CEL Masthead Winter 18

20 thoughts everyone has when they’re flying

Sarah Bown

With the new international flights starting next month, the buzz in Canberra is building.

Everyone is excited.

I am not.

I’ve never been the best flyer.

When I was three my Mum took me to New Zealand to visit my relatives. She spent a month preparing me for my first time on a big plane. She gave a book about a smiling boy who goes on a plane trip with his family. She gave me a brand new colouring book and my favourite bag of lollies.

She told me I was going on “a big bird” over the ocean.

I was very excited about the big bird. Right up until I had to get on.

At four foot nothing and dragging my Elmo suitcase I finally saw the plane through the window at the gate.

And lost my shit.

Nowadays, my heart always goes out to stressed parents with crying toddlers. I tell you, you can read all the books and take all the precautions and sometimes you’re still left with a four-year-old star-fishing in the door to the aircraft, screaming blue murder and refusing to get on.

22 years on, my opinion of the “big bird” remains the same although my tantrums are more ‘sullen emo teenager’ and less ‘phone-throwing Naomi Campbell’.

Ironically, my current job now involves quite a lot of overseas travel and as a result, flying. A lot of flying.

I took the job figuring I would adopt the desensitisation process – where the more you do something the less it affects you. Unsurprisingly, it’s wildly ineffective.

I mean, the more you poke yourself in the eye with a biro it doesn’t become anymore fun.

I fly because my parents, unfortunately, chose to live on an oversized island a million miles from anywhere fun and it’s a necessary form of transport (heads up parentals, Europe had an excellent train network, but hey what’s done is done #justsayin).

So while I get on the plane with more forced confidence than I feel, these 20 thoughts still go through my head.  And don’t say you haven’t thought the same things.

  1. What is that noise?
  2.  I’m watching Friends, I’ve got wine, I can do this. Oh wait what is THAT noise?
  3. How cold it is outside? Would I freeze instantly like those helicopter guys in The Day After Tomorrow?
  4. Why do I always bring four books and never read one?
  5. Is there some third dimension from which they recruit all air hostesses so they look the same?
  6. Turbulence is just changes in air pressure…just changes in air pressure…
  7. Do they ever wash the outside of planes?
  8. Oh god please don’t ask if there is a doctor or medical professional on board.
  9. I wonder if the captain is just on autopilot, eating Twisties and discussing his kid’s soccer game.
  10. Ok, one whole movie down that was good, how long to go? 8 hours still?! #falsehope
  11. You only have apple and orange juice? Singapore Airlines has pineapple. I always have pineapple….
  12. I’m glad I don’t have longer legs, look at that poor guy.
  13. Oh god is my luggage on this plane? What if it’s en route to Kathmandu?
  14. How many times is appropriate for me to ask the person next to me to get up so I can go to the toilet?
  15. How can such a small person possibly snore that loudly?
  16. Why can’t all safety videos be like Air New Zealand’s Lord of the Rings one?
  17. It’s really only been 13 minutes since I last looked at the flight path?!
  18. I have my passport…right?
  19. I wonder if I’ll ever get to fly first class.
  20. Why did I watch that one episode of Air Crash Investigations six years ago? #rookieerror.

Let me know in the comments if you too are an irrational flyer and would like to add some more to the list! #wecouldstartanonfrequentflyersclub.


Sarah Bown

Sarah is fresh off the plane to Canberra and quickly realising she's not in Kansas anymore. She's a writer and marketing professional by day and spends her free time reading way too much self-help literature followed up by too much Pinot Gris. Sarah spent 2015 working in Mongolia sharing her marketing and communications skills with local organisations. Yes it was her choice, yes they have internet and no it's not next to Syria. She's in Canberra to write more, exercise more, meditate more and then proceed to do Option D: none of the above. Sarah shares more newbie tips, general hilarity and plenty of things to read while procrastinating doing actual work at www.facebook.com/signedbysez. More about the Author

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