On our flight back from holiday, the chap seated next to me – but across the aisle – was complaining from the moment we got on the plane: the TV screen built in to the seat back in front of him wasn’t working – in fact, none of the screens in a whole section on that side of the plane were working.
He complained to the stewardess, who explained that a reboot of the system was probably required and that she would arrange for it to be done. He sat in his seat, still complaining and swearing. “I ain’t sitting here for eight fucking hours with no entertainment. This isn’t bloody good enough!”
Another stewardess passed by and he stopped her and complained again. She apologised and explained that the reboot would probably fix it, but it couldn’t be done until we had taken off. He sat back in his seat, mumbling and grumbling.
Once we were in the air and the seat belt sign was turned off, he was straight out of his seat and was complaining to a nearby steward who then went to initiate the reboot. Unfortunately, the reboot didn’t work. Steam was starting to come from Mr Angry’s ears by now.
A stewardess explained that they could give him an iPad, which would work over the onboard Wi-Fi and would work just the same as the screen in the seat backs. “I hope they have more than one”, I thought, as there were about 20 seats which had non-working screens.
She duly appeared again a few minutes later with a big box of iPads and started dishing them out. Sure enough, she ran out just as she reached Mr Angry and then disappeared to the back of the plane.
Mr Angry started fidgeting in his seat. I watched with some amusement, from the corner of my eye whilst I put my headphones on and selected something to watch on my fully working screen. He looked like he was about to blow his top. “Well, that’s just fucking great!”, he said, “No fucking iPads either!”
The man in front of him turned round and offered his. “Here,” he said, “have this one. Please.”
Mr Angry thanked him but declined. He was primed and ready to blow… and he looked like he wanted to.
The stewardess returned a moment later with another box of iPads and dished them out to everybody, including Mr Angry, denying him the chance to explode. I continued to watch from the corner of my eye, as I selected a TV programme to watch. Mr Angry was calming down now and was flicking through the selection of films, finally settling on Alan Bennett’s The Lady In The Van.
A half hour later, my episode of Peep Show had finished and I looked over toward Mr Angry.
Dame Maggie Smith was acting her heart out on the little 8″ screen.
Mr Angry was fast asleep.