10/08/2018 Posted by admin

by Shirlee Engel

It’s a tradition for the reporters on the first week of the election campaign to give a name to the party plane they’re on – all in good fun of course!

In the age of Twitter, I naturally turned to my followers for suggestions. There was “Win-air,” “Air-apparent,” “Next prime minist-air” (might they be Liberal Tweeters?). Or the more negative “High-Brow Air,” “CzarForce One,” “Coalition Coach,” “UnnecessAir” (perhaps some Tory Tweeters?).

Considering this was what many were calling a gaffe-free day, we were expecting the flight to be pretty uneventful. The plane taxied along the runway as we chuckled at each other’s suggestions.

Tired and starved from a busy day with an early lunch, we took off on our first flight with the Liberal plane.

Not even 30 seconds into being airborne, suddenly we dropped I don’t know how many feet. My heart jumped into my throat. A loud gasp echoed through the cabin. Then relief.

No, we hadn’t crashed. Yes, we were all fine.

I peered out my window for an explanation. There! Bad weather. The light on the wing illuminated the rain pelting down on us (I didn’t remember it raining on the ground).

When we got over the shock, thoughts drifted back to the pressing issue – even more important than coming up with a name. Dinner!! The tantilizing smell of Montreal smoked meat filled our noses as flight attendants whipped past us to serve the front of the plane, as usual on any flight. In this case, where Michael Ignatieff and his team were sitting.

They weren’t even halfway down the plane, when the captain came on the loudspeaker and said, “25 minutes to Toronto.” Oh no! Will we get to eat?

What ensued was a frenzy of cutlery clanking at plates, hastily-poured drinks and forgotten condiments. I can’t remember the last time I saw flight attendants so stressed. They were working as hard as they could to clear the trays as the plane rapidly descended into Toronto. Kudos to them for getting it done.

After waiting so long for that meal, I barely had time to eat. As I wolfed down my smoked meat in a race against the clock, a fellow journalist leaned over the aisle and quipped “How about TemptAir?”

I’ve gotta tell you…I was tempted.

Campaign rule #1… Don’t let reporters get too hungry.

Shirlee is one of Global National’s correspondents based in Ottawa, but currently travelling the country covering Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s campaign. Follow her on Twitter: @ShirleeEngel.


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