People-Watching? I’ll Pass, Thanks

Two hours spent restrained in a metal tube delayed from its original purpose of transatlantic travel provided ample scope for something I don’t usually indulge in.

People watching has never really been of interest, but to an extent was unavoidable on this occasion.  My captivity allowed scant opportunity for anything else and I found myself caught up in a few little dramas as well as being amazed anew at my fellow humans’ capacity for rudeness and intolerance.

A medical emergency onboard meant that after taxi-ing to the runway, the plane was diverted to a holding area. The incident was happening in the row just behind and to our right and having ascertained that the person in
distress was being attended to, we both kept out of the way (neither having any
medical expertise) so that the crew could deal with the situation.

Despite frequent updates from the captain (and apologies for
the delay) many of my fellow passengers clearly thought that their
inconvenience was of more importance than that of the passenger who had been
taken ill.

To my right, my neighbour frequently checked his watch, sighed loudly and slapped his thigh in irritation.  To my left the family group (all adults) engaged
in a shouting match which quickly escalated into a full scale high-decibel
argument. The children became restless and the babies began to wail.  Cue more irritation.

Once the passenger was removed from the aircraft, her bag
had to be recovered from the hold and the aircraft re-fuelled as, astonishingly
1000kg of fuel had been burned.

I admired the restraint of the crew member who, on being
aggressively interrogated about the re-fuelling (despite the captain’s
explanation) sweetly replied that idling aircraft engines burn fuel, exactly
like a car does.

Finally the disaster-mongers demanded every last detail from
the unfortunate passenger’s neighbour, who she had asked to summon help on her behalf.

There were of course passengers who just got on with it, even
those who connections were undoubtedly missed as all the procedures were
followed and paperwork completed before we eventually took off, two hours late.

I sincerely hope that the unfortunate lady made a full recovery; however the behaviour of some of my fellow passengers did nothing to raise my opinion of people watching as a pastime.

Photo credit: Tewkes

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