The huge metallic bird stood silently, ready for take-off. The silvery grey
wings gleam in the bright sunlight. The propellers, one on each wing, are
stationary. They would begin spinning as soon as the pilot starts the aircraft
engine. The pilot was seated in the glass-lined cockpit at the nose of the
aircraft. Little glass windows line the entire body of the Boeing 737 on both
sides. The aircraft displays its identity proudly; the blue and red Malaysian
Airline System (MAS) logo in the shape of a wau.
The gangway at the left of
the aircraft was in position. As soon as the boarding call was given, passengers
began to file out of the departure lounge towards the aircraft. A charming air
stewardess stood at the entrance of the aircraft. "Good morning," she greeted,
smiling at the passenger momentarily. She was dressed in the official uniform of
MAS stewards and stewardesses - the batik "kebaya" with green and pink motifs.
A few seats away stood another air stewardess directing passengers to their
seats. The golden class seats are separated from the economy class seats by
curtains which are drawn at take-off time. The golden class seats are more
spacious. There are two seats on both sides of the aisle whereas the economy
class section accommodates three seats on both sides of the aisle. The first row
of the seats for the golden class are labeled from A to F. The window seats are
A and D whereas the aisle seats are C and F.
"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome aboard Malaysian Airlines,
Flight MH2601. The captain of this flight is Captain Raj and I'm your leading
stewardess, Arneeda Majid. Our flight is one hour and forty minutes. For your
take-off, please use your safety belts." The clicks of safety belts being
fastened could be heard. The leading stewardess continued, "Ladies and
gentleman, for your safety, we'll demonstrate the safety equipment carried on
board. Please give us your attention." Three stewardess stood at strategic
positions along the aisle and demonstrated how to use the oxygen mask and life
jacket. As part of the routine, they signaled where the various exits were. Then
the crew took up their designated positions for the take-off.
Once the aircraft was in the air, the crew busied themselves with their
tasks. A steward walked along the aisle with a stack for newspapers. "Papers,
madam? Papers, sir?" they enquired. The newspapers usually provided are New
Straits Times, Berita Harian and Nanyang Siang Pau. Even before they reach the
end of the aisle, all the newspapers had been taken. The crackling of newspapers
fill the air as the pages were turned.
Then the trolleys were wheeled out. "We're serving nasi lemak and
omelette for breakfast. What would you have, sir? The voices of the stewardesses
could be heard. From the trolley, the stewardess pulled out trays of what the
passengers asked for. On the tray were a rectangular plate for either nasi
lemak or omelette, a glass, a cup and cutlery. Then the stewardesses came
round again to fill the glass with either chilled pineapple juice or sky juice,
and the cup with tea or coffee. By the time, the passengers finished their meal,
it was almost landing time. The trays had to be cleared. More instructions for
landing had to be given. Time certainly passed more quickly for the crew than
for the passengers.