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World Cup: That horrific noise you hear is not the aircraft's engine

June 29, 2010 |  4:13 pm

Flew Bernard Parker down from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Tuesday to catch Cristiano Ronaldo's disappearing act in the Spain-Portugal game at Green Point Stadium (please see a little later).

Anyway, it wasn't the actual Bernard Parker, the South African striker, but rather an aircraft named in his honor. South African Airways has christened its planes with the names of each of South Africa's World Cup players. The one I hopped on had the name "Parker" painted on its fuselage, along with his jersey number, 17, and the words "Go Bafana" below.

A nice touch, but a bit sad since the Bafana Bafana failed to make it out the first round.

In any event, the trip had another unique aspect, not one you would find on a flight to, say, Whitefish, Mont., or points east.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said the flight attendant during the takeoff ritual, "just a note to tell you that the blowing of the vuvuzelas is not permitted during the flight."

Has someone actually been doing that? Apparently so. Makes those crying babies a breeze to tolerate.

--Grahame L. Jones, in Cape Town, South Africa