Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Blue Aeroplanes - Aeroplane Blues


We shared a Cabin, Trampas et Moi!

BLUE AEROPLANES - Aeroplane Blues (1991)

I have worked in the airline business since 1971 until I retired in 2009. As you can imagine I have flown literally hundreds of times. In this little feature I will recount to you some of my most memorable flights.

AIR FRANCE - First Class - Nice to London Heathrow - the early seventies.

When I worked for BEA before they merged with BOAC,  I used to fly every few months to Nice where Old Ma came from. I paid 10% of the full fare but was on standby. If there was a seat available I would get it, but if the flight was full, tough luck. Mostly I made it on, but lots of times it was touch and go.

There was one time Old Ma and I were trying to get back from Nice and the flight was full. Old Ma had a friend who worked for Air France and she managed to get us on the flight and upgraded to First Class. We were pretty excited as this would be our first experience of travelling with the rich and the famous. In the first class cabin.  I noticed Doug McClure,  Trampas in the popular western of the time The Virginian, he was actually there in the same cabin as Moi!
I had arrived.

It was superb, champagne immediately you sat down. The meal was immaculate, proper forks,  knives, china plates and cloth napkins. Not like all theses peasants in cattle class with their plastic forks and plastic food.

I took everything on offer, champangne, gin and tonics to start, wine with the meal, brandies after the meal, extra brandies, more brandies, cigars, free matches, free pens, free blow up doll,  I took the lot. I had miniature bottles everywhere, extra cigar behind my ear.

It then hit me

There was this woman in view a few rows ahead of us, she had two seats to herself, she politely refused everything on offer. She only accepted a glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon the whole trip.

I realised that I acted exactly how someone who had never flown First Class before would act. I was a peasant and acted like a peasant. I may as well had peasant written across my forehead.

That woman showed  'class'.

I learned a lot from that flight. 

The Track is from The Blue Aeroplanes's Album Beat Songs (1991). A great album from a group not wildly know.

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Blue Aeroplanes - Aeroplane Blues
4/ 5


23 April 2014 at 13:19

Brilliant post Old Pa. I laughed out loud at the thought of you with brandies lined up and a cigar behind each ear! I look forward to hearing more of your flying tales, though if there are any scary flight stories, I'll be reading those ones with sweaty palms - I'm a nervous flyer.

25 April 2014 at 16:15

Funny, funny post, love it! I can so picture you doing this. Something similar happened to me also on Air France whilst traveling to Cuba. My wife worked for the airline and we managed to get upgraded, flat beds, slippers, Hermes amenity bags the lot. I had the seat flat, straight, flat again, slippers on, hair combed and covered in cologne before we even took off from Charles De Gaulles. The cabin crew knew we were staff but they had seen all before. When it came to post dinner drinks, I had a choice of four digestifs but couldn't decide so they gave me the lot. I can't imagine how I gave them that impression!

25 April 2014 at 20:21

Old Pa - I think you did exactly the RIGHT thing - grab as much from the buggers whilst you can! That women with two seats could afford to look cool but she's just dull. Did you get to meet Trampas? What a guy! Loved him in The Virginian and the Simpsons piss-take of him is even better. Great song by a great band. Gerard Langley used to sell me albums by the shed load when he worked in my local record shop. Mind you, I'd have bought them anyway and just just because a ponce like Gerard was behind the counter. Great post, as ever.

25 April 2014 at 20:22

*just* = NOT just!