How to not Behave on an Airplane

I had horrible neighbors on my latest long haul flights from Tokyo to Frankfurt and back in September.
To Frankfurt my neighbor was a guy of about 30 and an American.
First of all he kept on messaging with probably his girlfriend, since hearts flew around. As the plane was about to lift off, I said, “excuse me, Sir, but I think it’s time to switch to airplane mode.” He gave me a devastating look, finished his message, then switched to airplane mode and thrust the phone into my face. “Here you go.”
Pfff. Five minutes later he says. “I usually hate it when people tell me what to do, but I respect it that you had the “guts” to address a total stranger about this.” Um, what? He tried to engage me in a discussion about that non-airplane mode was allowed for a while but now it’s restricted again and blah. Then he kept quiet. Later on he fell asleep while I was standing (because of my back) and working on the computer. He kinda woke up, grabbed the water bottle that lay on my seat, probably thinking it was his and put it into his lap. Uh?
I sat down again and next he jerked around and poured cold coffee all over my seat and my pants. I got the cabin attendants to help me with wipers and what not. He looked around irritated, then ignored the fuss and did not even fuxxing apologize. Great, thank you.
Last but not least we had seats at the kitchen section where you can prop up your legs. He did so too, but with his shoes on and that’s how the wall looked like by the end of the flight… (I took the pick while the dude was on the loo)

On the way back to Tokyo I had an about 70 year-old Japanese woman sitting next to me. It was a night flight, but I cannot sleep on planes and as usual was working on the computer. They turned the cabin light off and I switched on my individual light. “NO!” The woman barks at me and points at the light. Jeez, okay, okay, I put it out again. Then she calls the cabin attendant and tells her to tell me to turn off my computer because it’s too bright. Cabin attendant: “Um, no, I cannot ask her to do that. Why don’t you use the mask you were given?” Woman: “I can’t have that thing on my eyes, it’s too warm. Ask her to turn off the computer!”
The cabin attendant comes around to me. Unfortunately there is no other seat available, maybe I would work in the kitchen until she has fallen asleep? That was fine by me, because it gave me another opportunity to stand (I can’t sit for long because of my back). The cabin attendants were then all super nice to me, giving me juice and chocolate and thanking me constantly for being so cooperative. I had to move from the middle kitchen to the back once, because they laid a completely drunken guy onto the floor of the middle kitchen after he barfed around (hopefully not onto his neighbors………) and I was happy that I only had a bitchy old woman for a neighbor and not a barfing dude who can’t hold his liquor… when I eventually returned to my seat, the nasty old woman was asleep.
Such are the joys of long haul flights! Ahhhhhh… I’ll have another one next week, but it should be the last one of 2018 😉

Some More Movie Reviews

Manchester by the Sea
At first, I must admit that I was confused. I thought this would happen in England, but I was already wondering, because the British Manchester is not exactly by the sea. It took me a bit to realize that there is a town called Manchester-by-the-sea in the US and that’s where the story happens. It’s a drama about a guy who lost his three children to a fire accident because he was drunk and who cannot forgive himself, who is confronted having to take care of his brother’s son after the brother dies. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. The film also has no resolution, at least none that I found satisfactory. Though the main character grows a bit, his grief is not dealt with at the end and he stops taking care of his nephew unable to deal with the situation. Hm. Realistic perhaps, but what’s the point? The acting is fine, but the story left me unsatisfied.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Finally saw that one. Don’t get me wrong, I like Eddie Redmayne and I think he is one fine character actor and he was excellent portraying Stephen Hawking or in the Danish Girl, but for me he is not a lead character that can carry an “action movie” like this. There are some nice J.K. Rowling ideas about fantastic creatures, and the whole world in a suitcase was lovely, but all in all the piece left me quite unaffected and unmoved. I best liked the side kick Kowalski who was very nicely portrayed by Dan Fogler and I rooted more for him than for the main couple.

A Hologram for the King
That movie surely wasn’t a big box office hit, I never heard of it before it showed up on the plane’s choice of movies. I have very mixed feelings about it. It’s set in a supposed Saudi Arabia and mid-life-crisis American business man played by Tom Hanks travels there to close a business deal with the ruling family involving holographic projections.
Modern day Saudi Arabia is rarely featured in movies, but I strongly wonder how much of the movie depicted reality over there and how much of it was fiction. I think a movie like that does have a certain responsibility towards reality despite being fiction, since its sole reason for bearing any kind of fascination is the portrayal of that hidden world.
The love story with the female Saudi doctor was very cheesy and the portrayal of the hard-partying foreigners in the country also too black and white for my taste. Because the world portrayed is so far away from what we westerners know, it kept my interest, but I really wanted to know how much here was fiction and how much was supposed to be “documentary”, showing us the life in a country so hard to imagine for someone who has never been there.

Take-Off Attempts

After two weeks on business trip in Germany, I finally started the journey home, but that turned out to be easier said than done. I was on the road with Swiss Air this time and everything went fine until Zuerich. The plane from Stuttgart to Zuerich was a little delayed but nothing dramatic, and check in for the flight to Tokyo went fine.
We roll with towards the runway on board an airbus A340-300. Captain says “crew, take-off in two minutes” and we roll onto the runway, the engines start, we get faster, then, suddenly, half down the runway, moments before lift-off, the pilot kicks in the brakes and everything not fixed or belted to the seats tumbles forward. Without seat belts on we’d all have gotten into real trouble. Then the plane leaves the runway and rolls to the side. The captain tells the crew “crew, normal operations” to “unwarn” them. A few moments later the captain tells us: “Well, you surely noticed that we aborted take-off. We did so due to an indication we got here in the cockpit that our engine number two has an issue with reverse thrust. We’ll check it now and if all’s well, we can make another take-off attempt, maybe in thirty minutes, depending on whether the brakes have cooled down again. At the moment, they are too hot for us to start again, we’ll keep you posted.”

I’m not sure what consequences such an engine failure can have.
After maybe 15 min, the captain tells us, they discussed with the mechanics and they want us to come back to the gate and we don’t know yet whether we can continue with this plane. So, back to the gate we roll, but we are asked to stay on board. Checking the seat pocket contents reveals that an A340-300 has four engines, which reassures me a little bit, even if the number two engine fails, we still have another three… ahem…
A truck comes and places itself under engine two and the nervous passengers wait.
We were all quite disciplined though and nobody freaked out. Of course we are asking the cabin crew what will happen if the plane will be grounded and sure, they don’t have planes lying around in waiting. If we cannot fly with this machine, we won’t get to Tokyo today… which would have meant disembarking, retrieving luggage, getting a hotel, waiting for another flight… aiiiii…. so, I was kinda praying that they’d be able to fix the problem.

About ninety minutes later the truck is gone and the captain announces we’re good to go. Back into our seats, back to the runway. Of course everyone was a little nervous and tense, but this time the plane lifted off as it should and I found nothing wrong with its operations during the flight to Japan.

But, an entirely different problem arose. I was sitting in the back of the plane, row forty and the plane was not fully booked. So, initially I thought, yeah, this is going to be a good flight, where I can spread myself over two seats. Trouble was that around me in the back was a group of about ten 30 to 50 year-old French speaking men and as soon as the plane lifted off, they started binge drinking.
They killed several bottles of high percentage booze that they must have bought in duty free. The whole rear of the plane soon stank of booze and the assholes were talking non-stop and incredibly loud. I asked them once to be more quiet, two cabin crew members told them on different occasions to stop drinking their own alcohol and to be more quiet but to no avail. They fuxxers had zero consideration for the other passengers, zero.
The highlight was that, completely drunk and not knowing anymore what he was doing, one of the fuxxing assholes suddenly lunged over my seat and grabbed my soft hat, while I was finally kinda falling asleep. I got a huge scare, managed to catch my hat and shouted at the guy “are you fucking crazy, leave me alone!” The sucker said something incomprehensible, then said he was sorry, but I’m sure he was so stoned he neither knew what he was saying nor what he was doing. Incredible.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a bunch of idiots on a flight. These morons behaved like teenagers away from home for the first time.

I am angry with the cabin crew also, they should have been stricter and confiscated their alcohol or something, politely asking to be quiet and to stop drinking does not work with assholes like that.
Man, I was damn happy to be back on the ground with some two hours delay. What a horror flight… but, you gotta be grateful that nobody got hurt and that we landed safely…