Flying Pink: Pre-gaming Sydney Mardi Gras at 30,000-feet
Photos in order: Courtesy of Air New Zealand (2); Lance Holman (6)
Story by Scott Goetz
Damn my indecision! Last-minute packing panic had left me with only 30 minutes to check in for Air New Zealand's all-gay Pink Flight from San Francisco to Sydney'sMardi Gras.
Last year's inaugural flight was such a success, it seems, in attracting the often-irreverent -- and always fabulously creative -- LGBT travel dollar that there may even be a third Pink Flight to look forwards to next year.
I pleaded at check in, explaining this unprecedented event and that Kathy Griffin would be filming on board. Relenting, they ran me through to the security checkpoint.
"Gay flight to Mardi Gras?" said Krystal and Crystal, my security girls, as they helped squeeze my coffin-sized suitcase into the x-ray machine.
"I don't see no liquids in here!" Never mind the 48-ounce bottle of lube or the small salon of hair products.
"Go gurl! You get on that plane!" It was surreal -- as though all the world was cheering for this historic moment.
The party at the gate was full on: Drag queens in flowing pink chiffon gowns, bartenders serving pink-colored vodka martinis, and a booming dance floor with flashing pink disco lights.
And at the gate she stood, flight number NZ 7465, her nose parked up to the window and a giant boa -- also pink -- around her neck.
Bare-chest competitions gave fodder for Kathy Griffin's comedy, but she made plenty of her own D-list hilarity, too, pretending to fellate sleeping passengers, running down the aisles in her bra, and delivering her outstanding wit over the loudspeaker which, for Ms. Griffin, is a delightfully unnecessary invention.
Who knew 14 hours in coach could be so much fun? Here we come, Mardi Gras!
Writer Scott Goetz with Kathy Griffin and Buckwheat and her drag crew.