the joy of travel
As I stood in the queue to check in to my flight to Frankfurt yesterday, I realised that with my airpoints card I had actually earned the right to queue with the business class flyers. I asked for a window seat, as far to the front of the plane as possible (I hear the air’s a bit cleaner up there). She asked if an exit seat would be acceptable, and of course I said it would, because I know that those seats are all about the leg room. She gave me my boarding passes, which were made out to the wrong name. I had explained to the travel agent that both of my passports, my ID card, and all my airpoints cards were now in my new, married name; he told me that he’d made sure that the change was registered for my e-ticket. Clearly, it wasn’t. The woman at the counter told me that there was no record of my new name in their system, and that the boarding cards would be fine with the old name.
My first stop after passport control was the duty free electronics store to decide whether there was any point in buying a microwave. There wasn’t. Onward to the perennial highlight – the lounge! Some dude was trying to get in with his wife and his generally unpleasant manner turned into a full-blown tantrum when it was suggested that he wasn’t allowed to bring a guest. Of course, the strongest survive and why whisper when you can shout and no-one was going to say no to him; they both got in.
The rest of my stay in the lounge was uneventful – some soup, an apple, a roll and some olive spread, not much else. When we boarded I found to my dismay that my row, 33, was not actually at the emergency exit, but one row behind. And that my seat, J, was not a window seat, but a middle seat. This turned out to be beside a fairly normal woman, and a man with the most vile breath imaginable. There also seemed two be a wind tunnel straight from his mouth to my nose. At one point I hung my blanket between my head and my upraised book, to form a protective shield against the monstrosity of his exhalations.
When the food came he made sure to order the stinky fish and slurp his noodles … and least I could cancel out that noise with some airline radio. I had the chicken – on a bed of watery mashed potato and with a side of okra. It was a tough 3 hours and 45 minutes – made worse still by the movie: the very crummy Astronaut Farmer … which was also on one of the last flights I took earlier this year.
The second flight was nicer – a smaller, crappier plan, but the flight took about half the time, there were half the amount of people on board, we got another meal and it was very tasty, and I had easy access to multiple water bottle refills because there weren’t throngs of people crowding the aisles.