I gave Virgin Atlantic a second chance because the film selection is so good and because I have fantasies about being in their Upper Class Club or whatever it’s called. Last time, they gave us vegan options instead of the veggie options we’d pre-ordered – and acted snotty about it – but I slightly thought Rifa had ticked the wrong box (or secretly done it on purpose so we’d eat healthier), so maybe it was worth another go. But no, it’s them, I was super-careful but they’ve got some internal communication fuckup about the meals. It’s complicated because everyone on the flight gets a veggie option anyway (until they run out) so perhaps if you pre-order anything, they get offended.
It’s a noble cause but you can’t imagine anything more heartbreaking than vegan aeroplane food. No puddings, for a start.
They were snotty again, too, after plonking the wrong pile of raw veg and (euch! euch! euch!) bulgar in front of me – and wouldn’t let me have the normal veggie food being offered to everyone else. How stupid to care enough about veggie food that you pre-order, only to lose out to people who’re only eating veggie because they “don’t like the smell of the beef”.
I had to wait and see whether there were any veggie meals left after everyone else on the plane had been fed. Finally, I was given a cold “premium economy” mash potato, with the cabin crew acting like they’d done me a favour – but where were the peripherals?! It’s all about the cheese and crackers and… where was my fucking Gü pudding? That’s now three Gü puddings Virgin Atlantic have ripped me off of in six weeks.
Anyway, later on they offered everyone a hot wrap and I had the spinach and ricotta – finally something nice to eat. Later still, I was given a cold dry salad wrap when nobody else was eating and, although it looked a bit euch, thought “Finally, I’ve got a bonus, I’ve got the vegan wrap as well as the veggie one,” so without thinking I ate it. But two minutes later the trollies rolled out and I realised I’d eaten my vegan “light meal” and would miss out on the veggie one, which was delicious looking sandwiches and a chocolate fucking cookie. Can you feel my anger? I tried to hide my tray and all the accoutrements down the back of the seat but the woman knew I’d been ‘fed’ already and wouldn’t give me any sarnies. Then I was going to bleep them and demand the chocolate cookie but I realised the sweet old lady two seats from me had left hers and, if I tried to ask them, she’d immediately offer it to me, which would defeat the object, so I gave up and landed in Los Angeles cookie-less.
I’m cancelling my meal booking and, flying home, I’ll deny any knowledge of pre-booked food and refuse the tray, if they try to throw fruit salad at me. Then I’m going to ask for extra everythings, bleep them every hour, and see what happens.
Watched Michael Clayton, it’s a slow burn but punches you hard, Clooney is quietly brilliant and it feels so real, even as it veers towards being a thriller. Also watched the I For India doc, which Rifa recommended, and it’s this beautiful, sweet film built from 30 years of home movies made by an Indian family, some of whom came to the UK in the 60s. They kept in touch by sending video and audio tapes. It really brings home that central heart-rending dilemma about missing family/home but not knowing where life will be better. I don’t know where you’d find it but see it if you can.
When we landed I was bricking it about coming through security, so I waffled buckets of ludicrous shit rather than being cool and remembering what I should say. Couldn’t’ve been more stupid, yet they just let me through with just raised eyebrows. Also I brought Sarge some coffee and on the customs form it says foodstuffs like that are illegal (actually the lines are blurry between what you can and can’t bring). I ticked the box that said no foodstuffs, then ridiculously wrote the coffee down on the other side of the form as a declared gift! There was no time to redo it, so I crossed my fingers and handed it in… and they didn’t notice, or didn’t care, so that was cool.
Meanwhile Ben, the Independent journalist who travelled out to do a feature on my tour, told the exact truth about why he’d come and got detained for 3 hours.