Flying home from my dad’s funeral, was relieving as well as painful. I was leaving my grieving mother behind, but I was also looking forward to see my own family again. The only hurdle between me and my wife (and of course kids) was a 2 hour plane ride.
I really enjoy traveling, but sometimes time is just crawling by. Perhaps it’s because I arrive in the airport several hours before take off, but I can’t help it, I hate rushing through the airport. Being in time, and preferably several hours, is my ideal scenario. This in deep contrast to my wife, who thrives on adrenaline – the question lurking over us as to whether we’ll make the flight or not. If you’ve ever tried running across Schipol airport with two kids (under the age of 30 months), aging mother-in-law and wife, then you’ll know stress. You haven’t fully lived until you’ve done that.
Anyway, killing time in the airport is easy for me. I have a natural talent for wasting money on souvenirs, primarily for the family, and this becomes more and more with 3 kids. Also, as a tradition I always have to have a traditional Danish hot dog before leaving Denmark. It’s some weird superstition I’ve developed over the years, and the onions give you natural air while flying 13km above the surface, forcing you to think of something other than crash landing. Nothing beats a Danish hotdog (ristet hotdog med det hele).
Having spent almost 3 hours in CPH airport you tend to get somewhat bored, so it was a delight when my flight home started to board. It’s only a 2 hour flight, so not many air-miles. The amusing thing about these short jumps are that the waiting passengers are desperately trying to get on the plane, despite having a boarding-card and assigned seat. They huddle around the only check-in person and queuing becomes a thing of the past. The queue was more like a octopus with 8 arms, and people just squeezed in.
After a 10 minute waddle to check-in, I was dragging my 7 shopping bags through the narrow cabin, looking for my seat and an empty overhead locker. I managed to bump into all passengers, on both sides of the aisle, until I finally found my seat – I was sitting on row 15, so plenty of upset people starring at me from behind, probably thinking of ways to return the favour of dislocating their jaws. Thanks to self-service check-in, I was sitting alone and could spread my loot across 3 seats.
It is always amusing to see how people waddle down the aisle, stopping abruptly when they spot their seat and block the rest of the passengers from reaching their seat. There’s always one or two among the passenger who doesn’t understand that they are delaying the boarding of the flight, and possible take-off, by standing there and pressing their luggage into the already full overhead locker.
Having witnessed the remaining passengers find their seat, I unpacked and prepared for the 2 hour crossing. In front of me were three rather large blokes and as soon as we reached the cruising altitude, 2 of them moved their seats into lying position. Frantically, I was starring at the greasy hair top of the guy in front of me, praying that he wouldn’t recline too.
I have absolutely no idea why people need to recline their seats for a short flight. The old smelly fecker in front of me decided to join his mates, probably pretending they were lying on some sun-bed in Fuertaventura. Then they started to speak loudly and moving wildly in their seats, making my coffee squirt hot coffee on to my lap. Forced to withhold screaming, I instead dug my nails into the armrests. I looked to the row next to me, and the elderly lady looked at me as if I was a freak, probably thinking that I was gripping the seat that hard because I was scared of flying. She gently smiled and said that it’ll be ok. What did she know about my leg being melted by atomic in flight.
Back to the smelly ogre in front of me, with his Shrek ears. How do you approach this. Do you:
- Complain to the guys, praying they are not undercover Hells Angel members
- Tell on them to the steward
- Do you suffer the pain for 2 hours
I have long legs and need legroom, but either of the options were not really appealing. However, I opted for option 3.
I gently tapped the guy on the head, getting some strange oily stuff on my fingers, and kindly asked him to straighten his seat. He was not amused and stated he had to sleep, whereto I replied that I was working and sitting 2 inches from a 15” HD MAC screen was not pleasant or good for my eyes. There was absolutely no need to tell him that I was watching CSI – need to know basis.
The remaining 70 minutes of the journey I enjoyed with my seat back (reclined position), watching my favorite TV show, CSI, and getting free refill coffee from my male steward (sorry cabin crew dude). Who cares about being polite when traveling anyway?
Soon I would see my lovely family again, and being pressed against my wife’s lactating breasts was something to look forward to. All I had to endure was a 20 minute taxi ride, with an arrogant, complaining and gossip magnet of a taxi driver.
Your frequent flyer