Thoughts on Air Travel

“How much sleep have you gotten in the last three days?”
“…twelve hours…maybe…”
– Parents and C.

Hello, darlings!  J. and I have returned from Merrie Olde Englande but I’m not at all intact!  For some reason I didn’t adjust to English time at all this trip, and no amount of Tylenol PM could fix me.  And rest certainly wasn’t on the agenda because J. had never been and there is SO MUCH TO SEE/DO.  All of which I will faithfully recount, as soon as I have recovered from the exhaustion induced headcold fog I’m currently clawing my way out of.  Thank goodness I’ve the weekend to rest before going back to work.

And now, a few observations.

Small Dog, upon arrival.

Item the first.  Some women look good when they travel.  I am not one of them.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve been flying at least a couple times a year for a good portion of my life, how much I hydrate, how many naps I squeeze in, whether or not I put on makeup, how many vitamins I’ve popped, or whether I’m seated next to the banshee child from Hades or a perfectly silent baby, I will inevitably arrive looking haggard.  My hair will be in desperate need of a wash, my skin will have turned to an ashen mess, and my eyes will be rimmed in red agony.  And also inevitably, on every flight there will be a leggy blonde in skinny jeans that fit her properly, a flowy cardigan, the perfect carry-on bag, at least one unobtrusive and flattering accessory, flawless skin, and perfectly mussed hair that will come out of the jet in the same lovely condition it went into it with.  I hate this woman. 

Item the second.  Terrorists will make an appearance.  I’ve had some experience with the fallout of their behavior.  A few years ago I was flying out of Brussels back to the States, my family was on their way to the UK and I was back off to university.  It was a day after the UK-based terrorist plot to use liquid explosives on airliners had been discovered and dismantled (2006, if you don’t recall in these fast-paced times) and the resulting chaos was ricocheting around airports world-wide.

Do be safe, dear, and don't talk to extremists.  See you at Christmas, maybe!
Goodbye, dear. Be safe and don't talk to extremists. See you at Christmas...maybe.

My parents drove me to the airport, waved a cheerful goodbye, and off they were down to Calais to take the ferry across the Channel to Dover.  And there I stood in the Brussels airport staring blankly into the pandemonium.  There were security guards everywhere, dogs, and barking airline employees informing me that I would not be permitted a carry-on on my flight so I would either need to repack everything or throw my carry-on and everything in it away.  I had turned in my European mobile phone (and so had my parents) so there was no way to keep in contact, and exchanged all my money for US dollars so there was no way to pay for anything unless I wanted to eat the exchange rate fees on my US credit card.  And they were on their way to France (without me!).  A very nice Middle Eastern family made room for me with their group on the floor where we all repacked, stuffed, sat on suitcases to close them, and repacked again to make sure we were within weight requirements.  Going through the security screening took nearly two hours, but it didn’t matter because my flight was delayed for five. 

After the foiled terrorist plot this past week, Heathrow had stepped up security but J. and I actually made it through in good time with only a frisking.  Unfortunately, after we were frisked and shown into our containment area, we weren’t allowed out again and so I had to forego breakfast.

And item the third.  Continental’s new entertainment system?!  Amazing!  You should fly with them just for the countless movie options!

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Air Travel”

  1. I was surprised that security didn’t seem at all different when we flew home yesterday.

    And yeah, I’m the one with my makeup smeared all over my face, sweating no matter the temp, and glaring at the perfectly put together people on the flight.

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