A flight years ago from Joberg to Nairobi. Our plane is delayed for something like two hours due to the fact that they can’t find the co-pilot. The whole time we’re sitting on the plane. Eventually the captain comes on air and says that he’s sorry for the delay, but they really can’t find the co-pilot. He then informs us that he’s going to fly the plane anyway by himself. We are told that this isn’t a big problem what with flying aids and the like, but if anyone has any misgivings then they are free to leave the plane now. We all look at each other in a bemused way, but nobody leaves the plane. Hey, this is Africa.
We take off and everything is cool until a few hours into the flight the pilot comes on-air once again. He has a very thick English accent. He says something like;
“Ladies and gentelemen, this is your captain speaking. Everything is in tip-top shape and we’re flying along just nicely here on this beautiful African day. Just a small matter for your attention – I have to leave the cabin for just a moment, which as I’m sure you’re all aware will leave us with an absence of pilots flying the plane. Do not be alarmed as we are flying on auto-pilot and I should not be gone from the cabin for more than a minute. Thank you for your attention.”
We all just look at each other as the little cabin door opens and the pilot steps out. He takes a large elastic band from out of his pocket and wraps it around the door handle, thus holding open the cabin door. He then walks down the central aisle of the plane to the bathroom at the rear. A hundred heads turn to stare at him as he walks casually by.
A moment after he enters the bathromm the plane enters a small pocket of turbulance, jolts up and down suddenly, and we watch in disbelief and not a small measure of horror as the elastic band snaps and the cabin door closes. One of the flight attendents scurries back to the bathroom with one of those frozen-in smiles and emerges moments later with the pilot tucking in his trousers. He half sprints down the aisle and then comes to a sudden stop as he surveys the situation before him. Not a word is said by any of us. We just watch.
There is a hurried conversation between the stewerdess and the pilot, which results in her rushing to the back of the plane and coming back with a small fire-axe. The pilot takes the axe, walks up to the door and starts chopping his way through. In his enthusiasm he makes the hole a little bigger than what was probably required. He hands the axe back to the stewerdess, reaches through the hole and unlocks the door. He enters the cabin and closes the ruined door behind him, even though we can plainly see him now through the gaping, jagged hole. He sits in his chair, dons his head gear and makes a small announcement;
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We’ve just experienced a slight technical diffuculty, but we now have matters under control. The weather in Nairobi is for scattered showers and thunderstorms. Thank you for your attention.”