Flying. Nothing is quite so exhilarating, boring, efficient and exhausting. No matter where I fly I’m perpetually amazed by two things: how fast I got so far, and how tired I am after doing nothing but sitting around in cars, waiting lounges and airplane seats.
So here’s a question that was recently posed to me and inspired no small amount of discussion: What’s your ideal flight?
For me, it depends on whether I’m flying alone or with someone. Flying alone is one of the more cruel tricks of the universe. Not only do I have no one to watch my bags while I take my requisite pre-flight washroom trip, but as an extrovert who doesn’t like small talk, I find myself quite without company. I know. If only I could enjoy talking to strangers the world would be a limitless source of entertainment. Le sigh.
1. Window seat–hello view! And wind0w-glare cloud pictures. To my potential seat-mates: sorry about the climbing-over-for-washroom-breaks.
2. Seat-mates. I agree with my brother Mark, “A seatmate who is either really interesting (I’m talking like a space zoologist or something) or silent…They lose extra points if they try to share contact information. (Exception made for people who can hire you.)”
3. Books are a big stress. I usually bring my Bible, journal, and two fiction books. I usually also have one non-fiction because I have massive NF guilt.
4. I want all my music. I will likely listen to almost none of it. But I need it.
5. Layers! I like wearing leggings (+skirt), sandals and layered shirts. My sister sagely noted the importance of a high ponytail so it doesn’t interfere with the headrest. I also have a ‘borrowed’ blanket from British Airways that I bring every time. It’s small, warm and you never know when you won’t get one. Also, I’m a giant loser and have an inflatable travel pillow. It’s a dream.
6. Only funny movies. In the words of my brother Luke, “Meaningless movies. Planes are no place for serious movies.”
7. SNACKS! Gummy bears, M & M’s, pretzels. GUM. Tea, one milk no sugar. Water bottle.
8. Eye drops. I cannot handle dry eyes after 8 hours of flying.
9. *Bonus, if you have a layover: Touring a new city with friends I met on the plane or siblings I brought with.
Schedule: Chew gum until cruising altitude while looking out the window and contemplating death by plane crash. Read fiction for 15 min. Browse movies. Pee. Pick and watch a movie. Pee. Stretch in the aisle. Eat meal. Pee. Repeat 2-4 times based on flight length. 1.5 hours from destination get new gum, pack up everything and check map. Realizing we’re still one country away, I browse TV shows and watch re-runs. Envision crashing into the runway. Practice deep breathing. Open the shades (and promptly get blinded). Head to the bathroom to change shirt, brush teeth and apply makeup. Emerge feeling fabulous and super restless and very ready to chat.
Flying With Someone…
1. Talk to me!
2. Play games with me.
3. Can I sleep on your shoulder?
4. Let’s watch the same movie starting at the same time. (Varun and I have spent many hours making sure our movies are exactly synched. Nothing is as lame as laughing 2 seconds ahead of one another.)
5. Can you watch my stuff? Why are you sleeping? I can’t sleep.
Flying with me is a little like flying with a toddler. Except I will share my snacks.
So then there’s this guy, who decided to make better use of his blogging space and actually give you tips about air travel.
I totally agree with him–I love choosing out and reading novels that are related to my destination. For my trip to India I’ll be reading A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry), A Suitable Boy (Vikram Seth) and a biography of William Carey. But I have to say, I disagree about airplane food: food is half the fun. Few things are as satisfying as unwrapping a plastic spork and finding out what fancy dessert is hiding under that little foil lid.
So, here’s the question, what’s your ideal flight?