You know those cheap flights where you aren’t allocated a seat, so it’s a bit of a free-for-all when you pile onto the plane?
Your main priority is to grab a seat next to someone who looks a) sane b) small and c) quiet. Not the bloke with the thousand-yard-stare, the DIY haircut, and the relaxed attitude to personal hygiene. And certainly not anyone with kids - particularly babies. The potential for migraine-inducing bawling is far too great.
When we went on holiday to Spain when our daughter was about seven months old, we caught one of these flights back home, at some ungodly hour of the morning and after a lengthy airport delay.
An extremely harassed bloke plonked himself down in the seat next to us, letting out an audible sigh of relief as he looked across at my husband, noting he was a big fellow, but taller than he was wider, and therefore not likely to impinge on his personal space. But then his face fell as he clocked me. Or more importantly, the little bundle of baby in my arms.
Now I knew that our daughter was very likely to sleep for the whole journey. I also knew that she was physically too weak to cry, because of her poor muscle-tone. (Saying that, she had actually squawked quite loudly on the beach when I’d plunged her into a dinghy full of icy-cold water. But I’m not overly proud of that, so let’s move on).
But this guy didn’t know these facts. I could see he was now steeling himself for the plane journey from hell, two seats down from a screaming baby.
Two hours later, as we got to our feet, ready to get our luggage from the overhead lockers, with my daughter still a picture of peaceful, silent contentment in my arms, our fellow passenger turned to my husband and formally shook his hand.
“I would just like to say, your daughter is a perfect angel,” he told my other half. “You, sir, on the other hand, are a bloody fidget.”
Video is Johnny Kidd & The Pirates - Shakin' All Over