(Alert: those who are terrified of flying, stop reading now - though be assured we landed safely.)
A question ... What do you do if you smell burning when you're sitting in an aeroplane at 38,000 feet over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?
Well, here's one answer ...
You first wait, frantically sniffing the air, trying to convince yourself you're imagining it. You're not.
Then you ask your husband, who's sitting behind you, to come and sniff the same air. Can he smell it? He can't.
But you still can. To reassure yourself that you're not having a stroke or something, you ask the man sitting next to you. He can. Most definitely. Split-second of relief that you're not going mad (or having that stroke) is quickly followed by more urgent and scary thoughts. Then you both sniff some more, decide it's definitely there and discuss what to do.
You go to the huddle of flight attendants and whisper very very quietly, "We can smell a burning/cordite smell where we are sitting."
Looks of horror with quite impressively urgent yet calm simultaneous action. They search in the toilets and find nothing. Eventually the smell dissipates. We decide that whatever it was must have been thrown down the toilet. I sit down again. Flight attendants go back into their huddle. The flight goes on.
What impressed me most were two things. The swift (swift) reaction of the flight attendants, and the complete and utter calm that came over me! (You'd have thought I'd have screamed. "I can smell burning. Oh my God. Stop the plane.")