Up until recently I held a position that entailed much flying around, which may sound wonderful, but I can assure you was not!
Traveling by air has become far more difficult and more stressful since the 9/11 disaster.The check in process is generally hassle free other than the sometimes endless queues.Online check in is a "must" to make you passage easier and to avoid those bad seat issues, especially when you are traveling overseas. A good website to visit in order to find out which seats have the most leg room etc prior to doing your online check in, is Seat Guru
Then you have the security to navigate through and let me tell you the security checks in SA are far simpler than those overseas. Recently I travelled to the UK and France and you basically have to strip down to one layer of clothes, so shoes, belts, jackets, waistcoats must all come off before you can walk through the security machines and to travel within the USA is even stricter. Remember not to have any liquids over 100 mls in your hand luggage otherwise you could be asked to toss your favourite cosmetics and fragrances into the "special bin" at the security. I have been shocked at the expensive contents of those "special bins" it was enough to bring me to tears, just to look into the bin, let alone have to dump something into it. I did however, on the one trip from Madrid to Johannesburg, have to throw my tweezers into the bin...and that was heartbreaking enough, but then again I understand, as I could have used them to stab the pilot with!! No doubt some Spaniard is using my gold tipped Solingen tweezers, so I hope they are enjoying them!
Another irritating, but necessary task is to take your laptop out of its bag for the securty checks...my poor laptop was in and out of its bag so many times. It actually becomes your little "baby" that needs caring for and more importantly guarding over! During peak flying times the security conveyor belt is just a continuos stream of all makes of computers awaiting their turn to go through the X-ray machine...then its a quick scramble to reclaim your "baby" on the other side and check that your little one is unharmed! Unfortunately all this means added time to your journey.
Thank goodness for the business lounges to ease the stress...
You then board the flight and await to see who your journey partner will be...more often than not I would occupy myself on my laptop or engross myself in paperwork, rather than make small talk with some unknown fellow traveller. Anti-Social you may think...well to be honest after talking all day, the last thing I want to do is talk, let alone listen to some strangers holiday or business trip...
The other "delight" of flying is the airline food and internal flights are the worst, no matter which country you fly within. As if on cue, I have just received a box containing; a warm yoghurt, a dry croissant with a slice of plastic ham and cheese, a biscuit and a juice. The best part of the box is the biscuit, the juice and the useful, to pop in your handbag, fragrant hand towelette! To be honest I really don't know why they bother, as most seem to send the boxes back either still full or with half eaten remnants.
Some of the International flights are only slightly better, as they served their plastic food hot! The airline food that stands out as being the most tasty to me was the food on both Emirates and Ethiad, thanks to the spices of this middle eastern cuisine. I have been fortunate to fly a couple of times business class and Oh My! what a difference, especially on long haul flights.At least the food is more than edible and some being of restaurant standard.
Back to reality and its time to pack my little blue and silver box back up "sans" the wipe and the biscuit and hand it back to the flight attendant....and just as I thought the trolley is loaded up with rejected boxes....what a waste of money
To be continued...
To read Part 1 of Air Travel and me.. click here