Leave the music, take the teddy bear

“Goo morning adie and gentumen, and weckum abored thees Fybe fight to Bristow”* garbled the stewardess, who clearly had been mugged by the producers of Sesame Street preparing a special episode brought to you by her letters ‘L’ and ‘S’, and possibly the number ‘2’.

Waiting for today’s flight from Jersey, it appears Flybe have dispensed with music whilst passengers are boarding. This meant I couldn’t play my usual game of ‘inappropriate songs to play on a plane before take-off’. For those of you wondering, my current top five are: 5) Status Quo ‘Down down, deeper and down’; 4) Tom Petty ‘Free Fallin”; 3) Van Morrisson ‘Brown-eyed Girl’ (because, unless you a fifty-something dancing at a wedding, there is never an appropriate time for this song); 2) Foo Fighters ‘Learning to Fly’; 1)  Jerry Lee Lewis ‘Great Balls of Fire’.

‘We wie shortey be commenssing tha in-fight duty free survise’*. The stewardess’ voice brough the inflight trawl of my cd collection to a halt. Why was this stewardess doing the announcements? There was another stewardess who had a very plummy Joanna Lumley accent who not only had a full 26 letters in her alphabet, but if you closed your eyes you could imagine you were John Steed battling some evil nemesis.

What is the obsession with selling us stuff on a plane? I mean, we’ve just had to check-in twenty-eight days before flying, and there’s really only two things to do in an airport: eat and shop. Once you’ve eaten the all-day breakfast which seems to cost more than a London semi-detached house and has probably been gently simmering on the hot-plate longer than it would take to build one, you’re left with shopping. The problem here is that they cash in on our fear of flying. Even the most seasoned flyer will ‘treat’ themselves to a magazine, or a new book – afterall, where else are you constantly reminded that life’s too short to save for a rainy day and you may not get another chance to buy anything? What if the plane crashed? At least that’s the only reason I can think of to explain the ghastly mismatch of colours you find in airport TieRacks.

If it’s not enough that I’ve driven my bank manager to Chinese worry-balls with the amount I’ve spent on breakfast and a Mickey Mouse tie in the terminal, now the stewardess is trying to grasp the last pennies out of my sweaty and over-airconditioned hands.

As they push the trolley down the aisle, my attention is drawn to the teddy on top. My instant reaction is that this is some slick marketing ploy to get kids nagging their parents to buy it for them, but the more I look at the bear’s facial expression the more I begin to think that he is not sad but embarassed – I actually think the bear is a regular employee of the airline, who clocks-in at work daily and just does this to raise money to put his bear cubs through college. As jobs for teddy bears go, this has to be one of the most degrading. He auditioned for the role of Pudsy you know…

And then we land, and Captain Roger (they’re all called Roger, or Rick, or some other popular skin-flick name, aren’t they?) comes back on with that silky-smooth ‘I’m the captain’ voice that ouses seventies sex-appeal and hints that every airline pilot is a direct descendent of Roger Moore.

‘Take the gun, leave the cannoli’, mumbles Clemenza in a line that steals the entire film in the Godfather. My advice for Flybe would be this: ‘Leave the music, take the teddy bear’.

*NB No letters were harmed in the making of this post.

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