Dear Mr and Mrs Twattingford-Herbert,
Firstly, apologies if I have spelled your names incorrectly. I did not catch your real name but, as a keen observer of your outstanding skills in the field of rudeness and selfishness from the seat behind yours on an Air Transat flight from Toronto to Gatwick yesterday, I felt the need to congratulate and thank you.
You first caught my eye as you boarded the aircraft late, despite a three hour delay, and instantly captivated your audience. We felt very privileged that you chose to grace us with your presence in economy class as you are clearly special enough to be afforded the right to occupy your very own aircraft and I noticed you had thoughtfully brought enough hand luggage with you (in large, tasteful Cath Kidstone floral print bags) to show us all how to make maximum use of the overhead lockers…and the floor…and the voids behind the business class passengers in front of your territory.
Thank you for the masterclass in how to speak to flight attendants…it seems they are merely servants, after all, and not worthy of a ‘please’ or a ‘thank you’ or of any other common courtesy, for that matter.
As I recall, your first conversation with a flight attendant went as follows…
“I want the stroller to stay with me in the cabin”
“I’m sorry, we can’t allow strollers in the cabin during a flight, it is company policy and your stroller was checked in as hold luggage”
“But we had it in the cabin on the way here, so it can’t be company policy. It is a very expensive stroller…it was built to fit into the cabin. I will NOT allow that stroller to go into the hold. I NEED it for the baby.”
“I’m sorry, but we cannot store the stroller in the cabin during the flight”
“Are you calling me a LIAR?! We have already been delayed for hours and I will NOT allow you to put the stroller in the hold. It is very expensive! We were not given cabin labels for it at check in and it was ok on the way here. You cannot have a policy about it because you let us bring it in the cabin on the way here. You HAVE to let us have it in the cabin on this plane too…”
“Are you going to let me speak?”
“NO! You are being ridiculous. I WILL have my stroller in the cabin. I want to speak to the pilot!!!”
I was in awe of this exchange in particular as, despite complaining about the flight delay (which was due to a faulty hydraulic pump and was repaired by engineers), you held up the flight even more by arguing about your absolute right to bring a buggy onto a packed aircraft which was possibly about to miss yet another takeoff slot. The cabin crew and their supervisor were all very polite and professional and you were equally as adept at complaining that someone had “touched our property without our permission”. How dare they not allow you to clog up the rest of your aeroplane with a buggy, in addition to your other hand luggage.
The longevity and stamina of your derision and dissent were, I have to say, outstanding. You continued to discuss your outrage at the stroller situation as you stored the rest of your immense collection of hand luggage in every available orifice, as we took off, as the polite flight attendants provided and installed a basinette for your baby and even as you began to set up Camp Twattingford-Herbert while we were flying through American airspace.
Thank you for the superb performance art piece in which you built a tent over your baby’s airline basinette using blankets and, in a demonstration of Bear Grylls-style preparedness in survival situations, used special green extra-sticky masking tape, which you produced from one of your flowery bags, to stick the blanket to the wall separating economy and business class to complete the tent assemblage. You fully utilised the wall in front of your extra-leg-space seats (including covering the large TV screen on it)…and the floor…and a large portion of aisle space. I was particularly impressed with the beautifully choreographed blocking of flight attendants as they attempted to squeeze past your encampment. The highlight of the performance was the inflation of the travel mattresses and changing of your two older children into pyjamas…again utilising the aisle space in a fascinating display of defiance against poxy etiquette and consideration for others. I only refrained from giving a standing ovation and demanding an encore because I don’t like to make a scene and some people (the ones who weren’t laughing out loud at the sight of your efforts) were trying to sleep.
Of course, I understand why you rammed the back of your chair backwards into my knees and my baby’s feet as I tried to soothe her to sleep…your comfort requirements far outweigh my menial need for a few centimetres in which I hoped to sleep with my baby daughter during the long night flight. You clearly did not have enough room to snooze in, despite having so much extra legroom that you could set up an inflatable bed in it for your offspring.
Thank you for the numerous alarm calls throughout the night. I really appreciated you waking me to enable me to observe you telling the man on the row next to yours that he was “yawning too loudly” and I enjoyed you telling the flight attendant “I want an orange juice now”…you didn’t even need to click your fingers and shout ‘Garçon’ at him. Your demand for cold water to put in your tea while the cabin crew member was trying to serve almost 300 other passengers was also most impressive.
Thank you, also, for the nappy changing demonstration in the basinette. You were right not to use the perfectly adequate baby changing facilities provided on the aircraft (public toilets are for the public – not for special people like you). I am sure that the next baby to use the basinette will not mind.
I was in awe of your incredible shoving abilities as you pushed everyone out of the way when we disembarked. I watched from my seat as I waited for the chap with crutches and the lady with the little girl from the row next to yours to get past me. I know it is unlikely we will meet again but congratulations on mastering the most inconsiderate attitude I have witnessed for a long time…and thank you for reminding me how not to behave.
(The pleb in the seat behind you)