This Is For All Frequent Flyers

Occasionally, Australian airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight ‘safety lecture’ and their other announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

On an Air NZ Flight with a very ‘senior’ flight attendant crew, the Pilot said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.’

On landing the hostess said, ‘Please be sure to take all your belongings. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.’

‘There are only four  ways to leave the aircraft, so try to choose one.’

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Auckland, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: ‘Whoa, big fella. WHOA!’

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Adelaide, a flight attendant on a Qantas flight announced, ‘Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as f*** everything has shifted.’

From a Qantas employee: ‘Welcome aboard Qantas Flight X to Y to operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public un-supervised.’

‘In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favourite.’

‘Weather at our destination is 32 degrees with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Qantas Airlines.’

‘Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.’

Heard on Qantas Airlines just after a very hard landing in Hobart the flight attendant said on the intercom, ‘That was quite bump and I know what you are all thinking. I’m here to tell you it wasn’t the airline’s fault, it wasn’t the pilot’s fault, it wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault… it was the asphalt!’

Another flight attendant’s comment on a less than perfect landing: ‘We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.’

An airline pilot reported that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, to smile, and give them a ‘thanks for flying United’ message.’ He said, in the light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye expecting someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had alighted except for an old lady walking with a cane. She said, ‘Sonny, mind if I ask you a question?’ 

‘Why no Ma’am,’ said the pilot. ‘What is it?’

The little old lady said, ‘Did we land or were we shot down?’

After a real crusher of a landing in Sydney, the Flight Attendant announced, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. Once the tyre smoke has cleared, and the warning bells are silenced, we’ll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.’

Part of a flight attendant’s arrival announcement: ‘We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. The next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurised metal tube, we hope you’ll think of Qantas.’

A plane was taking off from Mascot Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number XYZ, non-stop from Sydney to Auckland. The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax – ARGHHH! OH, MY GOD!’ 

Silence followed and after a few minutes, the captain continued on the intercom, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier, but, while I was talking, the flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled the hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!’ 

A passenger in Economy said, ‘That’s nothing. He should see the back of mine!’

George Osborne and Ed Balls are in a duel to the death

In 1815, the Irish statesman Daniel O’Connell fought a duel to the death with political opponent John D’Esterre. Technically they didn’t actually fight, they fired at one another with pistols; but as someone whose never been engaged in a stand-off more dangerous than a conker fight, I’m not going to get snippy.

D’Esterre was mortally wounded in the shoot-out, and died two days later. O’Connell, who had been shouldering a reputation for cowardice after walking away from a previous duel, never looked back. His status enhanced, he went on to become a great campaigner for Catholic emancipation, and a source of inspiration to freedom fighters including Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

O’Connell was, however, deeply affected by D’Esterre’s death, to the extent he reportedly took to wearing a white glove on his gun-hand every Sunday, though some accounts have it he went down the less romantic route of wrapping it in a white handkerchief whenever he entered church. Either way, whether he liked it or not, it was the duel that made the man. Or at least, made the politician.

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Hans Blix: ‘I’m sure Iran doesn’t have the bomb. Their nice president told me so’

This week’s New Statesman carries a priceless article by former UN weapons inspector and scourge of the neo-cons Prof Hans Blix. At least it appears priceless, based on the edited highlights on the New Statesman website.

It’s headlined “Hans Blix: How do we stop Iran getting the bomb?”, which is itself a little disingenuous, given that the thesis of Blix’s piece – the Statesman describes it a touch pretentiously as an “exclusive essay” – is that Iran doesn’t want the bomb at all.

“Despite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s wild, populist declarations that Israel should be wiped off the map,” he reminds us helpfully, “there is no imminent Iranian threat that could be invoked to justify pre-emptive action.” Now, I have to make clear at this point I am not, nor have I ever been, a nuclear weapons inspector. So Prof Blix already has that one over me. But when someone in a position of some influence, say for example the president of a state, says in relation to another state, “I do not believe your state has a right to exist and I intend to wipe it off the map,” I think that, even to a layman, that could constitute a threat. The clue is in the who

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Alex Salmond is finally on the back foot over the Scottish referendum

It is easy to think, when events in Edinburgh are viewed from south of the border, that Alex Salmond is winning. His boisterous appearances in the Westminster media suggest that conditions could not be better for the Scottish National Party’s cheeky-chappie leader, or for his long-held ambition to break up the Union.

However, in Scottish politics something interesting is happening (which technically isn’t a first, but is certainly a rarity). Mr Salmond is finally being put on the back foot. True, the opposition that the First Minister faces from the other parties in the Scottish Parliament, and from their inexperienced leaders, is still not strong enough. But the Prime Minister’s decision to make his voice heard is having a positive impact.

David Cameron’s speech in Edinburgh yesterday was precisely the kind of serious intervention that Unionists on both side of the border have long wanted. It emphasised the emotional case for the Union. And with a dash of humility and good humour, Mr Cameron made clear that while he will work to persuade the Scots to stay, he thinks it quite reasonable that we all need a clear answer either way.

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Mitt Romney suffers from the ‘weirdo factor’

This has not been a good week for Mitt Romney, in the same way that 1912 wasn’t a good year for the Titanic. Polls now put Rick Santorum ahead nationally. Santorum also has a lead of between 4-10 points in Michigan – the next big primary and Romney’s home state. Rick’s lead in Ohio is estimated to be an astonishing 18 percent.

Of course, this is a race with incredible ups and downs and it could just be that Santorum is enjoying his moment of glory. But one challenge that Romney does face is the growing importance of the “weirdo factor” – the creeping sense that he isn’t like you and me.

The weirdo factor was first popularised in discussions about Jimmy Carter back in 1976. Part of Carter’s problem was his idiot smile and his frosty manners. But the bigger issue was his religion. Carter talked a lot about being “born again” and confessed to a journalist that he often felt “lust in my heart” for women other than his wife. Americans found Carter’s strain of evangelical Baptism hard to follow. “What does he believe?” pundits asked. Does he “talk to God”? Does he take the Old Testament literally? Will he try to outlaw abortion?

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Equality activists, not Christians, are imposing their beliefs on others – whatever Trevor Philips says

What would Britain do without the Equality and Human Rights Commission? I imagine it would literally collapse within five years and the country would be plunged into a generation-long civil war if we didn’t continue to hand over large amounts of money to Trevor Phillips and co.

The latest words of wisdom from the leader of the organisation are reported in today’s paper.

Speaking at a debate in London on diverse societies, Mr Phillips backed the new laws, which led to the closure of all Catholic adoption agencies in England. “You can’t say because we decide we’re different then we need a different set of laws,” he said, in comments reported by The Tablet, the Catholic newspaper.

“To me there’s nothing different in principle with a Catholic adoption agency, or indeed Methodist adoption agency, saying the rules in our community are different and therefore the law shouldn’t apply to us. Why not then say sharia can be applied to different parts of the country? It doesn’t work.”

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Syrians brave backlash to rally against Assad

The protesters emerged from mosques after the main weekly Muslim prayers, including in Damascus, following a call by Internet-based activists for a rally for a “new phase of popular resistance.”

“We want revenge against Bashar and Maher,” they chanted at gatherings across the country, according to videos posted on YouTube, referring to the president’s brother, who heads the feared Fourth Armoured Division.

They turned out after the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly backed an Arab League initiative calling on Assad to step aside, and ahead of a visit by a Chinese envoy pushing for peace.

Assad, in remarks to visiting Mauritanian Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf, said reforms have to be synchronised with a “return to peace” in the country torn apart by violence.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 12 people were killed so far on Friday, one of them at a demonstration that was fired upon in the capital.

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