No one likes airplane travel. Period. That’s why those shops at the airport make a fortune. They are not selling trashy magazines and gum… They are selling HOPE.
In the desperate moments before boarding, I run into those shops seeking anything that might make the upcoming experience incrementally less horrible. And I decide – for unfathomable reasons – that a giant bag of nuts and raisins might do the trick. Or a puzzle magazine filled with unsolvable logic problems. Or a squishy, C-shaped sleep pillow (presumably designed for people who are soothed by the feeling of something constricting around their throat).
It doesn’t help that I am completely stoned by the time I venture into the shop, having already consumed two Gravol and at least one glass of wine. FYI… I am NOT getting on a plane without at least one glass of wine in me. Yes. I have ordered scrambled eggs with toast and a large pinot grigio in the airport restaurant. Don’t judge me!
Foggy-headed and armed with a plastic bag full of trail mix and trashy reading and way-too-strong peppermint gum, I will eventually find my way onto the plane. Once on board, a quick look around generally confirms that the passenger list includes all the standard stock-characters:
Middle-aged white guy whose carry-on bag is too big for the overhead compartment. He will keep trying to make it fit, while shoving his belly fat into the face of some poor soul with an aisle seat, until a flight attendant eventually wrestles it from him.
Hipster who smells like Patchouli oil. He will inevitably remove his footwear at some point during the flight.
VERY large gentleman. He always has an aisle or a middle seat. And he pushes it way back the moment the seat belt sign goes off.
Woman with crying baby. She feels too self-conscious to breast feed on the plane and doesn’t believe in soothers. We know this because she over-shares with everyone who looks in her direction. And we ALL look in her direction, hoping she will buy a clue and pop anything resembling a nipple into the poor little sot’s mouth.
The loud talker. This person never falls asleep. Never reads a book. And takes the volume UP when their seatmate puts on earphones.
The nervous flyer. There are usually at least two or three of these folks on the flight. They make meowing sounds every time the plane hits a bump, which eventually spooks the people beside them, creating more meow-ers. And I have zero sympathy because they are the same people who say “no” when offered liquor. Seriously?!?
The temperature in the cabin will vacillate between July-in-the-Caribbean hot and Christmas-in-Antarctica cold. There is a 50% chance that the television on the seat in front of me will be broken. My bag of trail mix will turn out to be predominantly raisins. And the pen I need to do my unsolvable logic problems will roll under my seat and be lost forever.
Despite all of this, the steward will give me the Evil-Eye when I request two mini-bottles of wine at a time. Note: I will return the Evil-Eye with a Middle-Aged-Woman-On-The-Edge glare. There will be no further judgements. The wine will pour freely.
By the time the plane touches down, I am always de-hydrated and dishevelled. My hair is flat on the sides and poufy in the back. And I smell a bit moldy. FYI: The combined scents of red wine plus mixed nuts plus the odd orange-red sauce on the microwaved pasta produces an odor usually found only in unfinished basements.
That said, there is a positive to arriving somewhere by plane. Whether I am landing in an exotic locale or a standard business destination, I am THRILLED to be there. Just being off the plane fills me with a giddy joy. The giddiness may be Gravol and wine enhanced but still…
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Loved this. May I add two more to the usual cast of characters:
The huge man who passes out the second he gets on the plane and wakes up just as the plane is landing. The woman holding the Bible on her lap, but never opens it. And with every bit of turbulence, mutters, “Oh Good Golly!” Yes, I sat next to her on a harrowing cross country flight years ago.
Wow! Bible chick would have killed me. I could not have kept a straight face beside her. Ever.
I have a friend who says that the journey is the best part of the holiday. A) the woman is certifiable and B) is she holidaying in Basra?!
The only time I have enjoyed flying was recently when I was relaxing under my duvet on my fully flat bed flicking through what movie to watch when a chavvy couple (I guess the American would be trailer trash?!) from economy came forward to complain that they’d been given middle seats and would NOT be flying in them and demanded to be moved. It felt very sweet indeed to be maxxing and relaxing with a handsome steward bringing me glass after glass of champagne (I swear he winked every time as he was as keen to annoy them as I was). It went through the full gamut of arguing until almost an hour later the Captain came into the cabin and ordered them off the flight! I am NEVER normally that lucky. Usually I’m in economy sat next to the germ breeder who will give me plane flu. Gross!
I have not had to make a flight longer than two hours for many years but next year I’m going to be forced to take an 8 hour flight and while it didn’t worry me 30 years ago I can imagine how stiff and sore I’m going to be by the time we get off the plane. I am stiff after sitting on the bus for an hour these days. For me the only saving grace of flying is if I can have a window seat. Yes I know that most of the time you can either see nothing or the wing of the plane which I don’t like looking at but I enjoy those short glimpes of the place I am leaving or arriving at during take off and landing. I loathe being in the middle seat most of all. I never know what to do with my arms.
See… I hate the window. Feels like a coffin with a view. I need the aisle baby! Where the steward will repeatedly sigh about my feet in the aisle.
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Well at least we know we’d be able to fly together no arguements over seats. 🙂
What about the toddler who ALWAYS sits behind me and kicks/pulls the back of my chair for the ENTIRE. JOURNEY. Squashing my face between the seats, to glare at the parent, spimply has the effect of making me look like a deranged Jack Nicholson in The Shining!! Great post 😂
Oh, I had THAT kid behind me on the 8 hour flight from Germany to Canada last week. AND the big guy who pushes his chair back in front of me. Good times!
Haha! Loved this post … I fall under the ‘nervous flyer’ category. But no meowing sounds from me on the last flight as I kept myself distracted by blogging about why i hate flying! 🙂
an excellent strategy. But I am usually too heavily medicated for creative thought!
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