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The Ideal Flight

Posted by on October 8, 2014

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.

Flying Alone:

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.

lcr and amr

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? 

3 Responses to The Ideal Flight

  1. Brent H

    love the blog Amelia! also, I miss you and Varun. Ideal flight for me has to be having discussions on something like politics, business, the news or Christianity (evangelism). I tend not to lead into these conversations but rather plant seeds of interest in the convo with the hopes the other person has an interest and than we go from there. I almost always have an agenda when sitting next to someone to have a conversation about one of these 4 things at some point. I tend to be the seat mate that jokes around at first but goes into deep stuff soon after. Someone who I can engage with in that sense is ideal.

    I also love a seat mate that is good at telling stories. The art of story telling is maritime must and so I usually have 6 or 7 funny stories that I tell to people who are willing to be a bit more chatty. My normal flight time is 3-4 hours (flying from the Maritime’s or more recently out west). Long flights are filled with reading biographies of church leaders, revivals, or theologians. My journal is never far away and I almost always journal. I will always listen to my music when I try and go nappy nap. I’m overly large so this is a feat in and of itself. My favorite part of flying is coming into the plane and everyone looking at me with wide eyes and secretly hoping I don’t sit beside them :p

  2. yweima

    Generally anything on Air France with cognac after dinner. Or getting bumped off a flight and getting a cheque from the airline when it’s really no inconvenience at all. Once on Ethiopian I had the 4 middle seats all to myself for an overnight flight and it the only time I’ve ever slept for more than 6 hours on a plane. Bad timing means I usually have a cold when I take a flight, making me the hated coughing person, so I try to pack lots of hand sanitizer, tissues, and cough drops and to be very apologetic to whoever is next to me. (On one domestic US flight last year I opted for scaring my seatmate by alluding vaguely to tropical diseases but that’s probably a bit too topical now…)

    • Amelia

      Having the middle and sleeping all night sounds like a dream 🙂 And yes, I hear you on being the coughing person. That’s always rough…

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!