Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why I actually love flying, especially on long-haul flights.


Is this the first time you've ever heard that someone actually loves flying? That someone seriously enjoys being cramped up in a flinging metal tube? With artificial oxygen, sub-standard food and people constantly squeezing past your legs to go to the toilet? Or if you have the sheer luxury of a window seat and you gotta go to the toilet yourself, you need to excuse yourself past in the tiny gap between the passenger's legs on the seats in front.

I'm referring to economy class, yep you heard it! Few people have the luxury of spreading their wings in first class as another pair of wings carry them across the sky, while they delve in the pleasure of kicking back in a bed more comfortable than at home, stuffing their faces with caviar & lobster sushi and having their trusty flight attendant make their bed for them. NB: If you choose first class, that's cool, I don't mean to say that that stereotype applies automatically if you do have the luxury of getting to fly first class.

Anyway, first class won't happen to most of us. We want to see the whole world, without breaking the bank, which comes at a price; putting up with shanty economy. Face it, you need to see that exotic location, and get there as cheaply as possible.

But, as uncomfortable as economy is, especially on a long haul, it can be really really fun.

Why do I think that?

That's a good question.

It's something I was born with.

Like, even as a little child, I loved hopping on planes. On big jet planes. Walking through the tunnel and into the door where the chappy flight attendant checks your ticket. Even when I was 5 on a family vacation to Europe, I still remember floating mid air in a lounge room.

Yep, you heard it, a lounge room.

Not first class.

Simply economy, and for a five year old, seats seem a lot bigger and more luxurious from day to day preschool life.

But wait! I know 99.99% of you are not five anymore, but that don't mean you can't relate or enjoy flying!

I have flown from time to time growing up, both on short trips to New Zealand and other parts of Australia, and on really, really long flights to Europe and Japan.

And you know which flights I loved the most?

Not the short, quick and painless ones, but the super long legs!

Here's a little story.

So it's December 2005, and 9 year old Viv is off on an overseas vacay with her family. First, they fly from Coffs, our hometown on North Coast NSW, to Sydney. Just a couple hours, little plane and some snacks. No frills. Just a short flight to direct us to the epic international airport.

Yes, you heard it, epic. Other people hate airports, but 9 year old Viv was a happy child getting to chill out in a massive, busting airport in Sydney, knowing that this was a sign that she was about to go some place epically exotic. Away, away to the other side of the world, the Feeney's go! Off to great places! Off, off and away! - Dr Seuss.

It was happening; she was going to fly on a jumbo jet! Not the humble little domestic flight, but a proper jet a million miles to Japan. To Planet Tokyo, the Feeneys go!

Time to board! Now this was when the fun really started. The Feeney family hopped on the mammoth, double storied plane. Before long, they were in the aisle of the 10 seat wide interior and Viv commented, 'feels like we are floating on water'. Papa agreed. The floor was rocky but it was nothing dodgy; was a safe flight!

But I jumped ahead.

Let's mention the airplane seats.

Airplane seats? What's so fascinating about that? I hear you say.
Well, I tell you; there were cushions, neatly folded blankets waiting soundly in plastic, complimentary headphones for the TV screens on the backs of seats and...

A slate for the kids!

The flight lingered on but I think little Viv was okay. I think she had a lot of in flight entertainment to keep her totally happy all the way, and stoked to be off to Japan.

Another story: Flying from Sydney to Zurich as a near-17 year old. Flying solo for the first time ever. After my sister Lydia, who lives in Sydney, led me to the gate at Sydney airport, with a cheeky little biscuit break when I got a bit hangry, it was finally time to fly away.

Hopping on the plane was like nothing else. Yes, I was leaving my family, but you couldn't put a price on this experience. On the plane to Singapore, first leg.

It might have been the biggest plane in the world, the Airbus A380, or it could have been the next plane.

But whatever sort of plane that was, it was, again, a massive jumbo jet with a 10 seat wide interior and TV screens on the backs of the seats.

Paradise.

Half the fun of traveling is flying.

Half the fun of flying is hitting the international airport, pacing to your gate, your gate number being called and lining  up to board, walking through the tunnel and into metal tube paradise.

The best music in the world, right there in the banging entertainment system,

Meeting the passengers next to you.

On the Sydney to Singapore flight I was seated next to a couple of other, I suppose, teenage girls. I don't remember if they were sisters. I had the aisle seat. The one closest to me was off to see her family in Italy, and I was off to stay with my mother's parents in Alsace, France.

Songs I discovered or re-listened to:
What is love, Haddaway
Spectrum (remix), Florence
Diamonds, Rihanna

While the entertainment system was packed with music that I loved, there was no movie that interested me. Well there was Up, a classic, but I didn't bother watching it. In fact, the only part I watched was the Disney intro with the fairytale castle and villages, railway going and fireworks going off.

The happiest intro on earth.

I dare you to play an older Disney movie just for the intro.

You're welcome.

For 11 hours straight I had the time of my life pumping the best songs on the planet.

When changing flights I had to rush through the modern Singapore airport to get to the next gate quickly.

I was onto the the next flying adventure.

From Singapore to Zurich!

On this flight I snuck a cheeky little chocolate bar & watched Ginger and Rosa, a movie that wasn't that great.

I definitely did more sleeping on this flight. I think that this one was the A380 if you're interested.

So, that is technically three epic, long-haul flights that I enjoyed thoroughly.

And I haven't listed all of the long haul flights that I have been privileged to have flown on growing up.

And I can't wait to do it all again so when I (willing) go off to the big EU with Lydia.

I love flying, especially on long haul flights, because the entertainment is killer but most of all, because the of the sheer thrill of flying to a far-flung location.





Oh and I love flying on long flights because you have the whole flight to treat the plane like a lazy lounge room and chill out for 12 hours straight.

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