I myself am a past master at this, so it is with a sense of schadenfreude that I share this sorry tale with you.
I once had a friend who was a captain for British Airways. That’s about as good as it gets without being transferred to flying a desk. Anyway, one day he was walking through Terminal Four at Heathrow. He was scheduled to fly that day, and was, as a result, in his full captain’s uniform, lots of hoops on the sleeves of his jacket, cap with braid, the whole nine yards. While passing by one of the many amusement and games arcades, he happened to see a young boy having some difficulty with one of the flight simulator machines. The wee fellah was finding it impossible to make safe landfall at Kai Tak airport. This is no longer used but used to be the main airport in Hong Kong, and the approach actually took you between rows of skyscrapers. I’ve flown in and out of there, and you’d swear you could shake hands with the residents of the flats that appear either side.
Anyway, Peter, for that was his name, took pity on the boy. ‘Move over, I’ve done this loads of times for real. I’ll show you how it’s done.’
The boy moved, and Peter took the controls of the simulator, expertly banked between the buildings and made his final approach.
‘Suddenly bugger me, a big bang, flash, Game Over!’
‘I didn’t notice I was losing altitude,’ he said ruefully. ‘You know. It happens. I’m a lot more careful when I’m actually up the sharp end.’
And that’s why BA is not my favourite airline.