Monday 4 November 2013

The Joys of Cattle Class or How I Wish I could Afford to Fly Business.

It’s that time of the year again and very soon my wife and I will be winging it over to Australia for a few weeks before Christmas. 

I don’t know about you, but for me, the excitement of travelling overseas does not include the flight itself.  For the past eight years or so, I have had the fortune of being able to travel frequently by plane in the Asia Pacific region and I have no hesitation at all in saying the novelty has completely worn off.  I just want to get there.  In the dim distant past, I used to dream of the sheer exhilarating lift in spirit I would experience as soon as I walked on board.  But alas dear reader, no more.  I just want to get there and start the real holiday.  Why the change?  It's been a long and slow process but this was what sent me over the edge.

I’m sitting in the middle again!  Oh how much I hate that.  It’s my fault really for booking so late and not having a choice. The trip was hastily planned very late and I was travelling alone.  The plane’s chocker block full, so no good, looking for another seat after takeoff.  The rather large woman sitting next to the window gave me a sheepish smile as I sat down.  Oh well, there was still no one sitting on the aisle.

At least this time, I managed to find an overhead locker underneath my allotted seat.  Just a few months ago, I was down the back of a 737 only to find the overheads were reserved for much more important things other than passengers' carry on, like the planes entertainment system and other pieces of computer hardware that must have a function.  Luckily, my bags were only 7 rows in front, so I could still keep an eye on them if I wore my glasses. 

While we are talking about carry on luggage; am I the only person who sticks by the rules of one piece of 7 kgs and a computer bag / handbag etc?  Some of the cases they drag on board could easily stow my mother-in-law. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but really. Nothing worse than arriving at your seat to find yours and the surrounding lockers jammed packed. 

The sweat of anticipation covered my brow. I watched with intent as the remaining passengers walked down the aisle looking frantically for their seat. As each passed my row, I let out an inaudible sigh of relief. 
“Please God please, let there be an empty seat beside me, I’ll even become a believer if you grant me this wish.” 
Then, there he was, all 100+ kilograms of swaying mass waddling towards me. Man mountain looked left and right along the line of seat numbers, he hesitated for a moment next to my row, move a step further, then came back. I almost chocked on my sigh.

Now, I’ll fully admit I myself was a lot thinner in my prime but I’m still small-boned and only take up the required seat width, in this case 16.5 inches.

My new acquaintance lowered himself down and with a lot of wriggling and twisting managed to wedge himself between the armrests. Unfortunately his body didn’t stop there; it flowed somewhat into my space. The armrest attempted to act like a dam holding back the waters of the Red Sea but regrettably, it wasn’t up to the task. I was now trapped between a rock and a hard place.

We, men, of course never fancy the idea of actually making physical contact with each other - another male. In this case, he couldn’t, so I had to attempt to take appropriate action.

I don’t know how many of you have flown for 7 hours sitting skew-whiff but I can assure you it isn’t pleasant.   The situation became even more complicated when the meal arrived.

There is only so far one can keep his elbows in without it affecting his ability to use his hands. With a surgeon’s precision-like skill, I attempted to manoeuvre around the plate searching for something that I could spear with my fork. I discovered through a little experimentation I had more success if I crossed my forearms over, but this elicited some strange looks from some of the other passengers.  Most looking on would have thought I was doing a  poor job of  crab impersonations. I admitted defeat and gave up when my arms started to feel arthritic and the pins and needles had reached my elbows.

Eventually the lights went out, but sleep, my dear friends never arrived.  The night dragged, the occasional toilet break relieved the pressure in more than one way. The 7-hour trip that felt like 14.

There comes a point where it's just no good resisting the inevitable. This is when I wish I had studied transcendental meditation.

Ohh that's It !!!  Stay home, just use your mind to fly away. 
Got it now and think of all that money I’ll save.  

Inside the Aluminium tube _ Google images


  1. Your writing has its own specialty that really spiced up people imagination. :)

  2. Thank you very much for your comment. I am glad you have enjoyed reading it.


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