Bound for Australia, but –

To make room for me on the flight from Port Moresby to Brisbane, they converted two first class seats into three narrower, coach class seats.

The woman, who had already occupied the seats with her son, was enraged. “What are they doing? I booked these first-class seats months ago! I want to talk to somebody in charge! ”

Her protests fell on deaf ears. The woman and her son, who had first-class tickets, had to sit with me in the narrower seats.

She turned her wrath on me. “Are you a first-class passenger?” she shouted.

I knew full well that I had a coach ticket. Do you think I’d tell her that?

“I have no idea, lady, my company books my travel for me.”

That quieted her down.

I had to sit next to an irate female passenger for the next three hours, but against all odds I was on my way to Australia!

Moreover, when the meals came, they served me as a first-class passenger. That was OK, too.

In Brisbane I went through customs and immigration..The customs officers tore into my tourist items, cutting into the decorations on the bow and arrows, and confiscating the bamboo musical pipes for fumigation. They even broke open a vitamin capsule I had left over from the trip and tasted it to make sure it wasn’t a narcotic. Finally satisfied, they let me reboard the plane.

But the road wars weren’t over yet. To get to Melbourne I had to change planes in Sydney.

Normally, that should be easy, but I wasn’t about to take any chances. I’d been through too much that day.

The minute I got into Sydney airport I went straight to the desk and got a seat to Melbourne.

When they called for boarding I was the first out on the tarmac, the first into the plane.

After the plane was fully loaded, I heard a commotion back by the aircraft door.

By this time I was paranoid.

Sure enough, the flight attendant came straight to my seat, smiling sweetly. “May I see your ticket, sir?”

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