Screwing Around on a Plane

Screwing Around on a Plane

Bending over backwards and crawling on all fours. We were all involved in an odd physical activity on an aircraft. An activity that was strange and aroused a lot of attention from other passengers. The grunting, huffing sounds that we all produced didn’t make the situation any easier.  I broke a sweat, time seemed to stand still. My hysteria increased the tension in the plane. We were truly screwing around on a plane.

The long-anticipated day had finally arrived. I had been planning my trip to Morocco for months and today was the day, flying Qatar. The flight at 5:30 pm was empty to Doha from Nairobi due to an unpopular time of travel and fortunately had 3 rows of empty seats to my leisure. Being alone at this time felt like an advantage, but turned into my adversary shortly. I felt like a queen living in a kingdom of luxurious comfort. After taking my seat on, I did what any traveller would do, sat down, secured my belongings and awaited take off. The distant babble of the pilot’s safety instructions and overzealously smiling air hostesses loomed in the background. On this day, there was no intention of losing my action camera screw. I didn’t anticipate the stress that would soon consume me while being engrossed in a rescue mission for a 5-centimetre piece of metal.

The steady moving of the wheels and the slight buzz heard inside the aircraft made it aware to all that we were about to move. The wait was agonizingly long but with a swift steady gaining of momentum, the wheels gave the earth one last kiss and we were gliding our way through the air. The seatbelt signs ever-present, my stomach clenched in a tight knot, we were beginning our ascent into a new world of the bright blue open sky. The air hostesses appeared as though they were modelling in a fashion show. They’re hair, makeup and uniform were perfectly placed, smiling to passengers in a warm and friendly manner. The air hosts were eager to serve and asked questions if I was comfortable and enjoying the journey.


The clouds consumed our large vessel and then almost like a “hallelujah moment” we were in a sanctuary of the sun. The rays shone brightly and unapologetically through the aeroplane windows. I thought that if I let the sun glimpse my body, I’d feel the warmth that had lacked in the weather down below. But of course, it didn’t. The weather before we boarded had been close to freezing. Nairobi was in its cold season during the summer months. An hour after our accent, I witnessed the most glorious sunset. The rays were partitioned into pink, blue and yellow. I felt like I could reach out and touch these beautiful, ever so distant rays. In a few quick movements, I removed my Go Pro Hero 5 and began to record the rare magnificent sight. The way the hues hid behind the wing was fantastic! I created vivacious videos and returned to my seat. Go Pro’s have screws which are attached to latches that are used to connect the action camera to their handles. After removing the screw from the camera, it fell into an abyss of airline equipment. Quickly getting down onto my knees, bending over behind my seat and began the scram for the screw.

I asked the air host to help me find the screw because I was stricken with fear. Anxiety and adrenaline had kicked in my bloodstream. Fast-paced thoughts flooded into my thoughts: “How could this happen just before my holiday?”, “How careless could I have been?”, “Why is this happening to me?”. My mind was unhinged, sweat began to seep out of my skin. Panic and frenzy had stricken the atmosphere.  A calm man named Ahmed saw things in a state of calmness juxtaposed with my state of frenzy. He had the build of a bodybuilder or a fighter, he didn’t look like the typical air host a frequent flyer easily comes across. His arms were bulky built with large muscles and had brown eyes and curly black hair. He hurried over to me and we began the search. Losing my screw isn’t how I intended to start my Moroccan adventure. I looked behind the seat, it wasn’t there, it was a phantom no one could see. The screw looks exactly like the bolts of the seats of the plane so it’s like looking at the right place but still being blind. The small metallic screws were taunting both our minds. I kept going back and forth unsuccessful, panting and pacing, huffing and puffing. Telling myself repetitive that it would be alright despite the bleakness of the current situation.


Flying alone can easily put someone on edge and the gravity of the situation was heightened.  I asked a lady four rows behind me if she had seen the screw by her feet but she hadn’t. She joined in the rescue mission. Alas, no screw.  Did I start wondering to myself how far and fast a screw could roll?  How could something so small put so many of us in a state of unrest? Ahmed returned after going to serve some drinks to passengers and advised me to put the torch of my phone on. Following his instruction, the search continued but there wasn’t a screw in sight. This little metallic device was toying with all of our minds. We had been toiling for half an hour to find the screw in vain.


Qatar Airways is a Qatari state-owned air company that was founded in 1993. It is famous for being one of the most renowned airlines in the Middle East. It attracts numerous tourists from around the globe because it gives visas on arrival to 80+ nationalities. It is cheaper for people who have third world country passports to travel to Doha, the country’s capital, rather than go to a European country. Qatar is also very popular because of the customer care that they give to their passengers. Their company employs the world’s finest pilots thus the flights are very smooth. The cabin crew care about their passengers and will bend over backwards (quite literally in my case) to ensure that their customers have the best experiences. Qatar also has a good variety of new entertainment to engage in whilst flying such as the latest films and music. They have good quality food as well.


Ahmed turns the lights on a little brighter. The light illuminated much better than my phone but still, no screw. At this point, I decided to retrace my steps. I sat down again on my chair and showed him where I dropped the screw. He lifted my seat, above the cushion to the metallic part of the chair and low and behold. The screw! Ahmed said in amusement, “I’ve always been good at finding things. Even when I was a kid!” He smiled a warm, caring smile which made me believe him. My fingers pushed the screw out of the metallic constraining seats that had been holding the screw against its will and the screw bolted away to freedom.


That screw screwed us around that flight. What an interesting way for me to begin my journey! I’m grateful that Ahmed helped me find the screw. This was my first time flying on Qatar and was completely satisfied with their response rates and their willingness to help their customers. I’d heard great reviews about the airline but now had experienced the truth behind those words. Sometimes the best stories to tell aren’t the ones you expect to experience. In hindsight, I’m glad to have had a rescue mission to find a screw, it taught me to be more patient and not overreact in times of crisis. I settled back on my seat, the lights dimmed back into a dark blue hue that highlighted itself to the roof of the plane. The frenzy had fizzled out in and everything went back to normal.

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