If I thought the first flight to the UK on my own with Ella was hard, the one back to Thailand was unbelievably worse!
Ella had drifted off into a calm slumber while we were taxiing to the runway and I felt proud of my super chilled parenting. In fact, I was so busy revelling in my amazing skills that I failed to notice the lady behind me was not coping.
From bad to worse
It started off with a gentle humming. This soon intensified to moaning, quickly moved on to shouting and then, to my utter surprise, culminated in her attacking me from behind. First with her bag and then by clawing at my hair.
I couldn’t believe of the 300-odd passengers on board, it was me being attacked. I thought the best thing to do at first was the good old British thing of ignoring it, hoping it would all go away. That didn’t work. It was happening and much to my complete dismay and slight embarrassment, I was being beaten up 30,000 feet in the air – while holding my (still) sleeping child. It was all a bit surreal!
Handbags at dawn
I managed to stay calm, despite my predicament and asked her husband to help me… no one else seemed to be coming to my aid! Finally, after her bag narrowly missed Ella’s head, I lost it and starting shouting at her – waking Ella up in the process. There was now a huge commotion. Me shouting, her hitting me, Ella screaming and the air stewards/stewardesses trying to calm it all down. None of it was doing any good as she lassoed her handbag into the side of my head for the umpteenth time.
She was finally dragged off me and I was informed that we were going to turn around and head back to Heathrow where I could speak to the police. I couldn’t think of anything worse and begged, sobbed and pleaded with them to keep going. The lady, it transpired was terrified of flying and I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was calmed down at the back of the plane, and I couldn’t think of anything worse than missing my connection and being stuck in Mumbai with the mean security guards!
All’s well that ends well
Luckily all returned to normal on the flight. We didn’t have to turn around, I wasn’t stuck in Mumbai and I spent the rest of the flight with Ella awake and crying. Normal service was resumed!