And The Adventure Begins


I have found that I really enjoy evening departures.  I have all day to finish any last minute details and by the time I’m on the plane, I’m usually exhausted and ready for sleep.  So, I picked the flight leaving at 8:00 PM this time.

Most of my day was just going through everything “one more time” just to be sure I didn’t forget anything.  I guess I’ll know if I succeeded on the trip.

For such a long trip, I really don’t want to pay for parking all that time.  Seems like Uber would be a good thing to try.  I’ve been on work travel where it has been very  helpful for the quick pickup and times when you just don’t want to walk anymore.  So out comes my phone and withing 8 minutes I’m on my way.  The young lady who picked me up was very friendly and we talked most of the way.  I found out that they had just lifted the restriction on Uber not being able to pick people up inside airport property.  They had always been allowed to drop people off, but now they just have to purchase a permit and can come inside to retrieve also.  This was welcome news, since I figured I was going to have to jump on a light rail out of the airport before I could request a pickup.  This option would be much easier.

She dropped me off where I needed to be and in a short period of time I was waiting at security and then a little after that a restaurant having a little bite before my flight needed to leave.  I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and was ready for something and just didn’t feel like waiting until whenever they decided to feed us on the plane.

Boarding went smoothly and I got situated into my window seat and was ready for the flight.  I ended up having someone in the neighboring seat, which is not too unusual and not a problem for me.  What was a problem was when I plugged my headphones into the arm chair, I just go this horrible popping and clicking sound that didn’t seem affected by the volume control.  When I asked the flight attendant if that was common, he apologized that some seats did have a problem.  He told me of an open isle seat and offered it to me.  I was reluctant at first, because I like having the wall to lean against and when you’re on the isle you usually have to deal with people needing to get by you.  But I decided to give it a go, because I didn’t want to just listen to the music on my phone for the next few hours.

The new seat was just ahead of the next bulkhead, which of course means I won’t be able to lean my seat back too much.  It was a middle section of five seats with an empty one between me and the next person, which is also nice.  The sound works here and in a short time they get us our first round of drinks and then dinner.  I’m glad they got this out of the way quickly, so we can try to catch a few winks before landing in London.

The movie system on this plane is a little outdated compared to the ones on other international flights I’ve been on in the last few years.  It gives you a selection of things, but it’s not an personal stream.  It tells you when the next movie or TV show starts and you have to wait unless you want to just watch one that’s already playing.  Not horrible, just disappointing after having the newer versions of the system.

I picked my movie and everything was fine until it gets to the climactic part of the movie where all the action that will determine the results starts and everything gets choppy and then freezes.  The next thing I see is some error message and it takes me back to the main screen.  Great, you get me to the high point of  the movie and then leave me hanging.  I try to see if I can reconnect, but now the whole system for me is slow and glitchy.  Oh well, probably should start trying to sleep.

Sleeping upright in a chair is not always the easiest thing to do, especially on a crowded plane.  Just as I’m finally drifting off, I feel a tug at my sleeve and it’s the woman from the center seat needing to get out.  In my half asleep mode, I begin undoing myself to allow her passage from the row.  As I said, I’m half asleep so this is a clumsy task and takes me a minute.  I know there is no point in re-situating myself until she returns so I just sit and try not to drift off again.  When she finally makes her appearance back at the row, she insists on stand right at the opening where I need to step out to get out of her way.  I guess she thinks I can just move my legs out of the way, but planes don’t have that kind of room.  It’s hard enough trying to get down a row when it’s empty.  Impossible if someone is in it.

She manages her way back and I start my reassembly of my place to try and get back to sleep.  Of course, my mind is now awake and thinking about all this, so sleep will not come back so easily.

Author: Alan (Travelin' Al) Stiebing

Alan Stiebing has been traveling for over 20 years. He blogs and photographs his experiences and passions for and other digital and print outlets.

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