Ear diagramThe flight back from Berlin was a bit better than the journey there – no annoying fellow passengers, and I managed to get from the plane and into the train in less than 5 minutes at Stansted – surely a record! So I managed to get the last tube from Tottenham Hale and arrived home at a reasonable time.

However, as often happens, the pressure systems in the plane were not quite right. This means ears that pop for me on the way down – normally solved by chewing gum. From time to time, a small child in the plane gets these problems and starts to scream and scream in a horribly pained manner throughout the entire descent. Once I was in a plane with a child whose ears hurt so much they screamed and screamed until they were sick.

Tonight there was one of those kids in the plane… So in my attempt to be socially minded, I called over the flight attendant, and asked whether he could possibly supply the child with some water to sip so swallowing would ease the ear pressure and stop the pain and screaming. No, he said, that’s the parent’s business and it’s no job of a flight attendant to do that. What a load of rubbish! I sort of then wished that the kid would have been sick so that the damned attendant would have had to clear the mess up. Have we reached such a stage in Britain where even professionals do not dare to speak to people? Surely that attendant hears a whole load of kids screaming, and as it took me a while to get to grips with the pressure problems in planes, you can also imagine that some parents might not know what their kid is suffering from. I wonder whether a SAS flight attendant would have been so ignorant?

And so to Will Hutton… He has written an interesting piece in today’s Observer about Blair’s respect agenda, and what needs to be done to allow people in society to talk to each other and trust each other a bit. Read the article here. I’m not sure I agree that Blair’s efforts are the right way to go about solving these problems our society faces… But at least show me, any other passengers you happen to be in a plane with, and society as a whole, a little respect by helping kids to swallow so they don’t scream until they are sick the next time you are in a plane with pressure problems.

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