January 14th, 1990

January 14th, 1990

Flight from LGW – LOS

Lagos, Nigeria

I lay awake half the night, worrying about how I’d approach Laney to apologize for my outburst last night. While I should have been sleeping, various scenarios played out in my head, all of which left me feeling sick.

By the time call came, I felt exhausted and not at all in the mood for a seven-hour flight, working alongside Laney. As I made my way downstairs for the early morning pick up, my stomach churned at the thought of being confronted by Laney, so when I didn’t see her, I breathed a sigh of relief and grabbed a seat beside Derek, the First Class purser.

We (he) made small talk, mostly about his disgruntled attitude towards British Airways and how much things have dared to change in the past thirty years, since Derek joined the company. Once he got that out of his system, he started banging on about the house he just bought in Brighton and the “astronomical cost associated with restoring it to its original splendour.”

When I spotted Laney out of the corner of my eye, I wasn’t sure whether to make my way over to her or stay put so I pretended not to see her and continued to feign interest in Derek’s dilemma. Then I got concerned that Laney might feel the need to make a scene once she spotted me, so I glanced in her direction and was shocked when she smiled, gave a little wave and started sauntering towards us.

“Morning you two,” she said in a cheerful tone.

“Morning lovey,” Derek replied.

“Hi Laney,” I mumbled.

“How’d you sleep, Karen?”

“Eh, not so good,” I said, avoiding her gaze. “How about you?”

“Like a baby.”

One that’s teething? I was tempted to say but thought better of it.

“I can guarantee we’ll sleep like the dead tonight after what I can assure you will be the flight from hell.”

Gee Derek, I thought, thanks a lot for that positive reinforcement.

Unfortunately, depressing Derek was spot on and I can honestly say the flight was, by far, the worst ever. Surprisingly, it was Laney who kept me going after I reached the end of my tether with 37A and his two sons (B and C) who felt it appropriate to continually snap their fingers, demanding everything from blankets, brandy and extra food, to the retrieval of their excess luggage from what Derek still calls “the hat racks.”

The rest of our crew are all over forty and on the crew bus, most of them snoozed like older crew generally do after a hectic flight. I had no intention of meeting up with them at the hotel bar, but as Laney pointed out, it was much too early to go to bed so I quickly changed out of uniform and made a mental note only to stay for two drinks.

And for once, that’s exactly what I did!


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