The Flight from Hell on Air India

I flew to Germany on Halloween night and, perhaps fittingly, it was a nightmare. Never, ever, EVER fly on Air India. When I got on the plane, the first thing I saw were the torn carpets. Not a good sign. When I got into business class, the first thing I saw were two broken seats. Again, not a good sign.

The overhead luggage bins were full of dirt and crumbs. The walls were stained and, in many places, held together with masking tape. The seats were torn and stained.  The two big televisions hanging from the ceiling were cracked and held together with duct tape. My assigned seat turned out to be broken, so they moved me to another one.I thought about running out of the plane but they’d already sealed the doors and my luggage was in the hold.

I settled in for the long haul. The individual entertainment units are broken, so you have to watch movies on the two TV’s hanging from the ceiling, one of which shows everything in yellow.  If Bollywood musicals are your thing, you’ll love Air India. Luckily, I had my video iPod and it was full of shows to watch.

The snacks and meals are Indian, which is to be expected, but your silverware comes wrapped in a dirty napkin, which is not. I had to request a clean napkin. Amazingly, they had one.

Midway through the flight, my seat collapsed on to the woman behind me. It went completely flat, smacking into her lap. I climbed out of my seat. I tried to lift the seat, but it just fell back onto the poor passenger. The stewardess came over to help…and kept pressing the volume control button on my armrest. Clearly, she had no idea how the seats worked. But we finally managed to get the seat up and folded completely forward (that’s how broken it was). I was moved to yet another seat…my third one of  the flight.

I asked the stewardess why they don’t repair the seats…she said it’s because the plane is so old, they don’t have replacement parts. It made me wonder what condition the rest of the plane was in…particular the parts that make the damn thing fly.

We landed in Frankfurt (and my old seat smacked into the poor passenger again) and then I switched over to a Lufthansa flight to Munich. As soon as I got on the clean, beautiful, new plane…my stomach started doing somersaults. The instant we were at cruising altitude I ran into the restroom and stayed there for the rest of the flight. It was a much better seat than I had on Air India…the airline that had poisoned me.  I spent my first night in Munich in the bathroom of my wonderful hotel.

Aside from the travel hell, the rest of my trip has been great. I had the day to myself on Friday to explore Munich. I have been here many times before, but usually only for the day…and this was the first time I’ve visited when it wasn’t pouring rain or snowing. It was the first time i’d seen the city in the sunshine, thought it was still very cold out (at least for this Southern Californian).

I’ve been consulting with the head writer, producers, and network execs who are working on a new show. I’ve been helping them to find and refine their franchise by teaching them about the different kinds of conflict, the four-act structure and how to use all of that to generate stories that could only be told on their series. I’m essentially teaching an advanced TV writing class and it’s been a lot of fun. Today the writers join us  and I will begin walking  them all through how a writer’s room is run…and the relationship between writers, the studio and the network (at least how it is in the U.S.)

The only downside to this trip is that I haven’t been able to lick my jet lag. I fall asleep around 9:30-10 pm each night and wake up at 3:30-4am each morning. Hopefully that will pass in another day or two…

8 thoughts on “The Flight from Hell on Air India”

  1. Long time reader, first time poster (or is it commenter?)
    Sorry to hear about your flight from hell, Lee. Here is some news that might brighten your day… I am attending the American Film market here in Santa Monica this week. As a way to get around, the hotel offers a free shuttle which is equipped with a TV that plays movie previews for films that are for sale.
    So I’m watching carefully and this one trailer for a racing movie comes up. And I’m thinking as the trailer progresses, “Wow, this movie kinda rocks.” Explosions, romance, and of course cars crashing through all sorts of buildings. Usually the trailers make the movies look kinda bland and boring. But this one rocks…
    And then the film’s title comes up at the end of the trailer… It’s called “Fast Track – No Limits.”
    Congratulation’s on a great looking film Lee.

  2. I am new to ‘monk’..and absolutely enjoying it..And Air India is the most inefficient airways in india..So am not surprised by the reaction..
    PS:u have a lot of fans out here in india..

  3. Well, that’s *one* way to strike, I guess. 🙂
    It is nice flying in the big pretty clean plane, isn’t it?
    JetBlue is amazingly nice for the price, if they go where you’re going.

  4. The standards that Air India management applies to the cabins of older aircraft will inevitably apply to the aeronautics.


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