It’s An Ill Wind….

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


The original title of this post was “Farting On Airplanes” because it is really about farting on airplanes, but I thought it might be better just to call it “It’s An Ill Wind”.

No, come on, now you know don’t turn your noses up, or pretend this is something that (a) you’ve never thought about, or (b) never done. Farting on airplanes is an international phenomenon that transcends all nationalities, religions, ages, creeds, classes and colors.

It is in fact the common bond of all the world’s travelers.

Whether it can ever bring us closer together, however, is another thing (Phew!)

longer larger fart plane


This is a quite embarrassing story. Not something one would normally admit to, but people write unusual things on blogs.

It concerns one of the first long haul flights that I was ever on.

Nowadays, as a seasoned flyer, I always have a good meal before the flight. I don’t suffer from air sickness of any kind and I don’t care for the stuff they call airline food. Back then, however, I was a novice and ended up on board without any breakfast other than a cup of coffee. My stomach was empty – of food anyhow.

All was well for about twenty or thirty minutes and then it started.

The obvious solution would have been to get up and go to the toilet. But easy options aren’t the way I have gone through life so far.

Also it was a big plane, a 747, and the toilets were quite a bit away from my seat. I would face a long walk down the narrow aisle.

Not that the walk itself was the problem. It was just that whoever designs airline seats has arranged things so that the nose and ears of the person sitting down is just about at the same height as the bottom of the person walking casually past.

You see the predicament?

In any case, I found myself in a window seat with two other seats to negotiate before I got to the aisle. Such was the pressure building up that I feared the exertion of hopping over the additional seats would make the whole purpose of the journey somewhat redundant.

There was nothing for it but to stay where I was, with the unfortunate choice being either bursting or releasing some of the pressure. Not unnaturally I chose to do the latter option.

As these things go it was a substantial outcome. But the drone of the plane engines (they were a lot louder in those days, I think, I hope, weren’t they?) seemed to drown out any other background noises.

I didn’t hear a thing.

I double checked by having a quick look at the person unfortunate enough to be sitting beside me, but there was no sign in the expression on his face that anything untoward had happened. Either that or he was a professional poker player with a practiced deadpan expression – or in a state of semi consciousness as a result of the concussive force emanating from the seat beside him.

My confidence grew. I thought of the famous campfire scene from Blazing Saddles and let a few more go in tribute.

Farting Mid Flight


I was so happy at the relief and at the fact that all was undetected that I allowed myself a triumphant smile, and then even a laugh. The movie I was watching was a comedy so my laughter didn’t look out of place either.

It was all good.

Hang on a minute.

All was not as good as it seemed.

Cut the laughter and cue serious worried face.

I suddenly realized that all this time I had been wearing the headphones the flight attendant had given us for the movies they were showing. No wonder I had heard nothing!

Oh dear me! What had I done?

Well, I knew what I had done, of course. The big question now was, did anyone else know? Had they heard me doing it?

I looked again at the man in the seat beside me. Again no perceivable reaction on his face that indicated that anything out of the ordinary had happened, although now I was aware of them I saw that he too was wearing the headphones.   

I was relieved a bit, but still very curious. And when I get curious about something I have to try to find an answer.

So there was nothing for it but let rip again, this time with my headphones off.

And that’s what I did.

Thankfully, in the interests of the scientific experiment now under way, the quality of the offending item had not diminished in force. A guy knows about these things even without any audio feedback.

To my great relief, in every meaning of the word, I still didn’t hear a thing. The drone of the airplane engines had indeed drowned out any other sounds.

It was a magnificently liberating experience and from that day on I have never looked back, as it were.

Further experimentation revealed that the same undetectable result could be achieved even on much smaller airplanes. Commercial jets I’m talking about, of course, this is not a sport to indulge in on a single engined Cesna or something like that.

I also found out that it is possible I have been saving the airlines lucky enough to win my custom a small fortune. As you know the air in airplanes these days is all re-circulated and, as the methane content of a fart is lighter than air, the captured gas therefore contributes to keeping the airplane airborne with a consequent saving on fuel. That’s my story anyhow.

farting in airplanes


And the good news just keeps on coming.

Independent research confirms that a person’s sense of smell is greatly suppressed in the reduced cabin air pressure, which incidentally is also why airplane food tastes so bad. 

So now if you are on an airplane and sitting beside someone who is chuckling to himself – or herself, yes ladies your secret is out – you’ll know the real reason why!

One day it might even be me!!!





The Three Hour Stopover (The Journey, part 3)

It is said that when men make plans, God laughs.

On this trip my plans included a 3 hour stopover window at my first port of call in the United States. Plenty of time to change planes and have something to eat. As I said in a previous post, I’m not a fan of airline food and with the early start and all the airport hassle, I like to wait and have a decent meal when I arrive at my destination.

Plenty of time?

Well there would have been if everything had been on time.

Apparently on the first trans-Atlantic part of my journey we had been fighting fairly strong headwinds most of the flight so we arrived in the US with less than 30 minutes to grab the connecting flight instead of 3 hours.

Thankfully Immigration and Customs had been taken care of before departure, otherwise there wouldn’t have been even the slightest chance of making my connection.

Of course, the day we were late was the day they’d parked my first plane about a mile away from the departure gate for the connection, and the gate was almost closing already.

I could have chilled out and just deliberately missed the connection and taken the next flight, I’ve had to do that before, but it arrived very late at my final destination and I thought I would rather get to my hotel as early as possible – it had been a very long day already.

I spoke to an official looking person, (a person in a uniform), explaining that I had to get to gate C31 within the next 10 minutes. I had come in at gate A2, I think. She just laughed. There was no chance.

Then I spotted an electric cart. It didn’t have a driver and for a moment I considered hijacking it, but just then the driver did saunter up and I explained my plight.

“Don’t know if we can make it, it’s a long, long way, but we’ll sure as hell give it a go. I can take you part of the way.” It’s wonderful what a few bucks can do!

So off we set, as fast as the cart would go, which, when you’re in a hurry doesn’t seem that fast. But we were moving and it was a lot quicker than walking.

For some reason in airports there is very little or no protocol for walking from A to B. Some people walk down the right side, others the left, and quite a number wander down the middle of the road oblivious to everything.

When you are on foot it’s noticeable too. If you choose to go with the flow and, for example, walk on the right hand side you progress well, for while. Until, that is, all of a sudden all the traffic seems to be coming from the opposite direction, towards you, and you find yourself like a motorist going up a one way street the wrong way.

I’ve never figured out who gives the signal to change sides, or how it is done, but it happens – always. Maybe there’s something like a dog whistle, audible only to the illogical and disorganised? Or maybe it’s something in the genes, you know, the thing that makes large flocks of birds or shoals of fish all turn in the same direction all at the same time. If you know the secret, do tell.

So there I was on the cart, hanging on to it with one hand and to my bag with the other, at the same time kicking out vigorously at stupid pedestrians who had to walk in the middle of the road, and wouldn’t get out of the way. I have to say too that I was swearing like the proverbial trooper.

Elegant it was not!

But with a quick change of vehicles and drivers on the way, I actually made it to the gate – red faced no doubt, and with literally seconds to spare!

But I had battled adversity and this time I had won!

At least I thought I had.

It was another one of those fleeting moments of triumph.

As I sat in my seat (an aisle one this time) waiting for takeoff, I wondered about my luggage.

Oh, no! My luggage….




Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.