Tuesday 22 October 2013

Ten things you can get away with only on Pakistan International Airlines

I recently had the pleasure of flying from UK to Islamabad on Pakistan International Airlines. After over twenty five years of flying experience with almost every airline worth flying with (and yes, not long ago PIA used to be one of those) I am able to list that my fellow passengers are able to do and get away with only on Pakistan International Airlines. Here is my list of top ten:

  1. No one likes the seat they have been originally assigned by the Check-In staff. Immediately on entering the plane negotiation begin for a change of seat. Most common reason cited is that I am woman and I don't want to sit next to a man.
  2. Right when the plane is shooting off on the runway to take off, making last minute mobile phone call to "Munnay Kay Abba" to tell him "Gee Jahaz chall parra hay"
  3. As soon as the plane is airborne but the "fasten seat belt" signs are still on -  one third of Aunties and Uncles are on their feet to walk around the aisles to say hello to new friends they made at the boarding gate
  4. The other third of Aunties and Uncles form an un-orderely queue in front of the Kitchen area to get a free glass of Coke - while the air hostess is still strapped in her seat
  5. while the last third are huddling outside the toilets to make space for that essential glass of free Coke.
  6. Every able bodied man and woman has by now opened up the overhead luggage compartments, trolley bags are out and open to get their flying essentials out.
  7. Everyone needs a precautionary visit to the toilets as soon the air stewards begin to serve food and the aisles are blocked by the food trolleys.
  8.  Looks like every flight to Pakistan is bound to be full of babies - don't know why. Plane lights have been switched off, passengers are trying to sleep, your baby is crying their heart out - how do you deal with it: walk around the plane with the baby to share the joy
  9. As soon as the air hostess announces that we are about to land - open the overhead luggage cabin and begin pulling out the bag
  10. Flight has touched down  and still on the runway - quick mobile phone call to "Munnay Kay Mamoo" to say "Bhai Jahaz Utar Gaya hay - mera wait karna" - Like he has a choice

All of the above were from the point of view of what I have seen my fellow passengers getting involved in. There are some specials about the PIA itself:

  1. you have a personal TV in front of your screen that normally serves as the night light. It is highly likely that the entertainment system would not work. If it does you might hear the announcement "ladies and gentleman, the entertainment system will not be switched on on this flight because of non-availability of head phones.
  2. In order to make sure that you do not bother the staff on board too much - controls on your seat panel are likely to have been disabled.
  3. you are likely to find majority of the air crew to be male - nothing to do with diversity. It is likely due to the fact that even able bodied passengers want the air crew to put their luggage in the overhead compartments.
And what's the weirdest thing that you have seen a fellow passenger carry on board - A large clear plastic shopping bag from Worldwide Foods Manchester full of Toilet rolls.

Am I missing any other things that you can get away with?