Everything’s an experience these days

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

At Dundee airport the other week I stopped at the little coffee cart (it’s a tiny airport) and asked for a hot chocolate. Except they don’t sell hot chocolate.

No, what they sell is a “hot frothed milk and chocolate experience”. Or words to that effect.

Whatever, most of it ended up down the sink because my flight was called (needlessly early as it turned out) and you’re not allowed to take hot chocolate, or indeed a “hot frothed milk and chocolate experience”, through security in case you’re a terrorist.

I suppose it could be a weapon, though hardly a weapon of choice. You could throw it in the face of a member of the cabin crew (“Experience this!” you would shout, presumably) but then you’re stuffed. It’s all gone and there’s still a plane full of passengers, another member of the cabin crew, and a locked door to get through before you reach the pilot.

As it turned out, the flight was uneventful, except for one slightly worrying moment. I was sat next to the emergency exit which, every time that happens, comes with the phrase ‘at least it means you can stretch your legs’ but for some reason reminds me of those dreams where you’re at school naked. (Everyone can see!)

As the plane took off (small plane so very noisy and bumpy) the little plastic cover that goes over the door-pull fell in to my lap. I jumped a bit, as you can imagine. Staring down, and calming down, I noticed it was normally attached via Velcro (which wasn’t particularly reassuring, though I suppose it makes sense). All through take-off I kept looking at the now-exposed emergency door release fighting the urge to see how easy it would be to pull it. I mean, that has to be one of the least-tested parts of any plane, doesn’t it?

After the plane levelled out I thought about sticking it back on again but had visions of being wrestled to the ground by an over-keen Harrison Ford wannabe who might have mistaken me for, well, a terrorist. So I did something I always wanted to do… I pressed the little button that calls a member of the crew. She appeared instantly (small plane, you see) and looked a bit puzzled (in a sort of ‘here we go again’ way) when I pointed at my lap. ‘It fell off’ I said, sheepishly, and she picked it up and stuck it deftly but firmly back on the patch of Velcro before returning to her duties (primarily, it later turned out, stewing the tea – must be why they used to be called stewardesses, I suppose).

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