The madcap business of being a professional in PIA has yet another tale to add the tome. A flight delayed by two hours was because the pilot refused to fly without a plate of sandwiches being delivered from a local hotel. While many have suffered indigestion and other trauma from the inhouse catering on PIA, the pilot in question seems to have refused to do so. Even a call to the PIA head office in Karachi left the gentleman unmoved, as a result of which the flight remained stranded and passengers were left wondering what caused the delay.

Faulty engines, inefficient management, and now peckish pilots all seem to be adding to PIA’s woes. It seems impossible to imagine another airline which would tolerate such behaviour, at the risk of loss of reputation and revenue, all for the whims of a particularly sensitive palate. Not for this reason alone has PIA’s privatisation been suggested, in an effort to curb the kingly character of the staff into something resembling professional accountability and reliance. Where an organisation is of course meant to protect worker rights, it is equally important that employees of any business operate within the norms of expected behaviour. And inhouse catering on PIA may be a trial, but it is hardly cruelty on the pilot in question.

What disciplinary action has been taken — if any — will determine whether PIA flight schedules will again be held hostage to the hunger pangs of pilots in the future. One man’s foolish behaviour has placed a question mark on the impeccable performance of his colleagues, who have never before given the national press an opportunity to report on an embarrassment such as this. And further shame is that the head office in Karachi directed that the desired sandwiches be procured. What next? The pilot’s choice of passengers before the flight will take off? Come on, PIA. Be great people to fly with. Not ingrates.