To alleviate the boredom on long-haul flights on the Beach Fleet we played word games on the Passenger Address.
Extract from my book — “Dancing the skies and falling with style.”
We sometimes played a game on the PA. The cabin crew gave us a word which we had to include at some point in our passenger address. If we didn’t include the word, we had to buy the cabin crew a drink each. However, if we did, they had to buy us one. The stakes were high as there are 15 of them and just 3 of us. It required a great deal of ingenuity to include words such as ‘salmon,’ or ‘dreadlocks’ seamlessly into a passenger briefing.
Our flight was from from Gatwick to Montego Bay in the north of Jamaica, and then across the island to Kingston. We were about to start the engines when the chief stewardess came onto the flight deck to announce that boarding and security checks were complete. She was a bubbly, extroverted blonde with a wicked sense of humour.
“Right boys,” she sniggered, “your word for today is ‘bollocks’.”
She clambered on her broomstick and flew out of the flight-deck.
The First Officer was responsible for the announcements on the first leg. I looked at him in despair, trying to calculate how much 15 rum punches would cost in Kingston. Pale and grim he looked at me. At the top of climb he did his introductory speech to the passengers. Sweating slightly, I listened in, but no ‘Bollocks!’ I put my head in my hands. Similarly, there was no ‘Bollocks’ anywhere in his remaining briefings. We were scuppered!
I considered going sick in Montego Bay.
We landed and glumly taxied towards the apron. The docking guidance system was lined up with my seat, so I took control to park. As we approached, I asked the First Officer to call for the doors to be switched to manual and cross checked.
He switched on the PA and announced.
Cabin Crew, doors to bollocksand cross check!”
I was stunned.
The chief stewardess rushed onto the flight deck and said we had cheated.
I replied smugly that we had followed the rules, and we were looking forward to ﬁve, frosted Red Stripes each when we arrived in Kingston.
She stormed out in a rage.
Feeling very pleased with ourselves we taxied out for the short hop to Kingston. The chief re-entered the ﬂight deck.
“Right, I’ve got you now,” she said with a malicious glint in her eye.
“Your word, Colin is ‘Chlamydia’.”
My jaw dropped.
Cackling, she left the ﬂight deck with a flourish.
My vision of free beer all night quickly evaporated. How on earth could I use that word on the PA? It was impossible.
The 747 wasn’t designed for short ﬂights and I didn’t have time to think, completing checklists, doing calculations and weaving through the thunderstorms over the Blue Mountains took all my time and concentration.
Finally, on the approach my interest in history came to my rescue.
I pressed the button and spoke to the passengers.
“Ladies and gentlemen. We are now making our approach to Port Royal airport, and we should be landing in 5 minutes time. Port Royal was a notorious pirate town which sank after an earthquake in 1692.
It is rumoured that Captain Clam hid here when chased by the Royal Navy in 1685.”
I had a bit of a hangover the next day.
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