So, I have just come back from a glorious girlie weekend in Sonoma, California. It's wine country up there; it looked a lot like Italy, and just as hot.
Of course, this is my life, so it was not without its airline hiccup, although this time it happened to a friend and not me. She boarded ahead of me and was sitting in the row behind me. By the time I got on the plane (Boarding Group 2 - sigh) she should have been well ensconced in her window seat, possibly with a book out or her headphones in. She was nowhere to be seen, although the people in the middle and aisle seats were already seated. Seeing her at the far end, near the toilets, I assumed she had to make a quick visit. When I saw her still standing there five minutes later I mouthed "What's wrong?" to which she replied "I don't have a seat?"
I then helpfully pointed to 24A, and she continued "No, I mean I don't have a seat." And she didn't. 24A revealed no seat cushion and the airbag, which one would usually only see in a pretty dire emergency. And so began a 45 minute delay while they got another seat. There were a few empty seats up in first, which my friend kept insisting she would be only to happy to take, but no - they explained that if we flew without that seat cushion it would only make problems for the crew in San Francisco. Oh well.
And then the helpful captain came on to explain the delay. Not only did we have to get a new seat cushion from the ground crew, but when it finally arrived (to a prolonged round of applause), the poor delivery dude had to go back for the missing paperwork. Apparently it's against the rules to replace something without it being fully recorded.
In his attempt to "keep passengers informed", as they do these days, he also told us all that if we looked around for the only passenger who was still standing despite the seat belt sign being on, we would spy the lady who was without a seat cushion. Cue 120 people turning to my friend, who, not being shy, gave them all a friendly wave.
At least this time it wasn't me!