We all know how busy Heathrow is – congested skies, 2 clogged runways, full capacity, yada yada. So when we turn up with our luggage at T5, we know we won’t collapse in shock if there’s a delay due to any of these things, or to rubbish weather (this is the UK, afterall – not all days can be as lovely as today).
However, we would be perturbed to hear the captain explain over the intercom that there would be a delay to our fight due to a missing ‘vital part’, as reported in this morning’s MP-expense-obsessed Telegraph. How can a vital part be missing? Did a wing fall off? Half the engine drop out onto the tarmac?
Er, no. The missing part turned out to be… an ashtray in the toilet.
It’s been illegal to smoke on planes for years, and highly unsociable for yonks before that – so why on earth did they have to wait for an ashtray to be put back into the loo? British Airways was quick to point the finger at ‘elf and safety flying rules from Europe (to summarise – “smoking is banned, but if someone lit up a cigarette they’d still need something to put it out into”), but the Civil Aviation Authority guffawed in response to this, denying the existence of any such ashtray uber-regulation.
The captain reportedly ordered the crew to rob an ashtray from another plane, if they had to – and after one was found and swiftly installed, off they taxied and took off.
Are you thinking what we’re thinking? That the captain’s having trouble giving up the fags? Keep an eye out next time you’re on the way to Majorca and see someone in a pilot’s uniform coughing as they come out of the lav muttering about the crapness of nicorrette.
You don’t get this on sleazyJet, do you.
Image from a shadow of my future self’s Flickrstream under a creative commons license