Flying is the great necessary evil if you want to go from A to B quickly. I’ve never really enjoyed flying like some people do but rather enjoyed bits of it, take off and landings, whilst wishing I could sleep through the many hours in between.
It’s noisy, it’s cramped and the seats are usually skimping on as much comfort as they possibly can with padding barely worthy of its name.
Then you get the person who will recline their seat so far into your lap that you could wash their hair for them as it hovers precariously over your groin. The reclining seat is the selfish persons dream and as someone who, out of a no doubt misguided sense of honour, refuses to recline their own, I do get a bit frustrated when my already cramped space shrinks even further due to the appearance of some silky locks or a suspiciously dandruff ridden scalp.
Emergency exit seats are the exception and have become my favourite seats on the plane, at least in the class I can afford, as there is nobody to threaten your crotch but rather you get valuable extra inches for your legs and the illusion of a proper space. And when you are 6’4” you appreciate that little bit of room.
But those seats are few and far between and even when you do get them, as with all seats, you cannot legislate for your neighbours who mummify themselves from head to foot in airline blankets for 10 hours and stare rigidly into space.
I like an aisle seat if I have to use one. At least I can dangle a leg in the gangway now and again, but my partner always wants a window seat and if it’s a 3-4-3 configuration, as many places are, I get the hated middle seat. The seat where there’s no room, where you have to ask someone to move their legs so you can go pee, the one where you feel hemmed in from both sides. I absolutely loathe it as it’s clearly been designed by a sadist who believes people stop growing at about 5’6” and don’t need so much room. Just…no.
Airline foods always a great talking point. Being offered a choice only to be told that, actually, there is no choice. The dry stringy meat, the slightly weird desserts that have been created for a captive audience- Rosewater and Chocolate Ginger Custard and Marmalade rice pudding are just two examples…that I’ve made up, but they illustrate the point.
And the drink that’s about a quarter of a can because heaven forbid they give you an actual whole can to drink by yourself. I mean, what?. The airs dry and you’re thirsty but nope, they have to eek out the only Pepsi on the plane which you must share with 279 others!.
Inflight entertainment can be hit and miss. When it works of course, as that’s not a given. Some airlines are great with decent size screens and a good choice of stuff but dear me, I recall the days of travel with only one film to watch and a screen set in the ceiling that was so far away you could barely make it out anyway.
Sleep is nigh on impossible, for me at least. There’s grunting, belching, farting, snoring, lights flicking on and off, toilets flushing, people with night terrors – who doesn’t love a bit of strangulated screaming as you try to doze- ‘No mammy, not the whip! Noooooo’ – which sets tongues wagging and questioning glances thrown towards the unconscious screamer.
But it is a necessary evil. Sure I’d love an instantaneous mode of travel to zap me from A to B in a microsecond but that’s not coming anytime soon, if ever and I won’t be around when it comes. So until then it will be seatbelt on, seat in the upright position, tray stored and then whoosh, we have take off.
And I cannot wait.