3.267 "Fish"

-Cycle 3, Item 267-
28 (Fri) September 2012



on Korean Air Flight KE689

-Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean-


WHO Research Trip, Day 1 (in transit: Incheon, Republic of Korea --> Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Obviously, the plane didn't crash, in case anyone was curious.

I'll be staying in Phnom Penh through Tuesday on a WHO project, the same one that sent me to Manila a couple weeks back (see most recently 3.244 Steamed Crab in Chili Sauce).

The in-flight meal was a choice of beef, chicken, or fish.  I chose the "fish," which turned out to be a cod(ish) filet and vegetables in an tomato sauce with buttered potatoes.  While most tomato sauces taste "Italian" to me, I can't bring myself to attribute the dish to Italian cuisine.  It was okay, I suppose, as far as airplane food goes.

Get this.  Moments prior to departure, after all the doors had been closed and disconnected from the terminal, three Korean passengers suddenly stormed to the front of the plane and started a heated discussion with the flight attendants.  They were members of a group tour.  One of their members hadn't made it yet.  They were begging the crew to wait until he could arrive.  Un-fucking-believable.  That took 10 minutes, so we were now 10 minutes delayed.  Request denied, they declared their desire to get off, explaining that they absolutely could not leave without their missing member.  Un-fucking-believable.  So, because an airline can't keep a passenger on board who wishes to deplane prior to takeoff, the crew initiated disembarking procedures.  And because a plane can't fly with an incomplete manifest, we were told that all of us would have to get off, at which point the airline would make a new manifest and issue everyone new boarding passes.  Un-fucking-believable.  20 minutes later, now 30 minutes delayed, the doors had been reconnected and reopened.  But the tour group suddenly declared that they'd changed their minds.  Un-fucking-believable.  The departure sequence was reinitiated.  10 minutes into it, now 40 minutes delayed, the crew received word that the missing member had shown up at the airport and demanded to be let on.  Un-fucking-believable.  Much to his credit, the visibly infuriated crew chief refused on principle, even if it meant delaying the flight another hour or more in processing the other passengers should the tour group go through with their threat.  Bluff called, they didn't.  We eventually took off, 60 minutes late. Un-fucking-believable.

Among the many amazing things about this event: first, it's that easy to hold an entire plane hostage; second, people are capable of being sociopathically selfish on such a grand scale; and third, Koreans, who constituted the vast majority of the other passengers, are too patient or too civil or too timid to make a peep in protest even in the face of mindblowing bullshit (except for one guy in business class who kept yelling that he had the power to deny them entry into Cambodia upon arrival).  

 I'd requested a front row seat, which miraculously ended up being empty on either side, while the rest of coach was literally 100% packed to capacity, making my seating area more spacious than it would've been in business class; maybe I didn't protest myself because I was too comfortable to give a shit about anything else.


  1. 1. i'm very curious about the guy who had teh power to deny the bullshitters entrance into cambodia.

    2. isn't it culturally just WRONG to make you work over Chuseok??

  2. 1. i'm sure we were all hoping it to be true. but he seemed like a blowhard. funny, he kept screaming (in Korean), "What kind of shame is this for a national airline when there are foreigners on board!?!!" (a few Cambodians in coach, a few whites in business), even though he was acting a bit embarrassing himself.

  3. 2. actually, because this trip is during chuseok, i don't have to deal with all the family obligations back home, same with SY, who got a pass in my absence. would you rather be traveling to a new foreign country, where the food is good and quite frankly the work isn't all that strenuous, or be stuck at home in the service of extended family?