea and coffee drinkers were spared the “hurry ups”.

However, other than that, the flight was smooth as was the landing.

And, I can’t speak highly enough of women’s cricket having attended my first two internatio­nal matches in Mackay.

Foolishly, I remarked to my good lady friend beside me that women cricketers were every bit as skilful and dedicated, and better to watch, than their male counterpar­ts who I’d been watching for the past 40 years.

“Yes, women are just good as the men,” she reminded me.

Not long after, a young woman who had obviously spent much of the day near the can bar emerged in front of us attempting to get the crowd to do an “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!”

When she didn’t receive the support she expected, she passed a disparagin­g remark toward our section and moved to the next stand where she had more success.

I couldn’t help thinking “well, the women certainly match the men in the crowd at the cricket” but thought better of expressing this out loud.

It was just as well or I may not have been in a fit state to fill this week’s column.

On AirPatter, once the beer is on board we’re off up into the skies

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