I started writing this post with a pen and notebook (oooh, Old School style!) while waiting in Toronto airport with a defunct laptop for my flight home, armed with a pleasant glass of white wine and some pretzels. I was musing on the joys of plane travel, and pondering my pet hates about long-haul.
Little did I know then that my flight would be delayed for around 12 hours, due to a massive (and hugely impressive) storm in the area that cut local power and grounded all flights. The sight of immense lightning forks flashing across the sky was just incredible – there are a few pics here.
Unfortunately for me, a prime view of Nature’s Own Light Show entailed an uncomfortable night’s “sleep” on the terminal floor, plus lots of crying children and exhausted grownups. I finally got home late last night, feeling grotty and annoyed. But hey, I got a free cheeseburger!
Things I love about flying
- The idea of airline meals. Free food! Free wine! I was so thrilled the first time I flew on a plane as a grown-up and ordered a gin and tonic. I’m easily pleased.
- Following on from this, flying is also an excuse to drink at any time during the day. If you’re suspended in the atmosphere in a tin can, it has to be five o’clock somewhere.
- In-flight entertainment. Or at least, the idea of it. Seat-back telly! Choose-your-own film! Eight hundred and seventy three things you don’t want to watch or listen to for the next eight hours. But somehow, your neighbour always seems to be watching something more interesting.
- The World of Smell. I *heart* the Duty Free Shop. However, it’s actually cheaper to buy my fragrance of choice in Superdrug, so I just steal a few squirts of something I would never normally buy and spend the flight reeking like a cheap whore.
- People-watching. I am such a nosey-parker, and I love the opportunities provided by the microcosm of life within airports. Watching a man in a pin-stripe suit trying to force an angry cat back into its carrying cage, after said cage had been X-ray scanned, without getting his suit ripped to shreds, was particularly funny.
- Dinky travel things. Petite travel shampoo, toy-sized toothpaste, miniature soaps – I love them. Bloody annoying to use, but they look so cute.
Things I hate about flying
- Sleeping on a terminal floor. Sleepovers are fun when you’re seven years old. Not so much fun when in your thirties. Still, I was better off than the poor pregnant lady I sat next to on the flight who’d also had to bed down on the floor, as the airline had only managed to bag 25 hotel rooms to cater for the passengers from two full jumbo jets.
- The reality of airline meals. Whether you choose chicken or beef, it always smells faintly like reheated sick.
- Packing. Regardless of my dinky toiletries, I am rubbish at packing and end up just shoving everything in, in the style of a demented MC Escher, except with balls of yarn instead of salamanders. Annoyingly, my suitcase got soaked in the Toronto Tornado, and all my beautiful new wool got wet. The house now smells like a damp sheep.
- Security checks. You have to get everything scanned now. Even baby milk has to be officially tasted to prove it’s not a liquid explosive. But how do they know your shampoo isn’t a liquid explosive? Chuck it in the eyes of a handy nearby bunny?
- “Travel flu”. Just getting on a plane is guaranteed to make me feel snuffly and ill, thanks to the collective efforts of everyone’s shared germs, and my crappy sinuses. On the flight out to Canada, I fell asleep with a pillow round my neck and overheated – I woke up convinced I had swine flu and was set to infect the whole of Toronto.
- Destroying the environment. Yeah, this one’s pretty bad. I do carbon offsetting and recycle like mad. Surely that must count for something?