The 8th Row

A long post…so, please bear with me…

I was reading about the success and functioning of JetBlue Airlines. One trivia given about their CEO was the fact that he always travelled in the last seat, when he flew in his own airline, because that was the seat that did not recline. The customer comes first, he mentions, and sends his crew scurrying to look after other passengers upfront, rather than focussing on the non-reclining seat at the rear-end seating the CEO.

I leaned back, and reflected on another airline experience I had.

Location: Bangkok airport
Travelling with: Dear husband, extremely active 1 year old who had a fitful slumber from Hongkong to Bangkok, and was brimming with energy to explore the surroundings.

When I approached the Indian Airlines counter, I requested for the first row. Since I was travelling with an infant, the phrase “travelling light” was dropped like a hot cake from the phrases I was allowed to employ. Secondly, the first row allows the baby some space to develop immunity by running her fingers on the dirty carpet, and drooling on those fingers a while later!

“Sure Madam. I can do that for you”, said the courteous airhostess, explaining to me at great length about how she empathized with me for the long flight we had already endured. You are in good hands, she assured me and handed us our boarding passes. I emanated warmth. I smiled at her maternal instincts.

I was busy running between the chairs and playing a sophisticated game of Peek-a-boo when she (the air hostess)interrupted me and said she would like to change our boarding pass. I explained that I had requested for the first seat…blah, blah. She flashed a smile, and said she would still like to change our boarding pass to give us the “right” one. I handed it over to her with childish innocence. My eyes resonated with a warm feeling, and I did not quite catch that flicker of hesitation in her eyes. 8A, 8B was changed to 9A,9B and handed back to me along
with some candies for the 2 footer by my side.

I boarded the plane and this is the layout:

FIRST CLASS
_______ ________
8A,8B,8C 8D, 8E, 8F

9A,9B,9C 9D, 9E, 9F
10A.. …

There must have been a mistake I told myself and settled down in 8A. That airhostess was too sweet, and this must be an error. I settled the various bags, took out the relevant toys, milk bottles, baby blanket and other paraphernalia. I eyed the passenger across the aisle, and he explained why he had requested for the first row too. I nodded understandingly – he was nearly the height of a building and he would have had trouble fitting into those tiny seats with nil legroom. Hefty but courteous, I noticed and got on with my task of settling down.

Just then, the air hostess came by, and told me to vacate, and get moving to 9A. I blabbered, and explained again.

“That’s true madam, but a senior officers family is travelling, and they need these seats. You understand na?”

I didn’t understand. Imagine a baby chick and mama chick standing on the carpet, and the mama chick walks out of the carpet, and pulls it from under the baby chick’s legs. I felt like the baby chick now. Those very eyes that had emanated warmth, now displayed with a sense of betrayal.

She eyed the building sized man, and for a moment debated whether to tell him or not. She did, and she watched on with trepidation. He stormed that he wasn’t going to take this lightly. Apparently, he had made advance reservations and had come to the airport 2 hours in advance for this exact request, and it was being denied because the officers family “needed” the seats?!

To cut a long story short: The flight departed with grouchy 9th row passengers and a brood of happy officer family folks in 8th. A while later, the poor man across the aisle was failing miserably at trying to seat himself comfortably – he finally heaved himself out, and told the air hostess to put him in First Class, and he would bear the difference in fare if necessary.

The clouds cleared, the sun peeped and the air hostess smiled and bustled only to come back a few minutes later with first class seats ………… for the officer’s family!

The 8th row was available once again and everybody flew happily thereafter.

So, the Officers family flew first class while the CEO sat upright at the back.

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When M’s become Ebbs

I call a customer service representative for just another routine thing:
Bee: Hi, I am Saubya calling
CSR: Hi … Um, could you spell your name out for me please
Bee: Sure. S as in “Sab”, A as in “Apple”, U as in “Ubrella”, Ebb as in “Bary”
CSR: Pardon?
Bee: Ebb as in “Bary”. You know Jesus had a bother named Bary
CSR: Oh Mary!
Bee: Yes….pardon bee. I have a cold, and can’t get to say “Ebb” quite right!

Spring danced in, and the allergens joined suit. I have a cold that will not call it quits – Yes!! I finally banaged to say a sentence without “Ebb”!

As I get dressed everyday, I take a moment to decide about the deodorant to use. This time, it doesn’t matter. Atleast not to me, I am not the one smelling myself! I could dress like a peach, smell like a lime and feel like a rag!

A cold has some fringe benefits too – you could blame your deteriorating culinary skills on the inability to smell. “Baybe, the salt is a trifle bore, and I bay have gone a little too easy on the peppers. I can’t taste very well, thanks to this irritating cold!” you proclaim and set forth a dish of soup that tastes like dishwater.

Benefits aside, with a cold you seem to tick people off with some routine tasks. When a person has a nose like mine, they come to rely on it pretty heavily for day-to-day chores. You pick up the baby, and sniff around to see if the daily duties have been performed. With a cold, this is yet another task that requires more overt techniques. You have to resort to sneaking a peek, and this is certainly not something that makes anybody feel comfortable. So, you have a cold and an angry toddler to deal with by the end of the exercise!

I could ramble on as usual, but let me stop myself and enjoy the beauty of Spring!

Of Toothpaste Tubes

Wouldn’t it be nice to have liquid toothpaste …Only then it would not be called ToothPaste, but Toothmix. The flow of the toothmix could be akin to ball point pens, wherein a little pressure when applied flows onto the toothbrush, and empties out from the top. Of course, then the structure of the toothbrushes would have to be changed to enable them to squirt the liquid as we move them over our teeth with a small liquid holder to squish out the liquid in spurts as the brushing action begins. The liquid should have the same foaming action as toothpaste so that we get the same clean feeling after brushing.

One may wonder at this juncture why one should go through all the trouble of changing the working model of toothpaste and toothbrushes? Rightly so.

The reason is simple: Have you seen the way people squish the toothpaste in the middle, instead of pushing the paste down from the top of the tube? Then, the task of moving the remnants from the top to the squished middle is left to the more orderly paste-pusher. Of course, by this time the tube has already lost its original shape and looks forever like a downtrodden, sad tomato shoved under the wheels of the speeding carriage.

I live with a compulsive paste-squisher, and many a store have I visited looking for some sort of a crude implement like a ring that I could attach to the end of the tube, and all the squisher needs to do is move the ring along the circumference of the toothpaste – and Bingo! Paste on Brush; tube looks good; birds chirp happily again and another smooth day is born!