Friday, July 16, 2010


On Monday I flew trans-Atlantic with the kids to see my family, as we do every summer. When they were very young, this journey was a lesson in survival but this year they were old enough, I thought, that I didn't have to worry too much about behavior on the plane. And I was right. I should, however, have worried about everything else.

My husband drove us to the airport and helped get us checked in, which basically consisted of entertaining the kids while I was patient with the newbie at the check-in desk. I was so relieved to be done with him (check-in guy, not my husband) and seated all together that I didn't question our seating arrangements. Then, we were held up in security so long (because SOMEONE in our party was carrying a pair of craft scissors which won't even cut paper) that we just made the flight. So it was quite a relief to be on board at last.

Imagine my horror when I discovered that we had been put four across in a row that was flanked by the bathrooms. If I put my arm straight out to the side I could lay my hand flat on the bathroom door. Ditto my daughter. So, as well as the pongy smell of airplane toilet all night, we had the squeek/bright light!/squeek/CLICK/tinkle/FLUSH!!!/click/squeek for eight hours. Not to discount being bumped by people waiting for the toilet (nothing says 'STAY AWAKE!' like a handbag to the face). Needless to say, noone got any sleep.

Eventually, we made our destination only to be told that the gangway had broken and we had to wait half an hour for a set of stairs to arrive. I have to say that at this point the behaviour did begin to deteriorate. When we finally made it out, walking across the tarmac in the pouring rain - yes, the string of lovely, summer weather broke that morning - it was with the relief of a rescued claustrophobic. Clearing customs and immigration was thankfully quick and we walked limply through looking for the sunny face of my sister.

Sadly, her car had broken down.

Air travel used to be such an exciting adventure, we even got dressed up for the occasion. Now I look at it the same way as I view giving birth. You look forward to the end result, while you are doing it you vow to never do it again, and then with time you forget the pain and agree to do it again.

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