“There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.”

For those of you who have wondered why I have been uncharacteristically quiet this week, I will proffer a small explanation. No, no one got to me with the duck tape, I went away with work. One thing became apparent during my week in Tenerife. No matter what embarrassing situation I was in or what stupid thing I was saying, there was always one thing that remained the same. I could guarantee someone (mentioning no names) would say “gonna blog about that, are you?” So it appears that even my colleagues know I’m a sad old git. As such, I am not going to blog about any of those ridiculous things and the reason why? Not because I look like a total moron and lousy drunk in most of the tales, but out of principle. I am more than happy to make myself look like an idiot if it will make people laugh, but I don’t want to suddenly seem predictable.

There is one thing that really bothered me during the trip and that was my flight. The last couple of flights I’ve taken have been with EasyJet – it hasn’t been a personal choice, it just happens that they are the only buggers that fly where I want to go! As they have taken me on my last 3 trips, I don’t know if this phenomenon that I experienced is a SleazyJet speciality or something that happens across the board. I shall endeavour to explain to you good tweeple what happened.

Our flight left Gatwick at 7am and I plugged my earphones in and tried my hardest to sleep for as long as possible before giving in to the boredom of the plane. I am not complaining about the flight in general; I mean sure, the orange seat covers were a little bright at 7am and it would have been nice if the seats tilted from the upright position, but beggars can’t be choosers. My biggest issue was ignoring the ludicrously chirpy colleagues scattered about the plane after all, they don’t deserve the pain of seeing me at 7am. The journey continued fairly much as normal. I didn’t buy a coffee for £8 or a box of crisps for £4. I did man up a little and brave it into the toilets, which was something I regretted fairly quickly.

Eventually, the seatbelt lights flashed back on and it was time to begin our descent. It was not a challenging landing; there were no gale force winds throwing us off course or gremlins dancing where the plane was due to land. We touched down in a fairly normal way. I didn’t recognise it as an especially smooth or special landing, which made the next event very curious. Over half the aircraft burst into cheers and were clapping heartily.

Where does one even begin with behaviour like that?! The captain was on the other side of a thick door, hopefully concentrating on more important things than his customers heaping adulation onto him. He wouldn’t have been able to hear or appreciate their praise. I thought this was quite odd, but perhaps people were just in high spirits because they had reached their holiday destination. Until I cast my mind back to my flights in and out of Montpellier in September and then back even further to Innsbruck in March. It seems that it is an EasyJet trend. Is flying with SleazyJet so high risk that you are, quite frankly, simply thankful to be alive at the end of it? If I had known this, I might have considered alternative transport; perhaps swimming or cycling my way there.

I am not saying that pilots have an easy job; they train very hard to do what they do, but they are also remunerated generously for that job. I am pretty sure that landing the plane safely falls well inside their job description and their remit. It isn’t an added extra. It’s not as though he said on the loudspeaker: “Good morning ladies and gentleman. Soon we’ll be touching down Tenerife South, but in the meantime, I’m going to treat you to a loop the loop. I’m not really meant to do it, but I thought it would be nice to welcome you in style.” If he carried that off, I would have applauded him. But he didn’t, he simply did what he was paid to do.

No one applauds me at the end of a day in the office. In fact, some days it is quite the opposite. Nobody congratulates me on shutting down my computer correctly and surely this is the same thing? Yes, I don’t kill hundreds of people if I don’t do it correctly, but I’m not trained or paid for that level of responsibility.

I would love to do some kind of test and find out if this phenomenon has spread to other carriers; I cannot imagine a British Airways flight landing from Schipol at 7pm on a Friday full of weary businessmen and women bursting into spontaneous applause. Why not? Because they are fully aware that the pilot is paid to fly AND LAND the plane. It is not an add on, it is not something we should be grateful for, it is something we should expect as normal.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Tweets that mention “There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.” « Bry's Scratch Pad -- Topsy.com
  2. Grace
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 12:25:59

    Gosh you’re turning into a grump Miss. B 😛

    I’ve flown many places many times on many airlines and, as far as I can remember, I’ve only been in one clapping-arrival incident – although I can’t actually remember where or why. I’ve never flown EasyJet though, so that rules that out.
    I was under an impression that it was some national habit – like the peoples of North America are more prone to these eruptions of spontaneous joy than us world-weary and angsty british types. Although precisely which people are more partial to it I can’t begin to pinpoint.

    That said – there’s no harm in congratulating someone for a job well done. I’m the type of soul that thanks the taxi driver for the lift, even as I pay the extortionate fare. You’d thank your teachers for teaching you. Your doctors for… erm… doctoring you. A fireman for… *cough* let’s not get into that. Anyway. All those people are paid. Most of them aren’t giving you any kind of special treatment – it is, as you say – just a job. That isn’t a reason to be ungrateful though.

    I rather wish there was more spontaneous clapping in the world, to be honest with you.


    • sillybry
      Jan 29, 2011 @ 14:29:41

      Yes, I am a grumpy old sod! I can’t help it – I’m British and such repressed and uptight.
      And yes, your points and very valid – nurses, doctors, firemen etc do deserve congratulations. But I would say it with words when they got my cat down from a tree oor my granny from the burning attic. The firemen that is. That would be a step too far for doctors.
      But I just find it all a bit weird when everyone woops and cheers that we’ve survived, as expected because a pilot has done his job adequately. If he had got through turbulence and fog, I get it a bit more. But I would guess that it was one of the more basic of landings.
      I don’t know – I just like being grumpy!


  3. Andy Hawkins
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 15:50:26

    I tend to fly EasyJet semi-regularly (Bristol to Belfast) and have never heard any break into applause on landing.

    Nor have any of my landings caused spontaneous applause from my passengers. Sighs of relief perhaps…


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