I Adore A Good Airplane Cock-Up

Bonjour, Madame,” a sparkly flight attendant says. Her powder blue eye shadow takes me back to seventh grade. I blink hello. I’ve been butchering French for a month and cannot bring myself to utter one more word. I cannot wait to lean my head against the cabin wall the entire eleven and a half hour flight to Los Angeles. Last night’s farewell party was epic. That techno music is still pulsing through my eye sockets. Thankfully, I’ve booked a window seat so I can sleep.

When I finally reach the 39th row my heart sputters and dies. A little brown-haired girl, not more than seven, has plopped her cute little ass in my seat that I’d paid for months ago. Merde. The girl’s mother is in the center seat sporting a men’s size down jacket with puffy nylon completely covering the shared armrest. Great.

“Uh, hi there,” I say shakily. The woman juts her protruding chin up and out to inspect me. Her eyes are magnified three times by the lenses resting across the bridge of her nose.

“I’m sorry, but she’s in my seat.”

The passengers around us can sense a showdown and watch curiously.

“No, I don’t think so,” the talking chin says.

“Yes,” I retort and show her my ticket.  “I’m 39L, the window seat.” I point up at the diagram indicating this fact obvious to the hundreds of seated passengers, except her.

The child looks as if I’d said Sponge Bob and Miley Cyrus have been gunned down on the tarmac. She’s clutching a stuffed grey and white animal dog to her chest.  The puppy’s faux pink tongue is sticking out at me.

“Would you like to sit there?” I ask the little girl, hoping she’s mature beyond her years and instantly swaps back.

She nods yes. Double merde.

“I like your doggie,” I say getting zero gratitude from mother, child or beast.

After a few moments, a heavily scented flight attendant leans over and asks if we’d all change rows so a large family travelling with small children could all sit together. I was about to say “Hell no!  I’ve already lost my seat and now you want me to lose my row, too?” but the chin scoops up her belongings and I have no choice. The “small” kid (now occupying my original window seat) is a freaking Jonas brother clone.

I follow behind the attendant, the chin, the child and canine to our new positions.  The temperature feels fifteen degrees warmer up here. The plane gets airborne and the man directly in front of me reclines his seat back farther than any other chair in the history of the world. He looks like a Goodfella in a barber chair with the blanket tucked under his fat face. This dude is huge.  Of course mom and daughter are sitting behind non-tilters and this irks me more than the fact that the little girl has not once looked out the window, not even during take-off. They’re busy sharing a homemade jambon et fromage baguette together.

“Mmm.  Looks good,” I say.

Silence.

I crank the headset to drown out the sound of my grinding teeth. The video malfunctions. The screen in front of me goes dark. Unbuckling my seatbelt, I slither out with an aerial view of Mafia Man’s nose hair, and follow the perfume cloud back to the galley.

“Excuse me,” I say parting back the curtain. The pretty attendant greets me with a wide smile.

“I need to speak to someone in charge,” I say as non-threatening as possible. I’m fairly sure that movie deprivation does not constitute as official airplane business, but seriously don’t care.  Somebody has to pay for this cock-up.

Then I can hear my dad saying how it used to be when boarding a plane was like “stepping into a nightclub.” Passengers “dressed” back then, men in suit and tie, and ladies who wouldn’t be caught dead without hats and gloves. How stunning all the stewardesses were (like Playboy bunnies I believe he’d said. Hey, it’s his memory), and the food was incomparable. Yeah, well those days sure weren’t these days.

She tells me to return to my seat and someone will be right with me.

After five minutes pass, a way-too-hot-to-work-in-the-airline-industry man approaches. He leans down and whispers in my ear, “Pleez follow me.”

Breezing past the Economy section, then past Business Class where the aroma of better cuisine is painfully obvious, he turns toward me and asks how he may be of assistance while reaching for a clipboard with the manifest. I tell him how I was originally seated in 39L by the window, but had found that strange little girl in my seat and didn’t want to be known as the bitch who broke her heart.

“How do you say “no” to a child?” I explain.

Then I tell him to get a gander at the extremely large man lying horizontally across my non-functioning video screen and damn near tear up.

“Pleez,” he says. “You can seet here.”

This ridiculously good-looking man is going to let me stay here, in the little fold-down seat for flight attendants, the entire way home?

“O.K.,” I agree.

The hours pass quickly. He brings me a selection of teas, biscuits and aperitif on a silver tray. Dozens of glossy magazines are fanned atop a slick credenza for my reading pleasure. I doze contentedly sitting upright. The other attendants do not disturb me. Sultry Man in Charge has ordered them to leave me be. They’re probably afraid I’ll snap like a wishbone if moved a third time.

As I realize the meal service is about to commence, I don’t want to overstay my generous welcome and bid my kind host adieu. My hangover has magically disappeared.

“Wait,” he says handing me a frozen treat with a wink.

Mafia Man is unmoved. Once settled back in my seat, I sink my teeth into a cold Haagen-Daz ice cream bar covered in chocolate and toasted almonds.

The little girl’s eyes widen.

“Where did you get that?” the woman asks, her first words spoken to me in ten hours. “Can my daughter get one, too?”

I gesture for the darling blond attendant to come over. The woman commands her to bring two of those little ice creams at once.

“Oh, I am sorry Madame. Those are for the First Class passengers only.”

Before she walks away I tap her arm and ask, “May I ask the name of your perfume?”

J’adore by Christian Dior,” she tells me and leaves.

“Mmm,” I say taking another bite. I adore a good airplane cock-up. TC mark

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  • Christina

    Hahaha I love this! 

  • Sam

    How splendid!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    so freaking sweet 

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    This piece was amazing. Bravo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    I felt this wonderful smugness as I read this article – bravo!

  • Anonymous

    Reading about your awesome day is making mine awesome too.

  • kimberleylovato.com

    wonderful story.  

  • Dani

    Well written and enjoyable! Loved this. Great job.

  • Anonymous
  • https://twitter.com/iamthepuddles Jordana Bevan

    funny funny funny funny funny like like like like karma

  • Jo

    Another Jill Paris Gem of a story – I can’t get enough of this author!!

  • Jo

    Another Jill Paris Gem of a story – I can’t get enough of this author!!

  • Thinkrollins

    Too funny!  Loved this hilarious story.

  • Thought Catalog

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

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