It all started with the bottle of champagne, followed by a whisky chaser. At 8.30am. Sipped through a pink veil.
We’re talking hen do carnage here – at 20,000ft.
Raucous cackling, willy-shaped lollies, and attempts to pinch the air steward’s bum.
Every passengers’ nightmare. Including ours - the other hen do party on this particular plane.
As our hen debated whether to share a Twix with her sister, I sat cross-legged reading the in-flight magazine, munching on a home-made ham sandwich I’d packed for the journey.
All ten of us were enjoying a similarly sedate flight. A gaggle of gorgeous women, to be sure. But did we need to prove to the world that we were having fun by getting hammered before breakfast?
We were up for a bit of culture during our weekend in Budapest. Heck, we’d even got a museum visit scheduled.
We were off to see a theatre performance celebrating local folklore culture for goodness sake. With dirndls and everything.
We’d got some cool bars and a swanky meal on our schedule too. But we weren’t going out on the town in our nightwear.
Unlike the other hens.
Even before they commandeered the tannoy to demand a shout-out from the pilot, we got to hear plenty about their evening plans, which consisted of donning fleecy onesies and hitting the ‘ruin bars’ of Pest.
That night, as we sipped champagne at a sensibly-determined hour and indulged in a few hen do games, we pictured how the other hens would be faring by this point.
Never mind ruin bars, we speculated. More like ruined night.
Lost phones. Stolen handbags. Unwelcome male attention. Street fights involving hair-pulling.
Anything could have happened to that lost Tribe of the Onesies after their full day’s drinking. We were worried for their welfare.
Whatever else we hoped for from our hen do weekend – whatever adventures we had, however blissed out we got in the city’s amazing spas, whatever fascinating stuff we discovered about Budapest’s history, and however many delectable portions of sour cherry strudel we scoffed – we all agreed that the lack of any thefts, scraps or sexual assaults would be a good bottom-line benchmark for success.
And, by the Sunday night, it looked like we’d achieved our goal.
We’d all had an amazing time. We’d walked miles, seen loads and eaten our body weight in strudel...without a single unpleasant incident to mar the experience.
As we reached the airport for our flight home, there might have been a smidgen of smugness in the air as we anticipated bumping into the ‘other’ hens again.
Then things started to unravel.
First our taxi driver erupted in a fizz of rage when we paid him the fare we’d negotiated, insisting we owed him more.
When we tried to argue the toss he manhandled us off to a security desk, his face purple with fury as he shouted: ‘I’ll have you all arrested!’
Sadly, it was at this point we bumped into the other hens.
The Onesie Tribe were also present when, altercation resolved, we finally passed through airport security – and I was pulled over for a thorough frisking after my sequinned jumper sent the metal detector into overdrive.
They don’t do things by halves in Hungary.
I’m sure I spotted a smirk or two from the other hens as my body was subjected publicly to a strangely thorough search. Surely the guard didn’t need to check the underwires of my bra with THAT much scrutiny?
So, we’d fallen at the final hurdle. Fights and molestation had encroached on our weekend.
‘But at least there weren’t any thefts,’ one of our gang cheerfully piped up. Except....
I have a confession to make. As I unpacked my bag that night, a telltale ‘tick-tock’ emanated from within – and I suddenly recalled the moment my room-mate had asked me to muffle the hotel alarm clock in the middle of the night.
A suitcase is a great muffler for ticking. It’s also a great vessel for accidentally stealing clocks. No onesies. No booze at breakfast. But in the end even classy hen dos manage to involve their fair share of hen don’ts.