Cham­pagne Taste, Beer Budget

NZ Today - - TALKBACK -

I am vis­it­ing my younger sis­ter in the UK, which of course ne­ces­si­tates a hu­mungous aero­plane jour­ney. I do it in two tranches be­cause I just can­not han­dle 24 hours straight in a plane. I swell up so much I fear I will ex­plode.

As I board and am told turn right madam, I long­ingly look to the left where the seats re­cline, there is more to eat than “fish or chicken?” in plas­tic boxes and where cham­pagne flows freely. First world prob­lem I know, but is the air pres­sure less in the front of the plane per­haps and if I sit there will my carpal tun­nel-in­flicted fin­gers look less like lit­tle sausages when we ar­rive?

There is no time to con­sider this as I am squeezed into my tiny seat, bolt up­right with the teeny, tiny tele­vi­sion screen about 12 inches from my fail­ing eyes. It will turn out to be a blur and a con­trap­tion that as usual I can’t op­er­ate un­til ask­ing the flight at­ten­dants for sev­eral lessons.

Cue the food and drinks trol­ley, the most ex­cit­ing thing on a plane as all will at­test. The words “fish or chicken, but don’t be up­set if your choice isn’t avail­able” are em­bla­zoned across the screen on top of my re-run of Mr and Mrs Smith.

The lit­tle plas­tic boxes of weird sal­ads and pip­ing hot chicken ar­rive. It is prob­a­bly aw­ful, but it tastes as if it were cooked in a Miche­lin-starred kitchen be­cause it is some­thing to do. Do all air­lines get their bread rolls from the same bak­ery?

The “are we there yets” from my daugh­ter start around six hours in to our 12 hour jour­ney. I feel it will never end. My feet swell, my shoes have to come off. I can’t sleep, I try to, but I feel like my back might snap in half. My legs ache, my eyes st­ing.

And then we land. Phew. Now just the joy of drag­ging all the bags on a train to our ho­tel for a night’s sleep in a hor­i­zon­tal bed. Can’t wait.

One thing that does con­cern me as I walk the al­most en­tire length of the plane is the pigsty so many pas­sen­gers leave on and around their seats.

Blan­kets and pil­lows just tossed in the aisles, food and wrap­pers on the floor, head­phones flung every­where. It seems so dis­re­spect­ful.

To­mor­row we do the next 12 hour trip and don’t get me wrong, I am so grate­ful and ex­cited to be go­ing, I just wish the trip were a bit shorter and I was a bit less puffy at the end!

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