There really is something very special about the Sri Lankan people. They are so happy, so helpful, so friendly. One of their smiles can light up a room.
I headlined the previous blog post “Sitting in the cheap seats”, which is what we did on the 10-1/2 hour red-eye flight between London and Colombo, Sri Lanka. Instead of dining on fine food and sleeping for six hours in the comfortable, fully-reclining business class seats I’d hoped for, we were back in economy, eating regular folks food and sitting in seats that reclined just enough so that your mouth falls open and your head bobs around when you try to sleep.Except something funny happened. Instead of being a horrible flight or even an average flight, it was one of the best flights either of us have ever experienced.
How is that possible?
Simple. The service was so tremendous that the time just flew by (you’ll pardon the expression).
The flight attendants were all gorgeous. It was like they recruited the entire crew from the Miss Sri Lanka competition. And their smiles. I don’t know how to describe their smiles. They are just so warm and big and so natural and so absolutely effortless.
As I said in the previous post, economy class was jampacked. Far as I could tell, there was one empty seat in the whole plane. Yet, the flight attendants never lost their cool, never lost their composure, never lost those smiles.
Since I’m not a drinker, I asked for water when everyone else (including Jamie) was having wine. Our flight attendant said, “I feel bad if I can’t give you more.”
That was the start of a beautiful relationship. She literally fawned over me the rest of the flight. In my younger days, I would have convinced myself that she had fallen victim to my charisma and raw animal magnetism, and that she could resist neither my sexy, boyish charms nor my sparkling blue eyes. At this age I fear that she was merely being kind to an elderly American gentleman.
Whatever the reason, the flight attendant and I made some kind of connection and the less I asked of her, the more she wanted to do for me.
I just asked Jamie to describe the relationship I struck up with the flight attendant. She said, “She was giddy. She was awestruck. She couldn’t do enough for you.”
On one hand, I know we received very special treatment, but on the other hand, I suspect that every other flight attendant was giving the same treatment to every other passenger.
As a result, the red-eye flight we were dreading ended up being a wonderful surprise. In addition to the incredible service, we had a choice of English or Sri Lankan dinners right after take-off and the same choice of breakfasts.
But that brings up a question.
If the schlubs back in the economy seats were getting this kind of service, what were those lucky bastards in first class getting?
UPDATE (JUNE 1, 2023): It’s been eight years since I first posted this story and now I’m finally going to reveal a detail that has gone heretofore unmentioned. I know you’ll think I’m delusional, because Jamie certainly did.
Every time the flight attendant bent over to serve the passenger across the aisle, she rubbed her butt on my shoulder. The first time it happened, I was a bit embarrassed, thinking that she had done it by mistake. The second time I thought This is a little odd. The third and fourth and fifth times she did it, I knew it was definitely not accidental and, quite honestly, I could not help but enjoy it.
I finally leaned over to Jamie and quietly told her what had been going on. She, of course, rolled her eyes and told me I was a dirty old man who was misinterpreting some clearly innocent contact. “Why would that beautiful young girl rub her butt on your shoulder?”
“If you don’t believe me,” I told her, “just watch the next time she comes down the aisle.”
A few minutes later the friendly flight attendant came down the aisle again. She stopped at my seat to ask if I needed anything and I said I didn’t. She quickly turned to the passenger across the aisle and did it again. She rubbed her butt on my shoulder. It wasn’t an accidental brush of her gluteal region against my shoulder, it was a full on massage.
When she finally walked away. I turned to Jamie and gave her one of those looks that say, “Well? Was I right?”
“I’ll be damned,” she exclaimed. “You weren’t exaggerating. That woman was rubbing her butt against your shoulder.”
Best damn airline in the world, if you ask me.
Real eating utencils and glasses? A little display of permanence like that would go a long way towards calming down the nervous flier, like me. It also sounds like our airlines could take some service tips from the Sri Lankans on how to keep passengers happy on long flights!