Saturday, July 14, 2007

Riding Along on a Carousel

Not long after Robert Mugabe came to power in Zimbabwe he was to visit London and was booked onto a British Airways 747 from Harare to London. When it came time for him to board he did so at the last minute and was accompanied by a whole bunch of people including some security people who were to be guarding their leader. These guys were all carrying guns and the BA Captain and ground staff in Harare were not happy with this arrangement. As we all know guns and aircraft don’t mix. After a god deal of debate, not to say argument, the security men were relieved of their weapons. This was mostly as a result of the Captain refusing to take off unless they did. Their weapons were all put in a bag and put with the crew bags in the hold.

The rest of the trip passed of uneventfully until they got close to London and the Captain was informed that Heathrow was fog bound and it was likely that they would have to divert. Given the importance of one of their passengers the aircraft remained in the holding pattern as long as possible before finally having to divert to Edinburgh before shortage of fuel became an issue.

On landing at Edinburgh the passengers disembarked and when all at the aircraft was clear so did the crew. Because the crew were going to have to be flown back to London on a shuttle flight they had to collect their bags from the normal baggage carousel. All the passengers had picked up their baggage and had left the terminal, including the Zimbabwean President and his entourage. When the crew arrived to pick up their bags everything was all present and correct, except that there was one extra bag. The holdall containing the guns was merrily going around the baggage belt.
No, not the flight deck of Zimbabwe's Air Farce One but the interior of a car like the one the idiot President recently bought. You kind of wonder what he will do with all that equipment - unless it's to try and buy some near gear off ebay.


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