Which wouldn’t have been such a big deal — only the plane was delayed by around 90 minutes. After about 40 minutes, an announcement was made saying that the plane would be boarding shortly and to facilitate speedy departure, would people with Priority Boarding please form a queue immediately. I initially stayed put because, despite being English, I thoroughly dislike queueing, and I figured I could jump on the end of the line when it started moving. I was expecting the usual 20 or so people.
When I realized the queue was already about80-people-long, and growing, I thought maybe I should join it anyway, if only so I stood a chance of having somewhere to stash my two bags before the overhead lockers got full. And they had said that they wanted us to get in line to facilitate speedy boarding and, presumably, not miss their slot. i wouldn’t have to wait long, I thought… innocently, naively, foolishly. We stood in that bloody queue for 50 minutes!
The mothers were not satisfied with the man’s grudging submission. Their hackles were raised and they wanted blood. They called one of the flight attendants. They complained that the man had threatened their little darlings with violence. They said they were going to call the police upon landing (though I don’t think they followed through on this). The flight attendant tried to be diplomatic but just ended up making both sides angrier. They didn’t want a mediator; they wanted a champion. The flight attendant, who looked about 15, realized that his fire extinguisher was filled with petrol not water and his best attempts to quell the fire were only causing it to burn more furiously. He scampered away, having, I assume, remembered an urgent task he had to perform at the far end of the plane. The woman across the aisle and I exchanged more glances.
Oh, and then the plane landed, and instantly, people were standing up in the aisle, getting down their luggage from the lockers — and then standing there, necks twisted and backs bent, for the fifteen or twenty minutes it invariably takes before the doors open and the captives are allowed out of their confinement. I will never understand why they do this. It’s not going to get them to their destination any quicker than if they stay in their seats, read their books, and wait until egress is possible. Especially not when they have hold baggage to collect.
People are strange animals.