Snake on a Plane
- May 22, 2017
Have you ever had an armed escort through an airport terminal? I have….
In 2014, Dave and I took our first holiday alone since before Jude was born. It was Dave’s 50th birthday; he wanted golf, I wanted sunshine, so we took off for a few days in Portugal.
We had the best time. As he gets on my tits quite a lot and we don’t live in each other’s pockets needing to spend every minute together, most days he went and sweated his nuts off chasing little balls around various (expensive!!) golf courses, whilst I flambéed myself around the hotel swimming pool and drank the all-inclusive bar dry of their cheap knock off Bacardi. All too soon, although we could have easily got used to that lifestyle (even if my liver could not) England beckoned.
Our airport transfer was booked for around midday. I bloody hate that. Right, bang in the middle of the day. By the time we’d checked out of our room, there wasn’t time to go anywhere, so we just sat there in the hotel lobby, scrolling through social media and twiddling our thumbs waiting for our taxi. This was all made worse by the fact that the bitchface hotel receptionist had cut my pissing all-inclusive wrist band off, so I couldn’t even go and drown myself in free Bacardi. Eventually we set off, me with my poor, depressed, sober face looking like a slapped arse, and Mr Sunshine behaving like a dog with two dicks because the FA Cup final was the next day, and he’d baggsied the window seat on the aeroplane. Twat.
And so began our eventful journey back to home soil. You know what airports are like; lots of waiting around in queues. We queued for a coffee, we queued for the toilets, we queued for Bacardi (just to make me shut the fuck up you understand), we queued at check in and then we joined the endless queue to go through security. This queue is where we first encountered the most obnoxious man (I use the word ‘man’ in the loosest term possible) I think I have ever had the misfortune to come across. He stood behind us, with his girlfriend, who had the swollen tummy of a baby mummy, and I guessed she was about 5 months gone. The first time we were aware he was looking for some kind of reaction, or even trouble was when he was commenting loudly enough for all around him to hear, about what a crappy football team Arsenal were. Mr Sunshine was stood next to me proudly wearing his team’s colours, and as he had his shorts on, the tattoo on his calf was visible for anybody to see. Arsenal colours. Arsenal tattoo. We passed each other silent looks, our eyes rolling heavenwards, deciding to ignore him. As this arsehole made several more goading comments that were undeniably made to provoke a reaction from Dave, we couldn’t decide whether he was walking that fine line between having had too much to drink, or not quite enough. Needless to say, as soon as we passed through security, we went on our way and when the time came made our way to our departure gate.
And there he was. Mr Obnoxious. Waiting to board our flight, still gobbing off, his repugnant behaviour sadly fuelled by his babymumma’s adoring giggles. I was at least comforted by the thought that it was a big plane, chances are they would be seated a loooonnnngggg way away from us.
We boarded the plane and took our seats, Mr Sunshine by the window, me in the middle and to my right a rather dishy Portuguese man. Directly across the aisle sat Babymumma and Mr Obnoxious! Mr Sunshine and I looked at each other in horror and scanned the plane to see if there were any other empty seats available. There were none. We passed more pissed off looks to one another before Dave sensibly switched himself to flight mode (headphones on, music blaring, eyes closed) in the hope that his phone battery would last the duration of the flight, and then advised me to do the same.
Now would be a good time to tell you that I’m quite a nervous flyer. I don’t like take off, and I quite regularly and quite literally sit crying whilst digging my fingers into the arm rests or the nearest available passenger, and it can take quite a while for me to feel relaxed enough to let go and settle down to some reading (now you can see the need to queue for Bacardi!). So it was during this settling down period, about 20 minutes into the flight that I was first aware of Mr Obnoxious having turned his attention to his next victim. Babymumma herself.
The passengers surrounding us were all looking at each other uneasily as he spewed his verbal bile all over her. I can’t recall exactly what he was forcibly saying to her, but as we all tried to ignore it, the more venomous he became, and the more upset and awkward everyone else felt. What do you do in situations like this? Do you intervene and risk danger? I decided to sit tight and let the cabin crew deal with them, as a stewardess was bound to pass by any time. So I sat. Until I saw from the corner of my eye Mr Obnoxious grabbing his babymumma by the scruff of her neck! Now turning to look properly I could see him jabbing his finger into her face, saliva spraying over her as he menacingly put her in her place. It was at this point that I saw red. As I looked at the worried and frightened faces around us I calmly but firmly said “excuse me!” He didn’t seem to hear, as his tirade continued, so I repeated, much louder this time “excuse me!”, followed by “Leave her alone! Just leave her alone. You’re nothing but a bully, and the rest of the people on this flight, myself included, do not want to spend the next 2 hours listening to you ranting at a defenceless woman!”. I was now in full flow because I couldn’t help but direct my next comment to Babymumma: “And you, Love. Do yourself a favour and get rid of him. He’s obviously just a thug, and if you stay with him you’ll have a dog’s life! Believe me, I’ve been there!” The silence was deafening. Then Mr Obnoxious broke it “What the fuck’s it got to do with you? You wanna talk about this when we’re off the plane? I’ll be waiting for you and then we’ll see how brave you are!” or words to that effect. The people around me mouthed their well done’s, but I was rather concerned when the passenger in front of Mr Obnoxious mouthed a “be careful”. It was then that I started to worry that my gob had once again got me into trouble. Mr Sunshine was at this point still oblivious to what was going on. He was happily absorbed in Planet Dave, and it was only when a stewardess came to speak to me (another passenger had alerted her to the situation) that he regained consciousness.
Cutting a long story short, we were offered seats at the back of the plane, which we gladly accepted, and spent the rest of the flight in relative indifference.
When we touched down at Stansted, the Captain made an announcement over the tannoy that only Mr Sunshine and myself were privy to: “Please remain in your seats. We have an issue at the terminal. We will keep you updated when we have more information, but for the time being, please remain seated”. A gentle hum of conversation swept through the plane as all the passengers speculated on what might be occurring. Then the doors at the front of the plane opened, and 2 Policemen boarded. They headed straight for Mr Obnoxious, and asked him to accompany them off the plane to answer some questions. The plane erupted into applause, and I heaved a sigh of relief, feeling validated in my decision to speak out. Mr Sunshine and I were asked to stay on board so that I could give a statement, as apparently, unbeknown to me at the time, more threats to my safety had been made. I spoke to 2 lovely Policemen who then told me they would be escorting me all the way through the terminal, and to “wait there, we just need to go and fetch our guns.”!!!
Mr Sunshine and I walked through the terminal flanked by armed policemen, feeling like the Posh and Becks of Essex! We were seen safely through passport control, and onto our bus to make the final leg of our journey back to our car park. We can’t praise the cabin crew and authorities enough for their seamless handling of what could have been an ugly and frightening situation.
To this day, I wonder what became of Babymumma. I hope and pray that she gave birth to a healthy and happy baby. I hope even more that she saw the light, and gave Mr Obnoxious the elbow. In the short term I have my doubts, as according to the Police, she wouldn’t make any formal complaint against him, and tried to make out that my version of events hadn’t happened. Amidst all of this I fear for that baby and the example he or she will be set. Parental behaviour is one of the strongest influences on an infant child, and unless we as adults stand up, do the right thing, and banish the dysfunctional and negative influences in our lives then the cycle of abuse will be allowed to continue. As I said earlier, I have been there, and one day I’ll share my story.
My name is Jane. Domestic abuse and aeroplane rebel!
Arsenal 3 – 2 Hull City.