two Singaporeans of Sumo proportions and directly behind four seamless
hulking shoulders I realised I may never get that hot towel, or one
of those fuzz-shedding airline blankets that can transform a banker
into a woolly mammoth in minutes. In front of me the Great Wall of
to mention movie viewers) was impregnable. I couldn't see the movie
screen at all. In fact I couldn't see a thing. Not even the stewardess
who was animatedly pointing out the exits. This is a necessary practice
in case passengers think of exiting through the overhead bins.
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all know an obstructive hairdo is easily dealt with. Just snip it
off. As scissors are not considered aircraft-friendly nowadays,
you might try attacking the offending hairdo with a comb (to effect
a middle parting) or, in extreme cases, an overgrown toenail. Nail-clippers
could provide a slower alternative but their two-centimetre files
are now considered dangerous in case a passenger pops out a giant
wad of earwax during takeoff or descent thus distracting stewardesses
who are entirely focused at these critical junctures on not creasing
their smart Nina Ricci uniforms.
I knew I shouldn't have popped that Viagra this morning
Over the past
few decades the Japanese have shot upwards, Singaporeans sideways,
ghee-soaked Indians every-which-ways and Americans have simply gone
from enormous to humongous (as any Asian buying a prophylactic in
New York will have gauged). To cope with this, airlines have developed
wide-body jets - with narrow-butt seats. It's a smart move. Dallas-based
Southwest Airlines recently joined Northwest, Continental and American
Airlines in demanding "overweight" passengers purchase
a second seat so as not to inconvenience slimmer travellers, especially
those not possessing corrective tools like combs and overgrown toenails.
Empty seats? Charge double. Check-in staff are advised to exercise
discretion while passengers just, well, exercise discreetly. "I'm
sorry sir, you'll need an extra seat." "Dagnabbit! I knew
I shouldn't have popped that Viagra this morning."
seats are 18 inches wide. This is pretty generous compared to even
business class on some airlines - Dragonair A330 (18 inches), Emirates
B777-300 (17.9 inches), Cathay Pacific B747-400 (20 inches), Thai
Airways International B747-400 (19.6 inches) and Singapore Airlines
B777-200 (19.8 inches). My ultra-slim dining chairs at home have
entertained non-liposucked bottoms without recourse to a two-seat
policy. How big are these BIG people?
ultra-slim dining chairs have entertained non-liposucked bottoms
without recourse to a two-seat policy
will tell you an average adult weighs 70kg. The ever-meticulous
US Federal Aviation Administration estimates an average person weighs
about 77kg. It also maintains that a child between two and 12 weighs
36kg. I'm not sure I'd like to meet this child. Cathay Pacific puts
an average adult male at 78kg (Singapore Airlines, 77kg) and an
adult female at a blushing 68kg. These figures are based on Hong
Kong Civil Aviation Department surveys. Apparently no one at the
CAD has a decent girlfriend. We know people are getting bigger and
heavier - the US even has a National Association to Advance Fat
Acceptance (NAAFA) that is at the forefront of the fat spat. So
an "overweight" aircraft poses problems. For one, people
like me need a periscope to check out the safety drill. What are
those orange things with tubes that fall from the ceiling anyway?
Headphones? There is another issue. For an aircraft to actually
take off, lift needs to exceed gravity (or weight). Payload weight
and distribution is therefore carefully calculated prior to each
flight and the largest persons are usually placed, you guessed it,
directly in front of movie screens. With 300 passengers on board,
a miscalculation of just 20kg per passenger (including baggage)
would amount to a 6,000kg error - the difference between flying
to London and taxiing there. Heavies need to be herded to the back
to allow the aircraft's nose to come up which makes it considerably
easier for the pilot to see where's he's going.
which flies to Boracay from Manila, weighs baggage along with the
passengers. Good idea. Airlines would love to woo waif-like models
from the covers of Vogue who could easily sit three to a seat. No
need for movies. Passengers would sit riveted watching these svelte
sirens sashay to the toilet, get married (and divorced, but only
on flights of three hours or more).
I was determined
to watch Matrix. I finally found a gap between the beef and managed
to view half the screen (the left side). Have you ever watched just
half a movie, wondering where that bullet is going and who got kissed?
I watched the right side of the screen on the way back and thus
figured out the "whole" movie.
large travellers these guidelines: book off-peak flights, use the
airport toilet and ask for an empty seat next to you. But heck,
that would ruin all the fun. Imagine watching a whole movie? Anyway,
those orange headphones don't work.
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