Did Charlie Dance The Foxtrot?

The more frequent among us flyers know better than to joust with airline staff in the special dialect they have created to communicate amongst themselves — probably to exclude us yobs from conversation.

A less frequent traveller might attempt to sound cool by braving airline-speak. He might find his suitcase in Mombasa. Literally. He might have to go there to retrieve it.

If you really want to defeat your captor – the airline executive – do not attempt to dazzle him with “Alpha. Bravo. Charlie. Delta. Echo…” Frustrate him with high school English.

I overheard this airline check-in desk girl grapple on the phone thus:

“Ma’am, your seat is 21 Delta…

“No, no, ’21 Delta’ is your assigned seat. You know, 21D…

“No ma’am, we are not transferring you to Delta Airlines…

“Yes, this is indeed Qantas…

“I apologise, ma’am. I have no idea why I said ‘Delta’…

“Yes ma’am. Have a good day, ma’am.”

Or do it like the detectives in Tin Tin. “This is Thompson. Thompson, with a ‘p’ as in ‘psychology’.”

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