Look, after ten years of living in the UK, and travelling back and forth to Canada twice a year, I am well-versed in the glamour of modern air travel. I know it is not something I will enjoy.
The Captain and the stewards are always eager to wish me a good journey. I know they mean, don’t worry, we’ll get you there in one piece. Anything else, you should consider a bonus.
Only in the past few years have I decided I can afford – through whatever measures necessary – to fly on a ‘real’ airline, as opposed to Ghetto Air which shuffled me back and forth between Glasgow and Toronto. I chose this airline because it was the only one that offered a direct flight to Glasgow, and it was cheap. You get what you pay for though. This was an airline where, when you got one of the newer planes you were dead excited because it had a screen in the back of the seat and you weren’t forced to watch one movie at the same time, along with everyone else.
Once, though, when I had to schlep all my worldly belongings back to The Mom’s and the charge in extra baggage was the same as an upgrade to first class, I just caved and got a first class ticket. Now, this was on Ghetto Air, mind, so grain of salt. All first classes are not created equal. It was nice, though, to have unlimited free drinks, and to eat on an actual plate, and have enough room to sit cross-legged. On Ghetto Air there were no fully reclining seats.
I don’t believe The Mom has ever flown on something similar.
These days it’s Air Canada all the way. For no particular reason other than I find it reassuring when my seat buckle has the same logo as the person’s sitting next to me. On Ghetto Air, mine might be Air France, and my neighbour’s BA.
At the airport, I have low expectations. I expect it to be crowded, dull, and unpleasant. I am rarely surprised. Though, on a recent flight back from France, out of Bordeaux, I realised how lucky I’d been with previous airports. Bordeaux seemed stuck in the early 1990s. It aggressively did not want to be an airport. It aggressively did not want you there. The staff loathed your very existence, intensely, and with the sort of dedication the French are really only capable of. In some ways, I prefer this sort of thing. Everyone has their cards on the table. You don’t want to be there. They don’t want you there. Which is fine because it’s a place where you go with the express purpose of leaving.
The Mom has very eagerly been blethering on about this new terminal at Kennedy. She’s a sucker for any story where pets are treated better than people because her general feeling is that this is probably for the best. The pets are usually nicer than their owners, and so why not treat them to a bit of luxury?
Thing is, though, that the idea of spending any more time in an airport than absolutely necessary is something I do not understand. All the pampering in the world – things that normally I don’t like anyhow – wouldn’t change my mind, though I’ve never done anything longer than an eight hour flight. My tune might change if ever I were to go to Australia, though knowing myself, I’m certain there would be a few days in Singapore, and a few days in Hong Kong. It’s just that, with my back the way it is, the idea of being crunched up in my seat for nearly 18 hours is just unfathomable. Sure, I’d get there, but I wouldn’t be able to walk afterwards, so what’s the point?
As for flying into Kennedy, well, I struggle to get anyone to pick me up from Pearson, which is only an hour’s drive from The Mom’s, so getting someone to fetch me up, bleary, confused, and tired, from New York seems a bit of a stretch. Plus, it would ruin my struck policy of avoiding flying into America under any and all circumstances. Sorry America, but clearing your security is a giant pain in the ass and after a long flight, I simply do not have the patience for it.
So until the day that Crazy D’s dream of having ninjas kidnap you, drug you, put you and your bags on the flight, so that you wake up, sometime later, in your hotel, comes true, I’m just going to grin and bear it.