The trials of flying ‘coach’

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DASHED: Hopes of vacant seats beside you turn into a nightmare.

WE’VE all done it, haven’t we? Finally ensconced in your ‘avion’ seat and ready to fly, your heart lifts slightly as you notice the two seats beside you are still empty. Glancing up, you also observe there are only a few unseated passengers still left in the aisles.

With what appears to be all the travellers now on board, you tentatively allow yourself to consider that maybe, just maybe, you are the only occupant of your row of three – with all the freedom of movement and luxurious ‘spreading’ this unexpected flying bonus can provide. Wrong. Suddenly there is a bustle of activity and movement at the door. With much huffing, puffing and considerable disruption, the whole plane is subsequently confronted by two of the largest people it is possible to imagine.

An enormous man and woman, clutching baggage and bags about their persons, have entered the cabin and begun to make their laborious journey down the centre of the plane. Frantically you glance around. Are there any other empty seats in the vicinity they could be heading for? Of course there aren’t. Puffing and panting they pause and peer happily at the numbers above your seat.

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You and your unexpected luxury have just disintegrated into an uncomfortable nightmare. As they noisily and disruptively begin to place their baggage in the overhead compartments, you reluctantly unbuckle your, somewhat optimistically, fastened seat belt. Rising from your aisle seat (chosen for maximum freedom), you step aside and allow the couple to squeeze and wheeze their way into the seats that should really have contained your newspapers, magazines and repasts for the ensuing flight. (Dream on, Leapy!)

The female vibrates down into her window seat and the male (by far the largest) squashes down beside you. One enormous arm forces yours to the rear of the arm-rest, and there is now enough of your upper torso hanging in the aisle to make contact with most of the people who pass by, and especially the carts.

And those, my dear esteemed readers, are the circumstances I am now enduring as I attempt to scribble this week’s blurb. I have complained, once, and was duly informed, in a guttural German accent (what else!), that he was ‘not interferink viz me’. Ah well, he’s too unpleasant to argue with. Goodbye the illusion of first-class silver service travel and hello the crunched-up reality of plastic forks, large rubbish bags, and the horrible discomfort of modern-day ‘coach’.

“To the older amongst us who remember him, Leapy Lee (Little Arrows) died at the beginning of March this year.” So announced my obituary published this month in a local community journal. Still here, I’m afraid, folks. You don’t get rid of me that easily!

Keep the faith
Love Leapy [email protected] Web: Leapylee.co.uk

7 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Leapy
    I read your column regularly and enjoy it very much, you speak the truth which is always very refreshing, sorry to hear that you died, it’s amazing how you can still write for this newspaper, does the world wide web extend to beyond?
    All the best Alan..(UK)

  2. How do you know it was a German accent. Most brits cannot tell the difference between an Austrian, Dutch,Swiss German, or Scandinaviens when they speak English.

  3. In the 1960,s when I was an air stewardess with BOAC “2 Ton Tessie O,Shea was a passenger. Because if her size she always booked 2 seats in tourist class rather than travel in first. More roomy she said. Mind you she also needed space for her ukele as she refused to put it in the hold.

  4. Delighted and much relieved to learn that you are still amongst us Leapy. Long may you remain so. Look after yourself and especially your diet. Very best wishes from a long term admirer of your outspoken word.
    Cheer Leo….

  5. If only you, Richard Littlejohn and a few others could form a government and lead from the front, England would once again, be the country it once was, free of PC, Guardian news influence and BBC bias from its shadowy, non-accountability so called managers/directors. Keep up the great work.

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