Donald MacInnes: Here's to a not so high-flying 50 not out, with Pringles

In The Red

Crackle … Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and a very warm welcome to this, the celebratory, 50th flight of ITR airlines piloted by yours truly. Who would have thought we would have made it to 50 not out, eh?

Good gracious. My co-pilot today, as ever, will be Flight Lieutenant Utter-Drivel, who is assisted by navigator Preposterous-Nonsense. As ever, before take-off, we ask that you suspend any notions you may hold that myself and my crew possess any actual financial acumen and just relax, throw back a large cocktail and try to keep the food down.

Sadly, the chap in seat 5c seems to have already failed this last challenge in quite spectacular fashion, so we must request that you tread very carefully as you make your way past his seat to the toilet... and then again when you actually get inside the cubicle, although that's no different from any other flights, as our frequent fliers will be happy to confirm.

Of course, with Christmas being just around the corner, today's meal should really have been something along the lines of the traditional festive spread with all the trimmings and a fine bottle of claret. In a shrunk-down, airline size, of course.

But being that we had to use the last vestiges of the annual budget to fill the tank with barely legal aviation fuel, I'm afraid you will have to make do with turkey-flavoured Pringles and a can of mulled Vimto. If you have a rummage down the back of your seats and happen to find any food, feel free to eat it, although if anyone finds a Terry's Chocolate Orange towards the back of the plane, that's my wife's, so please be so good as to pass it to the nearest flight attendant.

And talking of our attractive and very capable cabin crew – Suzie, Jackie, Suzie, Suzie and Daniel – again as a result of the global economic slump, they will be doing their best to maintain the yuletide theme within strict fiscal limits by providing the bulk of your in-flight entertainment. This will take the form of a repeated live rendition of In The Bleak Midwinter (it's the only one they know all the way through).

Should any passengers tire of this, however, an hour into the flight we shall be showing the 1984 Russ Abbot's Fun House Christmas special, which I happened to have on VHS. Anyone wishing to watch this should make their way to the rear of the cabin, where we have set up an old telly and a couple of deck chairs.

In the meantime, if you need anything, just press the button above your head. No-one will respond, but you will get a nice bing-bong sound. Thank you… Crackle.

d.macinnes@independent.co.uk

Twitter: @DonaldAMacInnes

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