Anyone who has ever sat in lingering misery on the runway, waiting for hours for a commercial airliner to take off, has made the perverse wish that one of the airline's executives were there sharing the grim experience. That happened Sunday night, and the passengers of a Presidential Airways jet benefited from the experience.
The Presidential flight from Portland, Maine, to Dulles International sat for three hours on the runway. Finally the passengers were permitted to wait in the terminal. Just before the flight was to leave for Washington, one of the passengers identified himself as Harold J. (Hap) Pareti, the embarrassed president of Presidential Airways. To soothe the seething rage of his 118 fellow passengers, Pareti offered each of them a free round-trip ticket to any city the airline serves. That went a long way toward calming passengers who eventually arrived at Dulles about 2 a.m. yesterday, six hours late. Attenborough's Biko Film
Sir Richard Attenborough, whose film "Gandhi" was a strong statement about racism in South Africa and India, is in Zimbabwe shooting a movie about South African apartheid. His new film "Asking for Trouble" is about the life and death of South African activist Steve Biko. Actor Denzel Washington, who appears on the NBC-TV series "St. Elsewhere," is portraying Biko, who died in police custody in 1977.
Attenborough, whose film also stars Kevin Kline as a South African editor and Penelope Wilton as his wife, said he hopes the film will generate international outrage against the government in South Africa because of its racial segregation policies. Attenborough will be filming in Zimbabwe through October and will complete the movie in London. Presents for a Future Princess
Royal Watch: Poor Sarah Ferguson. She hasn't received one toaster, frying pan, rolling pin or electrical appliance as a wedding gift. Not that she'd have much use for such items anyway. Burke's Peerage Publications, the aristocrat's bible, pointed out that Ferguson, who will marry Prince Andrew July 23, "is the first royal princess this century who has not received one electrical appliance."
Do not fret for Andrew and Sarah, however. They have received $350,000 worth of gifts so far, including six giant sofas, 12 large armchairs, 308 vases, 16 Persian carpets, 18 breakfast-serving sets, 600 dinner plates in eight different patterns, 38 silver-and-glass salt and pepper shakers and more than 1,000 crystal wine and water glasses. Just the usual array of gifts the average young married couple gets to start their household. Out and About
Hospital Report: Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali was recovering yesterday after undergoing surgery to install a permanent heart pacemaker. The 82-year-old artist suffered heart failure Sunday and was rushed to a Barcelona hospital some 43 miles from his home in Figueras. The operation was said to be "satisfactory and without complications" . . . Soul singer Teddy Pendergrass was released from the Osteopathic Medical Center in Philadelphia Sunday, 11 days after suffering a four-inch gash in his liver in a traffic accident. For a time, he was in critical condition. It was the second major automobile accident for the singer. He was paralyzed from the waist down in 1982 after his Rolls-Royce slammed into a tree in Philadelphia . . .