Apr 20, 2008

Analysis: A flight from hell, dogs and Ben

Anyone who knows me well knows three important things about me. 1. I hate bad lighting . 2. Airplanes scare me. 3. Not crazy about dogs. Probably in that order.

Last weekend, my daughter and I took the afternoon plane from Nice to Brussels during which time I had the misfortune to sit in front of an 8 year old boy and his 4 year old brother. Did I mention there were no parents? Yeah---You see where this is going.

Aside from the 18 summons to the one flight attendant, the kids opened and closed the tray table 100 times, kicked the seats for one straight hour, pretended to vomit into the airsick bag, and kept saying “Hello Moto” (Motorola tag line) in a voice that was a cross between Gilbert Godfrey and Yoda. Google them both and you’ll understand the headache.

Analysis: I think the airline purposely put a mother in front of these children. Any single woman would have had her uterus frozen the moment she got off the plane.

Upon our approach into Brussels we hit a lot of turbulence. I become very religious when I fly. At take off and landing, I pray for salvation and promise never to do all those things I just did last month ever again!

Analysis: I am psychotic, not religious.

So, I bowed my head in peaceful prayer only to be interrupted by Ben (found out his name was Ben) yelling “We’re gonna die. We’re gonna die.” The little brother, thinking this was very amusing, decided to join him. In chorus, from row 16: “We’re gonna die. We’re gonna die. ”

I very rarely complain about airlines. In fact I always make it a point to thank the pilot and flight attendants when we land. But Brussels Airlines is really starting to piss me off. Not only do they not let you make changes to your flight any more (not even for a fee) unless you have paid a full FLEX fare, but the ONE flight attendant on this flight spent 80 % of his time ignoring these pranksters, responding only by giving them candy and chocolate instead of asking them to stop or splitting them up. More puzzling...These children were crawling under the ticket desk, turning on the microphone and tapping at the computer in Nice. They were out of control BEFORE we even boarded and the personnel did nothing!! I am sure it was a matter of passing the buck, or the Ben, off on someone else to deal with. I know it’s not the airlines responsibility to manage unruly brats, but it is their responsibility to insure the safety and comfort of the other passengers isn’t it?

Analysis: Am I wrong? Do I pay 180 euros tax on an 80 euro ticket for this treatment?

The man across the aisle from me must have seen the terror and frustration in my face because he patted my white-knuckled grip and said it would be ok. Then sternly asked the boys to shut up. A total stranger, non-airline employee taking it upon himself to do the right thing. Bravo.

I turned on my phone right when we landed to inform my ride we’d be out soon. The flight attendant immediately came to my side and said, “Phones must remain turned off until the plane is at the gate and the cabin door is open, as use of electronic items can interfere with the planes navigational system..” Now he shows up.

Analysis: WTF?!? We’re on the ground. If the pilot can’t find the gate from the runway in broad daylight, we have bigger issues than your navigational system.

For all you dog lovers out there, I am giving you a concession right now. A rare, dog loving concession. Print it. Save it. Use it against me the next time I rant about the piles of dog doo doo in the streets and on the escalators of Brussels. Here it is:

“I would rather have had two canines of any breed sitting behind me, drooling all over my seat back, maybe even pet them once or twice, possibly one in my lap, than have had these two beasts behind me. Any day. Dog beats Ben---paws down.”

There. I said it.

Analysis: These kids must have been the spawn of the devil himself.

I saw Ben again at baggage claim (still no parents around). He had the nerve to say to me “Hello Moto, It’s us again.” Like a young Jack Nicolson from the shining saying, “Here’s Johnny!”

Ben is going to be in jail in 5 years, I am certain.

Final analysis: It is not only dogs that need to be kept on leashes.


Anonymous said...


Come on! The poor kids were abandoned by their parents all alone on a plane. If anybody is to blame is them.


Anonymous said...

High fives to you for nailing Brussels Airlines and telling it like it is. Yesterday my husband flew from Brussels to Moscow and paid through the nose for a flex ticket (their weak answer to business class which divides the cabin with a shabby curtain). Once he arrives at his seat he finds he is sitting in coach (or whatever they call it). No offer of apology, no changing his seat, their solution "lets pull the shabby curtain behind this guy so we don't have to deal with the problem". I bet if we replace the in flight crew with dogs we would get better service.

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