When I was a child, I used to love the idea of getting into a plane, and flying to some exotic location for a wonderful holiday! I often thought, the longer the flight the better, and this was largely based on the idea that if the flight were longer (i.e. 8 hours from Nairobi to London), then there’s a much higher chance that there will be a television on the plane, and so a higher chance that I’d get to stay up the whole flight watching movies. While this basic principle is still true, and I still love staying up the whole flight watching movies, the appeal of travelling by air has seriously gone down.
The two main reasons for this: Security Checks and Little Children. Don’t get me wrong, I wholly understand the importance of the security checks, and am extremely grateful for them! Also, I love little children! I’m constantly helping babysit my cousins, and have such a great time doing it! But these two things have made travelling an insanely infuriating experience. You can take my recent trip home as an example of why. As you (hopefully) know, I recently started studying at a University in Toronto, Canada. This is a very long distance from where I live – Nairobi, Kenya. In order to travel between the two Countries, I usually have to take an 8 hour flight from Nairobi to either London or Amsterdam (depending on which airline I travel with), then from there take another 7 hour flight to Toronto. Total travel time, including the stop over and getting to the airport on time etc. is usually at least 25 hours.
Anyway, on Tuesday I flew from Toronto to Nairobi. I had to get to the airport by 4pm for my flight at 6:30 pm. I got onto the flight, and everything was going as normal. We took a little long to taxi, which is where the plane leaves the boarding gate, and drives towards the take-off strip. I didn’t think too much of it, and figured we would be flying on time. But nope – I was wrong. We waited at the strip for a good 25 minutes, when the Pilot announced that there was a problem with a missing passenger, and that we couldn’t take off until the issue was resolved. We then had to get back to the Boarding gate, and wait for the issue to be sorted out.
This confused me severely, because I had no idea who could be so important that the pilot would actually turn the plane around just to get them. Eventually, after waiting another 45 minutes at the gate, the pilot then announced that the issue had been resolved, and that it was a human error where the passenger was supposed to be far away from the airport (as in they had missed their flight), while he had somehow been checked in on the flight. Yup – major security issue. The pilot then announced that we were just waiting to refuel, and then we would be off. This whole debacle took over 2 hours. 2 hours without any form of snacks or drinks, 2 hours without the television working (they can’t switch it on since we’re not flying yet), 2 hours with the seat in front of me less than 15 cm from my face since these seats were designed without consideration of foot space, or the need for people to be able to move their heads.. and worst of all, 2 hours sitting next to these extremely large woman who practically had her right elbow pointing onto my chest the entire flight. Basically, I couldn’t move at all for the entire 7 hour flight, which somehow got extended into over 9 hours, due to a “missing passenger”. To make matters worse, the large woman next to me spent the entire flight talking to herself, and complaining about the delay.
The thing that worried me about the flight was that instead of landing at 7pm local Amsterdam time, we instead landed at 9:15pm, and took another 15 minutes to get to the gates and get off the flight. This was a major problem for me, since the boarding time for my second flight was at 9:15pm. Panic. Worry. Freak OUT! I pretty much ran off the first plane until I found out which Gate my second flight was at – quite literally opposite the gate of my first flight. This let me have a huge sigh of relief, since it meant I wouldn’t miss my flight. I got onto my second flight, got comfy, and ready for another 8 hours of TV watching (incase you haven’t guessed – I don’t usually sleep on planes…) when out of nowhere, this little kid in the row behind me lets out this ridiculous scream, and starts hitting himself. I don’t know why, where it came from, or what he hoped to achieve by screaming like an insane lunatic, but he did. And it continued for the entire flight! The Air Hostesses tried to talk to him and calm him down, and the pilot even passed by at one point to see what was going on, but no luck. The kid with lungs kept on screaming.
Needless to say, I had a very long journey home, but I made it! And I am finally back in my own comfortable, cozy bed, enjoying home made food after a really long time! I still concept of flying, the idea that we’re flying 30,000 feet in the air and trust our entire lives onto the “capable” hands of the pilot flying the plane. I just wish security checks and little children weren’t an integral part of flying! What about you – good or bad experiences?