Flying by the seat of their pants – passengers and pilots

AIR TRAVEL: Pilots can liven things up with the PA system.

AT this time of year, air travel’s uppermost in many people’s minds.

Not always a pleasant experience what with queuing, flight delays, ‘misunderstandings’ etc. easyJet recently denied claims that, ahead of a flight from Malaga to Bristol, its pilot announced there was a ‘50/50’ chance both its engines would work, before asking passengers for a ‘show of hands’ whether or not they should take off or stay put – triggering panic on board.

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easyJet subsequently confirmed the ‘technical issue,’ strongly denying the request for a vote, while one witness said the hysteria may have been a ‘misunderstanding.’

Nonetheless, cabin crew do liven things up with the PA system – occasionally at the expense of passengers.

On an early flight to Paris, a BA pilot announced: “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to inform you that this is my very first flight… (long pause while passengers glared at each other in panic)… of the day.”

Cue relief all round. BA again: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard this British Airways flight to Denver. If your travel plans do not include visiting Denver, then now would be the perfect time to make yourself known to a member of the cabin crew.”

A Virgin flight attendant once announced: “It’s customary after a long-haul flight to ask for volunteers to clean the toilets. If you wish to volunteer, please stand up before the fasten seat-belt sign’s been switched off.”

And this during the safety briefing on the Canadian airline Westjet: “In the event of a sudden drop in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. If you’re travelling with someone who needs help, put your own mask on first, then help your husband.”

After a jet landed at Heathrow in a storm, the Aussie pilot forgot to switch off the PA system. Passengers heard him snigger: “Hell, I need a cool beer and a warm Sheila after that.” As a stewardess rushed to warn him, one passenger yelled: “You forgot the cool beer, Sheila!”

All airlines keep handcuffs on board to deal with ‘over-boisterous’ passengers. Maybe a spare pair of cuffs for ‘over-boisterous’ pilots too?

Nora Johnson’s psychological/suspense crime thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lie,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ ( available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.


  1. Too true! Worst ever flight for me was about 15 years ago – I can’t recall the airline. We went through some really heavy washing-machine type turbulence after which the pilot, presumably tongue-in-cheek, informed us over the PA system: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to announce that we have finally regained control of the aircraft.”


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