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.