I took an Air France flight from Paris to Casablanca. I have flown Air France many times before and to different destinations. This one proved to be the least enjoyable. Being cranky and tired from a previous long flight made it that much more of a chore. The rear flight attendant stood there leaning against the latrine door with one elbow, one hand on her hip; she looked like a despondent harlot waiting at the step of her ramshackle room in Rue St Denis on a salvational pleasure seeker. Judging from her annoyed countenance, her assignment to the flight must had been a punishment. She gave the passengers wary looks as they boarded the plane. She shook her head in disapprobation as two young Moroccan couples with a baby each walked up the aisle and settled towards the back of the plane. The fathers struggled to put their bags in the overhead compartment while the mothers nursed their crying babies. As I walked towards my seat I looked at the gentleman next to whom I would spend the duration of the flight. His eyes looked up with a begging insistence. In his mind, surely a voice pleaded with the heavens to make his fortune for the day nothing more than to leave the two seats on either side of his empty. As it turned out, he too had a long flight and the Paris – Casablanca portion was the last leg of his trip. All of a sudden, the plane erupted into a mixture of laughter and angry voices. The dry smile the flight attendant plastered on her face totally disappeared when into the plane ambled a group of teenagers, dragging their backpacks as they pushed each other on a race to get the window seats. Their two overwhelmed chaperons screamed orders that went mostly unheeded and added to the accrued irritation of the already seated passengers.
The front flight attendant who welcomed everyone with an upbeat attitude lost his smile after he walked up and down the aisle a few times clicking in the number of passengers. “Please, take your seats,” he kept saying to the teenagers who were still standing around engaged in jovial, unstilted and gesture filled conversations with their buddies.
The safety briefing went into a hole of obnoxiousness, totally muffled by the screams of overexcited teenagers on a field trip to Morocco, crying babies, and raucous French travelers cursing their travel agents. The quieter ones had their headphones on; their heads bobbed as they looked on at the unfolding chaotic scene. The flight attendant decided to remain detached leaving the passengers fending for themselves. Sometimes, a passenger would approach her with a protest – no room for his luggage in the overhead bin, the assigned seat taken by someone else. To this she would flail her arms in annoyance and grumble some incoherent directive without budging from her apathetic position.
Just as everybody thought the situation couldn’t get any worse, the pilot announced we were being delayed. There was then no wonder in my mind why Air France flew in the least number of visitors to Morocco this year in comparison to Royal Air Maroc, JetBlue, and EasyJet.
Two days later, my stomach was still rumbling from the stone hard, freezing cold rice and chicken meal they dished us out.
Ahmed T. B. Copyright © 2008