Friday, 27 April 2012

Come fly with me

I do love the views...
As I prepare to board the big orange bus of the skies later today (brace yourself Amsterdam) I’m reminded of the fellow fliers I’ve known and loved / held in contempt / been utterly disgusted by. I’ve done a fair few air miles (my carbon footprint could probably stomp out a small country) so I’ve had the dubious pleasure of sharing an airplane with all manner of specimen.
But it doesn’t take a frequent flier to predict that a budget airline flight to Amsterdam on a Friday night will be approximately 68% full of drunken lairy stag/hen types. What I enjoy, though, is seeing the same groups on the return flight – a green, shaky, shell of their former selves. Because I am so very sensible when it comes to booze you see…*ahem*
Speaking of drink, I do love the opportunity a flight gives you to be a bad influence on complete strangers. There have been several occasions when my elbow rest buddy has declined a drink with a smug holier-than-thou my-body’s-a-temple expression, which is quickly wiped off their face when the refreshing grapey beverage I’ve ordered is passed under their nose. Before you can say ‘cirrhosis’ they’re all ‘actually could I have a wine too…’
Predictably, children can be a bloomin’ nightmare – the worst being when they hunt in packs. Beware the school trip on a plane! Excitement and massive bags of haribo are an explosive combination, and particularly annoying when you’re trying to catch up zzzs on the stupid o’clock flight.
One of the minor 'joys' of low-end airlines (have to eek it out where I can…) is choosing my own seat. Honing my observation skills has helped avoid all manner of seating disasters. I have, on occasion, felt sorry for ladies with babies for this reason though, as passenger after passenger swerves to avoid their row when the mini person is spotted, making them feel like such a pariah that they give you a pre-emptory apologetic look if you’re the one stuck with the infant-adjacent seat. These can actually be fun if you’re lucky enough to get the cute smiley variety, but sadly there are no guarantees they won’t be (or turn into) the screechy tantrum types.
Screaming babies have nothing, however, on the guy who spent an entire flight to Bristol making a guttural burp/hacking sound so loud I could hear it over the engines from two rows back <retch>. It took me a while to figure where the noise was coming from (and, indeed, what it was) but then I noticed the poor misfortune sitting in the same row as him hanging out into the aisle to get as far away from him as possible. Ewwww.
And so I say a little prayer to Stelios, the god of cheap air travel, that I avoid a pissed / loud / smelly neighbour on this upcoming flight. In return, I shall make a small offering at his altar in the form of in-flight bar profits.

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