Or my in-flight adventure.
My Room with a View: Living under the Shard. London, England. September 2014.
I enjoy flying, or I like the concept of it, and I’m usually a great flyer. I’m the passenger that others glare at because I’m that annoying person who gets on the plane and only seems to be awake for meals.
I’m not sure if it was nerves about moving or classes, homesickness, or the fear that either my suitcases or I wouldn’t make it to our final location (and if stories I’ve heard this week are true, worrying about getting through customs/border control wasn’t unwarranted.), but I could not sleep.
Honestly, I could have easily been the inability to recline the whole way (or at all for the first third of the flight) due to the long legged man behind me (I apologize for your leg space, but I didn’t make you that tall or economy that little!), or the fact that I was surrounded by a very friendly and talkative international dance-troupe who seemed to be stopping in London for two days on some kind of cruise tour.
I was in the four person center isle in an edge seat near the rear of the plane, and it was sitting here that I realized that this was the second long flight I’d ever taken without my family and the first without anyone I knew or who I knew would be around me for the foreseeable future. This meant there was no one to lean against or curl up with and I found myself suddenly missing the previous summer and my little sister very much.
My companions, however, did not share that problem.
The nice thing about international flights is that you get a goody-bag no matter what class you are booked in. this seemed to confuse my seat mates who excitedly examined each and every item, asking about each before investigating the purpose and exclaiming all over again (quite a spectacle and I had a good laugh over the discovery of our complimentary toothbrushes, though the debate over which eye mask was the coolest was a close second). In all, we got an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, earphones, and socks (I did miss having the ear plugs, no matter how uncomfortable the always are.)—not a bad haul for an economy ride.
And so I settled in for a rather quick ride (for a flight from LA to London) with the wind always at our back, helping us along.
And didn’t sleep.
Like I mentioned, the boys next to me were very nice. They were polite, offered to get me a drink whenever they went to refill their own, always tried to crawl over each other or leave together so I didn’t have to move, and apologized every time I did or was bumped at all. And all the while, I was entertained by their antics (it seemed they didn’t fly often, making me wonder how these European men got to LA in the first place) and they made me feel comfortable despite not being part of the group.
When it did come time to sleep, I have no qualms in stating that I was extremely jealous of the trio next to me. Their earlier antics and quick conversation showed that they were very close friends but the sleeping arrangement showed the extent. The middle boy was sprawled across the other two, head in my neighbors lap and legs curled up on the one furthest from me. The others then shifted so that the leaned into his mostly vacated seat—which they were able to fully recline (all three of them!)—and spread themselves out, all the while using the boy between them as a heater and an armrest. It made quiet the picture.
Meanwhile, I sat, partially reclined watching movies on my personal viewing screen, slowly drifting in and out but only really falling into anything like sleep for half an hour to 45 minutes. But, on the bright side, at least I am small enough to actually fit in to economy seats without my legs getting crushed, meaning that I get to sleep at all, right?
All in all, the flight was quick, the people were nice, and the food was good. The really isn’t much more you can ask for.
Oh, right, and no one got sick on landing! A major feat and fear that’s been instilled since childhood with memories of a sister who always got sick on descent.
So here is my advice on airplanes and nicer travels if your flight is more than a few hours long (none of which I actually took):
- Bring sleeping aids that you have used before (never use anything like this for the first time on a plane as you don’t know how you’ll react to it or how long it will knock you out—or if it works at all).
- Look ahead to see what is provided (eye mask, head phones, ect) so you can plan on filling the gaps.
- Grab a water bottle before you get on the plane or fill up your own (hydration helps you fight jet lap so while drinking too much on the plane will make you have to get up more—though it’s good to stretch your legs—it’ll help later, I promise!).
- And, when you are awake, stretch! (Airplane seats—economy usually—are torture devices, leaving you stiff and achy after too long in them. Why do you think it’s so hard to sleep? So whether it’s pointing your toes and flexing your heals in front of you, stretching your arms up to get your back in alignment or standing up to go to the toilets, just get moving.)
So, what are your trips and tricks to flying/ traveling easy or some horror stories of your own? I love to hear from you!
And I think that’s it. Next week I’ll talk about getting settled and making a new place feel a bit like home.
But for now, as I enter my second week, London’s calling.
I’m Leave on the Wind, Helping you soar.