My husband and I were flying from LHR to CUN for a friend’s wedding. Even though our flight was scheduled to depart around 11am, we were in full holiday mode so we decided to make our way to the gate to sit down with a celebratory drink before boarding.
Our gate was really far out in one of the terminals which only had one cafe to accommodate about 5 gates. We’re sitting there, relaxing with a glass of wine, when we start to notice a very weird scene unfolding. There are about 8 children between the ages of 4-13 who are literally running around like headless chickens. They had found a balloon and were purposely hitting random people with it. One child had taken his shirt off, another was eating some woman’s muffin off her plate, another was hiding under people’s tables trying to get into their hand bags. I had never seen anything like it.
Of course, we’re scanning the cafe looking for the parents who these children belong to and see before us three very tanned, scantily clad, surgically enhanced women downing rose wine, and, at a separate table, three men (their husbands) all wearing track suits, necking cans of Stella. Basically, they were travellers/gypsies. Upon closer inspection, we could see that all of the men had a variation of black eyes, stitches on their faces, bruised knuckles… basically we concluded that these families had planned a holiday together, and these guys were prize fighting the night before to get a bit of extra spending money. Pretty much everyone in the cafe was avoiding eye contact with any of them, including the women because those ladies looked fierce!
We look at the boarding screens and see that there is a flight at the gate next to ours that’s going to Orlando. “Of course!” we tell ourselves, they MUST be going to Orlando. Nope. They get on our flight, one row behind us. The women all pass out almost immediately; the men go into the galleys to get armfuls of free drinks, and soon pass out after the meal is served. The children are running around the plane throughout the ENTIRE duration of the flight (apart from takeoff and landing obviously). There must have been about 5 announcements made specifically saying, “Please remain in your seats, especially if you have small children on board,” etc.
Mid-flight I went into the snack area of the galley (Virgin flight) and made a comment to the air hostess like, “Wow, you’ve certainly got your hands full…” or something, and she just looks at me with this look of despair and says, “I’ve been doing this for over 15 years and have never had it this bad.” They knew that saying anything more forceful to the parents (they had already tried the polite route) would just escalate into a bigger issue, considering the…”nature” of how these people were and how they usually “deal” with things…
Best bit is that we landed, get to our 5 star resort thinking we’re in the clear, and we see them checking in. Luckily we were out of there after the wedding and on to paradise.