There's a lot of flying involved with this job and over the years, in the background, a devious game is being played. It takes place in departure lounges all over the world. The players involved can be seen positioning themselves for any advantage they can get. Its like watching a chess game.
The game: Who's first onto the plane.
The players: LSO Leader Carmine Lauri and LSO Fourth Horn Jonathan Lipton.
The Rules: Anything goes. Limited only by ingenuity.
When did it begin? I wanted to interview them separately.
"Carmine, as a leader of the LSO, I notice that you're often last onto stage. How does this feel being last given your passion to be first on to an aeroplane?"
Carmine. "Strange, but at least on the platform I know that there's a seat reserved."
"How long has this been going on?"
"Maybe over 15 years."
It started with Warwick Hill and Mike Humphrey. They worked as a pair. Cunning. One on each side of the shuttle bus so that one could be first up the steps onto the plane and save seats; usually by the emergency exit for the extra leg room.
The problem was with charter flights. The free seating. First come first served.
Our 10 hour flight today is from London Heathrow to Seoul in Korea. I'm talking with Carmine who sitting across the aisle in row 32. Nobody has seen Jonathan. Perhaps he's booked himself on another flight.
No he's been spotted up the front in seat 1D. Business class!
One nil to Jonathan?
Carmine "He's fritted away his airmiles!!"
Four more flights on this tour. Game on..