The art of flying: Or how to lose friends and alienate people

This week BALPA released seven reasons not to be scared of flying as Brits go on their holidays this August Bank Holiday weekend.

BALPA sought to address the anxiety of nervous flyers, reassuring them about turbulence and stating that it was highly unlikely for a modern aircraft to be brought down by it – although to always wear a seat belt when seated.

‘More than 3.5 billion people flew safely on 37.6 million flights last year and there were only four fatal accidents,’ the BALPA release noted.

Here at Shephard we are adept at flying as we attend shows across the globe from Eurosatory 2016 in Paris, DIMDEX in Doha to FIDAE in Santiago, Chile [we have more shows coming up, including AUSA in Washington DC, Helitech International 2016 in Amsterdam and MSPO in Poland: see for further details – ed].


Therefore, things like turbulence over the Atlantic or storms as you travel across the Pacific are small fly to us.

However, during a group therapy session at Shephard Towers, we have shared our top five bugbears (in no particular order) when flying. If you would like to contribute to the list, please do make your suggestions in the comment box below.

1.The toilet – The reasons for why are endless – like the queue when there’s 30 minutes till landing. Like the time one of our journos went to the toilet forgetting they had taken their shoes off only to stand in an ominous puddle. On one long haul flight to the States, Shephard had to come to the rescue when people struggled to understand the mechanics of the toilet door once inside the cubicle.

‘They kept pushing the door, thinking they were stuck. Sitting by the toilet, I had to save each one, telling them to step back from the door so it opens. They thought I was some kind of engineering genius.’

2. People – Hell is other people on a ten-hour flight – whether they are reclining and making you spill your Stella Artois onto your lap or they have a child that either looks at you through the seats or howls the whole journey.

Passengers on aircraft are challenging beings: taking off socks as well as shoes, loud eaters, the utilisation of a Ped-egg on one’s feet is something that cannot be unseen, and the shoving in of overhead luggage.

737 Space Bins at 737 Configuration Studio

Overhead luggage is like a game of chess. Bet her fellow passengers aren’t smiling.

3. Food – Nothing is more satisfying at 30,000ft than a dried roll, limp-looking lettuce and a plastic ham sandwich. Man on the moon? Simple. Aerodynamic aluminium carrying up to a few hundred people? Done. Non-dry, unpalatable, plastic food made tasty and appetising – it’s an evolution not a revolution.

4. Cabin crew – With the utmost respect to those that service us in the sky in a challenging environment that smells of stale eggs an hour in. Sometimes a surly cabin crew can bring a damper on our excitement of travelling to faraway lands reporting on military logistics or recent procurements and acquisitions. Service with a smile is always welcome.

Gareth asleep

5. Ourselves – There’s nothing worse than having a soirée the night before to let loose after a physically and ‘journalistically’ challenging show to then get on board a plane feeling ruff [#national dog day], watching the same films on repeat like Toy Story 3 and general restlessness as the journey edges into its nine hours across time zones enforcing the loss of a day in the process before returning to work the next day.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s