Betrothal in the sky, pilot as the medium

In these times of conflagrations, recessions and natural disasters on earth, our contributor cum pilot Capt. G. A. Fernando brings tidings of joy from an altitude of over 35,000 ft.

"A funny thing happened to me the other day. We were taking off from London-Heathrow that evening, on a direct flight to Singapore. After the takeoff and during the climb-out, we were speaking to London Control over the radio and the lady controller wanted to know whether we could do her a favour. Usually such trivial conversation takes place on a discretionary frequency but it was not to be. When we replied in the affirmative, she told us that her name was Olive and there was a person named Andy (surname was also given) who was a passenger on our flight and requested us to tell him that she was willing to marry him. For the next three minutes pandemonium broke loose over the busy airspace over London. I think almost every pilot on the frequency that night started to congratulate her.

Now it was our turn to break the good news to Andy onboard. The first thing we had to do was to check where Andy was seated in the aircraft. We were told that he was also an air traffic controller. We all came to the conclusion that Olive must have been a supervisor to do something so crazy over the radio.

After perusing the passenger manifest and locating Andy, we told our In Flight Supervisor to get the champagne ready. Then my colleague, the Pilot in Command, made an announcement over the Public Address system: "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your

Captain speaking. May I have your attention please? This is a very special message to Andy from his girl friend Olive. Andy, could you please stand up? She says that she is willing to marry you!

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sure you will join us in wishing Andy all the very best."

All the passengers in the Boeing 747 were cheering loudly when I walked down the aisle (in full uniform) with the In Flight Supervisor closely following with the champagne. Andy, who was seated right at the back, was stunned with all the fuss.

Andy was on cloud nine! It certainly made my day.

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