My flight from Newark to Bombay, India was mostly uneventful. I was fortunate that United Airlines allows its frequent flyers a perk called “Global Upgrades.” In essence, if we book the ticket in the appropriate class, we can apply the upgrade, which means we can fly in Business Class. This particular flight is 15 hours, so moving up to the front cabin is wonderful.

The Ink Problem
After sleeping about 6 hours, I went to the lavatory to brush my teeth. Once back in my seat, I decided to watch a movie from the expanded list. In this case, I selected Argo, which was an interesting flick about the hostages in Iran.

The movie consumed about two hours, and before we knew it, we had only a few hours left of flight time. Earlier in the journey across the Atlantic Ocean, I received a customs form from the flight attendants. Now that the movie was over, it was time to complete it.

I usually carry several blue-ink pens in my roller bag. I found one of those pens in the top compartment of my bag, and started to work on the customs form. The form had the usual questions, such as passport information, reason for my travel, and the countries I had recently visited. In all, I completed the form in 5 minutes.

As I prepared to put the pen away, I noticed that several of my fingers were covered with blue ink. If the ink were red, some might argue that a crime took place. The ink was saturated on my skin, or so it seemed.

The Flight Attendants
Given we had a few hours left on the flight, I went to the lavatory to wash my hands. I tried soap, more soap, and even more soap. No luck! The ink was now part of my skin. It seemed like an impossible task.

As I walked back to my seat, I showed my hand to the flight attendant, and asked for solutions. She recommended alcohol. I thought she meant Rubbing Alcohol, but she actually meant the real thing: alcohol! There was no hesitation on my part. Let’s take the vodka straight! I washed my hands with the vodka, and it worked a bit, but the blue ink was too stubborn.

Another United flight attendant came to my rescue when she recommended a bug repellent spray she carried in her bag. I applied the bug stray, and wiped my hands together. Still, the blue ink would not go away. The problem was bigger than I originally thought.
Another United flight attendant noticed that I was in need, and she recommend hair spray. She said: “This will get rid of anything!” She sprayed my hands, and I rubbed them together. It worked, but the blue ink was still on my skin, especially my left thumb.

She said: “Wait! Let it soak in before rubbing your hands.”

That did the trick. I let the hairspray soak in for a bit, and then I started the rubbing process. After a couple applications, my left hand was nearly back to normal.

I think you know where I am going with this story. I was impressed! While the flight was uneventful, the service was not. The flight attendants showed they cared, and made an effort to resolve my ink problem. As a disclaimer, I fly United or its partners nearly anywhere I travel, and this story explains one reason I’m a loyal customer.