Skip to content

Worst Plane Ride Ever

1 November 2008

It started out so well.

I arrive at the airport with a little less than two hours before my flight. I hate waiting around the airport, so that’s really all the time I want to take. M. came with me to the airport, so that part was hard, the saying goodbye, but I have somehow deluded myself into believing that I’ll be back in two years, so it’s not goodbye – it’s just see you later. So, not so hard. Again, it was going so well.

I go into the airport and stand at the end of a kind of long queue for check-in. One of the British Airways people pulls me out of the line and takes me to the “Club World” desk to check in because I am “traveling alone.” Or because I’m white. Whatever. Since BA wouldn’t let me check in online, I’ll take it. I step up to the desk, hand over my passport, and ask for an aisle seat. The lady at the desk smiles, weighs my bags, hands over my ticket and wishes me a good flight. I breeze through immigration and security and settle down near the gate with my last real Indian samosa with an hour left.

Forty-five minutes later, the flight attendant announces our flight, and people jump up to stand in queue. I smile to myself and continue to sit comfortably. After all, people, we’re in India – your little queue means nothing. When the attendant announces boarding for rows 27-40, I stand up and seamlessly jump the queue with a family of five. India has not been good for me in some ways. But I so won right there.

I wander down the aisle looking for my row, and, as I walk, it begins to dawn on me that seat E is not on the aisle. It is in fact the middle of all middle seats. But the woman at the desk … I asked for an aisle seat … she heard me right?

Then, as I arrive at row 33 and stare at that little diagram printed below the overhead bins that refuses to show anything but E as a middle seat, I suddenly remember that smile the lady at the desk gave me at check-in. Right at that moment, it isn’t a smile in my memory, more of a smirk, a tad more menacing and patronizing. Like she was thinking, “You show up here less than two hours before your flight and expect me to give you an aisle seat? Do not make me laugh. In fact, I’m laughing inside right now. Can’t you see from this smirky little smile?” She knew what she was doing. I am so writing to BA about her. Which of course I won’t do. I’ll think mean thoughts about her instead.

I look down at the two men seated comfortably in seats D and F. They seem okay, one was reading and the other had headphones on, so not talkers, thank goodness. And look how readily Seat D got up for me. I begin my self-encouraging inner monologue.

This is going to be okay. I can handle this.

We take off and, thirty minutes later, receive breakfast. The entertainment starts, and I watch Hancock. (I know the reviews were bad, but I really liked it. Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Jason Bateman – I just don’t understand how you couldn’t like it. Plus it was about a complicated superhero – the best kind in my book.)

The movie ends, signaling the usual time for my first jaunt around the plane. I stretch and turn to Seat D, who is dead asleep. Unperturbed, I turn to Seat F. So dead asleep, there is drool. Ew. And then the seat in front of me nearly hits me in the lap, and I’m staring at the top of 32E’s oily head. Ew ew.

The inner monologue begins again. That inner voice so cheery that, if it weren’t my own, I would probably kick it in the shins at this moment.

It’s okay. I don’t need to get up too badly yet. I’ll just sleep a little. No need to panic. Sure, I like to get up every hour or so to keep my ankles from swelling too much, but it’s all right. I’ll just do those little seat exercises.

So, flipping to the back of the in-flight magazine for guidance, I bunch my shoulders to my ears, swish my ankles around, twist my back a bit, and settle in for a sleep, willing myself to ignore the rising sense of panic beginning around my bladder.

Twenty minutes later, I’m awake again. Did not work so well. D and F are still sleeping peacefully; 32E has now started snoring. My inner voice seems to have started grasping the reality of this situation.

I’m just going to have to get over my guilty feelings and wake one of them up. After all, they chose the aisle seats. If they didn’t want to be disturbed, they could have requested a middle middle seat or a window. So really, this is their fault. Now that that’s settled, which one to wake up? Hmmm… I’m going to go with D. Less chance of him flinging drool at me if I startle him.

I turn to D and clear my throat. No movement. I clear my throat a little louder and add an “Um, sir, excuse me, sir.” Still no movement. Then I poke him in the arm. Nothing. NOTHING.

My inner voice is really starting to freak out now.

I’m going to need an escape route. These armrests, they seem pretty sturdy. I bet I could climb onto my seat and then balance over D on the armrests and climb down on the other side into the aisle. Easy peasy. No, wait, wait, there is no way to get down on the other side without jumping and quite possibly landing on top of that baby and mother on the other side of the aisle OR grabbing onto the back of someone’s seat and I HATE when other people grab onto the back of my seat. Plus then D would probably wake up and find me hovering over him, and that just might make things a bit weird between us. So that’s not going to work.

Realizing that a foray into plane seat climbing is not going to happen, I try to distract myself with the map. After all, who doesn’t love the map? The map is great, what with it’s Indiana-Jones-travel-sequence dotted lines and all. But the map is not helping. The map shows we’re somewhere over Tbilisi, which just isn’t far enough.

The inner voice turns sinister.

It’s time to play dirty. I’m just going to stare at D and begin to make water-like noises; then he will have to pee and will get up himself.

“Plink, plink, plinkity, plink. Woosh wooshy. Psh-psh-psh.”

What am I doing? Those are not remotely like water noises. Okay, I’m going to stare at that baby with my scary-white-lady face and creepy eyes and make it start crying. Then everyone will wake up. It’s brilliant, yes, it is. Evil but brilliant.

The baby starts whining. I look at D.


As I flop back into my seat, feeling utterly frustrated and defeated, I suddenly realize that there is no one seated on my right. F has left his seat and wandered off, and what with all my drama and scheming and inner monologue of crazy, I didn’t even notice and instead scared a small child, woke up half the plane, and missed the beginning of Baby Mama.


Hee hee… ha… um… I’ll just be going now. Quickly.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Unity permalink
    2 November 2008 6:21 pm

    Christine–you crack me up! Sorry about the bad plane ride–that would be awful. Hope you are getting some rest & enjoying some cooler weather. See you soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: