by Susan Newman
Air travel has never been my favourite mode of transport. But it’s a case of ‘needs must’.
In this day and age why is it not possible to simply park your car, hoist your luggage from the boot and walk straight onto a plane?
You could scan your Garda Clearance Cert as you complete your on-line booking. Airlines could devise a high-tech corridor through which you would travel, sheep-like, and any suspicious items, like mascara apparently, could be whipped from your person and slapped into the nearest bin.
And, hey presto! you’re on-board, warily watching that mother with her two screaming, feral children trying to locate their seats and praying that you’re going to be nowhere near them.
Gratefully you settle into your seat by the window, chosen because you want to be the first to see the engine become engulfed in flames or notice any sudden, unexplained manouvres dreamed up by a bored pilot. And then you have a bird’s-eye view of the plane coming in to land, in the most haphazard manner and with scant regard for the more sensitive and vulnerable passenger. Me.
And is there really a good reason for all those security checks by the stewards? God love them, they do their best. Seat belts, yes; air masks, perhaps; But my God! LIFE VESTS? ‘In the unlikely event that we land in water’, the stewardess assures us. Surely it would make more sense to issue us with parachutes, in the event that the whole thing goes tits up.
Feeding time and the trolley shudders up and down the aisle. Why not? It will pass the time. You’re not even hungry, your inner voice snaps. So what? You’re 36,000 feet up in the air and not quite sure if there will be a dignified touch-down.
So, you tuck in. Panini, coffee – yes, three sugars, please – Short Bread, Kit-Kat and yes, a box of Pringles too. And you’ve just finished all 2,000 calories when the woman beside you bites into her Granny Smith apple.
I suppose I could do some writing to while away the time. The fluffy clouds should surely inspire a poem or two. No, not my forte. Perhaps a Short Story, something with a bit of drama and a surprise ending. Maybe not, on second thoughts. Yes, air travel is fertile ground for inspiration but really, why make things worse.
“Excuse me, can I have a Bacardi and Seven up, please?”
[Written on a flight to Madrid]