The Intrusive Airplane

I took a flight to Hokkaido at the end of summer. Sounds like fun? Yes. Was it fun? No. I stayed at a hotel that’s right next to the airport, I didn’t finish taking care of business until late at night, and then I flew back the next morning. All I had time to eat was some pretty lackluster food inside the hotel. Let me be frank – unless you’re someone who likes seeing airplanes take off and land up close, these sorts of turnaround flights are terrible even if you have to do them for work.

All I wanted to do was read a book on my two flights. But I wasn’t able to. Why? Because of the constant interruptions. I flew JAM (a fake name), and here, let me list all the meddlesome announcements and in flight services I can remember apart from the necessary safety information:

  1. Information about the JAM Card. A never-ending explanation of all the convenience and variety of services being a member would entitle you to.
  2. Would you like a pillow? Would you like a newspaper? How about a magazine? (No, no, and no.)
  3. Messages from the pilot: “Uh… this is your captain speaking. The aircraft is currently… uh… passing over Sendai. We are currently five minutes behind schedule. If you look out of the right side of the aircraft you’ll see… uh… something.”
  4. Beverage service. Then, “Can I get you a refill?”
  5. Steamed buns. I don’t want any.
  6. The NHK Morning News is currently being shown on the main cabin screens. Tune your headsets to channel #1.
  7. A fashionable “D” dangling around your neck… limited edition Christian Dior t-shirts are now available. Shoulder bags – a favorite of our JAM flight attendants – are also for sale as part of our summer campaign.
  8. An assortment of candies. I don’t want any.
  9. Parting announcements. I normally wouldn’t have a problem with this, but it was way too much: “As summer draws to a close, sage flowers carpet the town in red, bringing us peace. Please remember to avoid heat stroke in these warm times. Thank you for flying JAM…”

There was no way I was going to focus enough to read my book will all these interruptions during a flight that lasted no more than an hour. I miss the Mongolian airlines I flew on where they left you alone.