I was hearing vague snippets of the disaster that was the Virgin Blue computer system, but my JetStar flight had its own problems. Everyone was seated (that is, except for the restless and very, very sensitive toddler standing on the opposite window seat, who burst into tears whenever mum dared suggest he sit down and put his seat belt on), but there seemed to be a delay.
It was getting quite stuffy, actually. A couple of people took to fanning themselves with the A320-232 safety instruction cards. It emerged that there were “maintenance issues”, which sounded a little dubious. Shortly thereafter, the captain (or someone) informed us that the problem was indeed related to the air-con. He could fix it in 2 seconds, but he would need to switch the plane off.
Had they, on the spur of the moment, installed a new air-conditioning software update? At least this was happening before takeoff, I thought to myself. (For instance, they didn’t say this: “Sorry, ladies and gentlemen – we will shortly begin a rapid descent towards to ocean while we install this critical software patch and restart the aircraft. Not sure how long we’ll be – let’s just hope it works this time.”)
So, for about a minute, the cabin lights were replaced by blue-tinted torch light, the engines died down and there was eery quiet (that is, except for the gentle snorting of the person next to me and the squeals from across the isle). It was also a reprieve from the terrible, cheesy music that had been playing over the speakers to pass the time; cheesy to an extent that can surely only be achieved with premeditated malice.
Then, with our air-con software apparently working as advertised, all hands reached for the vents above our seats and we were off.