We recently discussed airline bloopers and invited readers to share their air travel stories with us. Here, reader Rohan Joshi shares two amusing experiences. Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
I have travelled a lot on different airlines, but I remember two flights which were memorable for many reasons.
The first eventful flight was from Bangkok to Mumbai. The flight was delayed by two hours and we were bored to death at the airport. What happened next was downright entertaining. I was seated in the second row and there was a family of four in front of me. At first they created a scene for the meals. They had pre-ordered non-vegetarian meals, but then changed their minds at the last minute, as it was a Thursday, causing much discomfort to the staff. In addition, a lady from the same family called to the airhostess and yelled at her, asking why she had received gulab jamuns as dessert when another passenger had received chocolate mousse! She wanted it both, but when the air hostess was good enough to comply, the rest of her family was up in arms about it too!
A few minutes later, I noticed that the Australian woman to my left, on the aisle seat, kept on asking for beer cans and bagged 12 of them in her purse! No air hostess or steward objected, which was surprising, since I have seen many people refused even a second drink.
My second flight experience was even more interesting. It was two days after 26/7, when Mumbai was submerged in water. I left Heathrow Airport in London for Mumbai with a stopover in Zurich, surprised that the flight from Zurich was on time for once. Now on this second leg of the journey, there was a big wedding party that was returning from the US -- there must have been 30-odd people, I'm guessing. As soon as the flight took off, a lady 4-5 rows in front of me stood up and yelled "Thepla kisko? (Who wants a thepla?)" Suddenly, 20-odd hands popped up and what followed was a chaos of paper plates and pickle. After about two hours lunch was served, and another lady stood up from the other side and yelled once again, "Thepla kisko?" I was shocked and looked on in amazement. She thought I was up for a thepla and asked me if I needed one and I shot back a NO!
The crew was witnessing this without a word up until then, but when they went back to collect their meal trays, all of them had consumed just a bite and wasted much of the food. One of the air hostesses lost it and gave them a lecture, saying, "Please don't waste food, there are so many in India who live below the poverty line and die of hunger and here we have to chuck all this away because you have wasted it!" Then followed even more chaos. There were children with the wedding party who started to cry and their mothers created a big scene for hot milk. What went on in the galley then, behind the curtains, I don't know and I'm glad that I don't.
Finally, a few hours later we landed in Mumbai and we all clapped in unison, as no one really expected the flight to be on time. I giggled with my copassengers that hopefully there would be no third round of theplas!