On Long-Haul Flights


In the lead up to my trip overseas, I’ve occasionally imagined my future self sipping coffee in some ‘chic’ Parisian outfit. Standing between this sophisticated version of myself and my current track-pants, coffee-stained shirt ensemble, is twenty-eight hours of travel. 

I’m pretty shit at goodbyes, and between four and six in the morning, I alternate between screaming “I’M GOING TO EUROPE!” out of the car, to trying not to weep like a banshee in front of my terminal. Before my flight, I eat a ham and cheese toastie. I make a smiley face on my plate with honey. I conjure up stories about people around me to amuse myself. I read a trashy novel and start a staring contest with an elderly gentleman.  

Long-term flights have provided the following insights: 

1.)    Despite the endless variation, the novelty of inflight entertainment wears off.  
After trying to get into something more serious, I decide that fact that I am probably going to stick with the Disney classics. As this is the section specifically designed for ‘kids’, the person next to me shoots judging glares through mouthfuls of nuts. They are probably watching something with Academy Awards and Nicole Kidman, but I am remaining strong and avoid conversation/eye contact. 

2.)    There is genuine excitement that someone has been bringing my food. 
Usually, I am the victim of the ol’ last-minute supermarket, a sort of shop-as-I-go policy due to my lack of pantry (and organization) to store bulk-buys. It is glorious that approximately every three hours someone has been bringing me food/snacks. I ignore the caliber of scrambled eggs and relish the fact that there are no dishes to bitch about to my housemate.  

3.)    I have a newfound sympathy for parents.
Parents are walking up and down the aisles, and by now I am delusional enough from lack of sleep to think that they are carrying sacks of potatoes instead of miniature humans. They alternate between coaxing them to sleep, feeding them, or calming them down. Meanwhile, in seat 26G I’m having enough trouble deciding whether I can sneak my bread roll into my handbag for later, or whether it’ll be quarantined upon my arrival to Abu Dhabi. Kudos, to those brave and tolerant enough to travel with youngins while I struggle to unwrap my Timeout. 

4.)    Making friends on flights is bittersweet and heartbreaking. 
Upon our commentary about the inebriated Irish-man nearby, I made friends with a girl in transit, and we bought airport muffins and shared our questionable life decisions. Though we exchanged emails, it is unlikely that I’ll ever see her again, like some dramatic black and white French movie.  

There is nothing like an entire day of nothingness to evaluate your pending travels. However, after twenty-eight hours of dishes-free eating and getting up when that window-seat person constantly needs to pee, I am ready to stroll out of customs.  

With my snacks stowed away, of course.