The clock is ticking. Three more sleeps and we will be on a plane again, and I will be feeling cramped, restless, and irritable for the duration of the flight. In a word, miserable. Of course I’ll have plenty of company. It’s hard to be alone when you’re up close and personal with hundreds of people on a thin-skinned cylindrical aeronautical sausage thrusting through time and space at the forefront of technology.
But why miserable?
For a start, a lot of mechanical and electronic widgets need to work cooperatively and faultlessly throughout the flight to ensure a safe arrival. The odds for that are reasonably good, but it only takes one tiny little statistical aberration for things to get very interesting very quickly. You may rest assured that will be a recurring thought for me until the engines are finally turned off at the arrival terminal. The Airbus 330 or whatever it is will likely be more dependable than anything electromechanical I have purchased myself recently, but there is always a nagging doubt. (Being a Physics graduate – long time ago – sometimes has its drawbacks).
If that were not enough for this old worry wart, I will be spending around 24 hours with my legs cramped into a space they were not made to fit into, while my neck complains constantly about the shape molded head rest. Add to that the near certainty that there will be a small child sitting behind me entertaining itself by kicking the back of the seat in front. Oh, and how can I forget the claustrophobic experience brought on by a seat back being lowered into my personal space.
To cap it off I suspect that there is some sort of relativistic time dilation effect aboard intercontinental flights. Time definitely goes more slowly. Just not sure I can think up an experiment to prove it.
Can you see where I’m coming from?
Sue is more sensible than I am. She accepts the situation and doesn’t struggle against it. As soon as she is able to she finds a movie, dons headphones and tunes out. Wise and clever lady.
Business class? Yes, I was lucky enough once to score an upgrade to Business class from Frankfurt to Bangkok. Bliss. Heaven. This is the way I was meant to fly. It didn’t stop the background anxiety about catastrophic electromechanical failure but there was plenty of room to stretch out. The food was good, the service attentive, and there were no junior human beings around. The slight hitch is the extra $3000 or so the airline normally charges for it. A small amount to invest in arriving fresh and not cranky, I know. It’s just that every time I go to press the yes button on the Business class booking, a voice inside tells me we can’t afford it.
So, what is euphemistically called ‘economy’ class is the only option really. I know I can do it. I’m sure I can. It’s only 24 hours. I am a mature adult, after all.
Check-in and immigration procedures shouldn’t bring on any stressful feelings, should they? Security checks? No . . . should be a pleasant experience all round.
This time we are headed for Germany, Denmark and Poland. The plane flight is a necessary evil. Short term pain preceding medium term benefits. Definitely worth it. If only I can block out thoughts of the return flight.