During my trip around the world I’ve now logged 115 flight hours (not even including the many hours getting to and from airports plus doing the wonderful ‘arrive two hours ahead of time for international flights’ game) and I feel my time flying the friendly skies has given me enough research to compile this list of things that will inevitably happen to you on international flights:
- There are always, at least, two screaming, crying children on board. And one of them will always be an average of 3.3 seats away from your ears.
- The headphones they give you to watch a movie are always crap and so is the audio. Four out of five times, the used ‘toy’ headphones you remove from their specially ‘sealed’ plastic wrapping will only have sound in one ear forcing you to go back to 1940 when everything was in mono.
- Just as you fall asleep a flight attendant touches you on the shoulder to ask if your seat belt is fastened. A trick I learned is to buckle your seat belt over the blanket so he or she can see it.
- On some budget flights nowadays you have to pay (way too much) for your own food and drink, but the pungent body odor coming from the passenger next to you is always free.
- Also on some budget flights (ie Air Asia, Ryanair) there are enforced weight restrictions for your checked baggage (15Kg/30lbs or less). I often had to shove my boots, toiletries, and other heavier items into a second carry-on bag. Unless, of course, they only allow you one stinkin’ carry on (including purse!) like the good folks at Ryannair, then I was stuffing all things imaginable into my one carry on back pack… its weight seeming to outpace even my checked bag. This makes no sense whatsoever considering it all goes on the same plane anyway.
- More body odor.
- The fattest and only American on the plane will sit next to you. She didn’t pay for two seats, but she certainly is using them.
- Or… there are two Brits sitting next to you that do NOT shut up the whole time and there voices are the loudest on the plane. And not only that… they ‘talk’ with their hands in a very ‘herky-jerky’ way nearly slapping you with every damn punctuated sentence.
I flew to New York’s JFK International Airport on Air India. It was the cheapest flight available at $400. When I mentioned flying on Air India, a few raised their eyebrows. It was a standard 747 like all others, the flight was great, I had scored an exit row all to myself (I always ask for it, ya know, because I’m just so darn tall) and, as I’d hoped, the food was a tasty Indian curry. I even requested the vegetarian meal. Yum.
Inevitably, as soon as the plane touches down on terra firma and skids to a screeching halt at the last bit of runway, all passengers (especially in Asia) jump to their feet (yes, seat belt light is still on) so they can stand hunched over in a queue in the aisle for ten minutes as we taxi to the gate and wait for the plane’s doors to fly open and release its fidgety human contents. It is as if somehow standing will get them out of the plane faster. And now they can get to the baggage carousel that much faster so they can stand there for fifteen extra minutes and wait for their bag to come off… unless it’s lost, of course. By the way, in my thirty-five or so flights not once did my bag get ‘lost, stolen, or damaged.’ Sweet.
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You owe it to yourself and all of us to cap this trip off by taking a multi-stop trip home on a Greyhound Bus. This trip will act as a sort of debriefing. Welcome home.
Air India is a bit of a monopoly so they are really not big on service. I laughed by butt off after reading your comments. You now have to travel to Africa to experience some even more crazy things. First, I suggest a bit of a break in good old frozen USA.
Hrmmmm… I like Kevin's idea! Plus, Greyhound will drop you off at LA's Grand Central! Right next to yummy Alavera St!
Or you could be totally un-American and take a train.
Lisa, I am getting ready to take a business flight to NV in a few weeks. This will be only my second (yes second) time in the air in over 20 years. Your helpful hints will come in handy! LOL!!!!
I prefer low fare companies like RyanAir where you've to pay a lot for your food rather than having it included in the price: ususally the food sucks and they give it to you at strange hours when you're not hungry.
I prefer to buy a cheap sandwich or eat a Kebab outside the airport and fly with RyanAir.
I know it's obvious, but people usually forget this and have to pay a lot for the on-board meal.
It's funny that you mentioned the "Fat American" stereotype when, in fact, he can be from any country.
I'm always wondering if "corporal odor" has to be with ethnics groups or habits or just with how clean you are.
I would like to know if a person from one ethnic group entering in a wagon full of CLEAN people from other ethnic group feels umconfortable about the smell…
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