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Scabies, faeces, and the dead: What’s waiting for you on your next flight

For those longing to break free of COVID-19 and hop the next flight to wherever, just know that you’ll have company in the seat next to you. 



The romance of air travel has turned from amour fou to an unenthusiastic handjob. The experience of flight is long removed from its glamour days of the 1950s, where one would take off to an American-friendly Caribbean paradise, enthusiastically necking martinis with Deano and the gang, asking the flight attendants to relight our Cuban cigars, in a barely concealed effort to get them closer to your lap, and into the mile-high club, all of which was held under the equation that we might not make the destination at all. As the school of Charles Bukowski taught us, the combination of booze, sex and death equate romance.

However, in decades since, as air travel got safer. We’ve been increasingly sat next to our dead-eyed beau – rules and regulations – the person that clears their throats and slightly shakes their head at the chance of anything vaguely fun. And while we married them to feel safe, we’re dying inside, as we find our eyes dragging to the possibilities of elsewhere. But we should know this. That cuck we’re stuck with has many a dark secret, we just have to know where to look.

With that in mind, in no particular order, we present the dangerous filth that surrounds us when the seatbelt sign dings off.


1) They’ve listened to 1970’s comedies for safety advice

In the seminal ’70s pisstake Airplane! (or Flying High for us), the only doctor on board, Leslie Neilson outlines the danger of having fish for dinner, as the entirety of the flight crew is floored by food poisoning, to wit:



Which makes sense, but if anyone can drag anything of sense from a film that involves blowing up (off) an auto-pilot, an inability to give up certain drugs on certain weeks, casual racism and Robert Stack…well…good job there, you lot.


2) Oxygen gets you high, but they curtail your development of said habit

As notable fictional hunk Tyler Durden pointed out, oxygen gets you high. But what that impossibly buff twit neglected to mention is that there is a finite supply of said air, usually totalling between 15 and 20 minutes. The official reasoning is that they’d assume the pilots would have dipped back to normal cabin pressurisation by then, but we believe that they’re trying to bogart our shit, man.


3) If you touch anything, you’re in the shit

Who doesn’t like the chance of chronic diphtheria to highlight how close you are to the ragged edge? Gastrointestinal abnormalities for the win, brah! Seriously though, apparently the modern plane is a massive flying urinal, in which one must never touch the tray tables, or God forbid, meet the floor, for one would be falling into Cracktown, USA. It sounds more like a moronic Internet rumour – you know, the clickbait fare, where your life was going fine, until the sixth step, you’re shocked, and someone nearby is making $5,000 dollars an hour – but nope, representatives of the flying janitors have confirmed that the floor is very bad indeed (and also, on the proviso that her name was kept out of this piece, she also told of an in-industry game among stewards who compete for the largest cropdust, with the person who wakes the least amount of passengers deemed the winner).


4) Some pilots retain their need for speed

If Top Gun (Christ, there’s a lot of plane-based movies to reference) taught us anything, it’s that those who are kicked out of the Navy, sentenced to fly cargo planes filled with rubber dog doo out of Hong Kong, have quashed their innate desire to possess speed. Alas, no. Not every airline prioritises speed over comfort, however, and the test to see which way your service swings is easy to deduce. If it’s rough as all fudgery, you have an imitation Maverick, and therefore:



What a ridiculous ending to a ridiculous movie. All the blow and misdirected masculinity in the world cannot explain it.


5) Flying with the dead – crap band name, real thing

You know what’s dangerous, and therefore cool? Fucking death, man. The end. The void. The long goodnight. Do you know what’s even more dangerous, and therefore cooler than that? Hanging out with the dead, man. Phwoar. I would. But, d’you know what’s even more dangerous, and therefore even cooler than even that? Travelling with the dead. Radical.

Actually, there’s a nice duality here, for every time you wished for death when you were placed next to a screaming child, or a sweaty character with the kind of life experiences that require constant retelling, or a continued invasion of your leg room, know that the dead in the cargo hold below have the same problem, although when the dead stretch their legs, the baggage handlers have to show them back to their seat. Piece by unspeakable piece.

According to Reddit, one experience went thusly: “Inside of the box is a bag that holds the body, most of the time it is black so you can’t see in it. And no, it is not fun when the box falls apart. I was paid far too little to pick up a dead body off the ground and put it back in the box.”


6) Don’t ask for anything, unless you want to take home awkward souvenirs

This is unsubstantiated Internet rumour, and sources declined to comment, which in itself could be an admission of guilt, but major airlines are keen on recycling. In particular, the blankets and pillows issued, and indeed the headphones you are issued if you ask for them. The lesson here is to be happy with what you have. If you were foolish enough to not bring your own from home, the x amount of hours bored/chilly should be your penalty, because apparently, they do not rewash the blankets, and they repackage headphones. Again, conjecture. But still. Hypothermia or scabies for you, sir?

Safe flight, yeah?





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