Do you ever just want to get up and walk off a plane? Be it a crying baby or terrible turbulence. There are times I wish that I could and unfortunately that kind of thing is frowned upon.
Since moving to Shanghai, I have been seriously racking up the miles flying between there and home. My first flight alone and it was an international trip. I was all kinds of panicky. The second time less nerves. Third time, a pro.
This past Spring break, I flew back home for a wedding, and it was none stop from landing. Straight to the wedding rehearsal, wedding next day, and appointments through the week. It is the journey of this round-trip that is the context for this month’s story time.
I already had doubts about my seat before I got on board. I had forgotten to select my seat early, so I wound up in the middle for long haul (Shanghai to Detroit), while the short ride from Detroit to Tampa I managed business class.
Now, I must admit the middle wasn’t all that bad—I lived. BUT. I walk to my row to find two big guys on either side of my seat. I immediately thought, Oh my God! I couldn’t help it. I was about to be in a sandwich. When the man by the window saw that I was going to be sitting in the middle he exclaimed, “Boy, are we glad to see you!” I busted out laughing. I’m sure he was because I fit nicely in between with enough space to still bring my legs up.
So, I thought the ride would be smooth. The seat neighbors are nice, no turbulence, I can breathe—it’s all good. BUT. The guy by the window frequently got up to walk around. It just so happened whenever he wanted to get up, I almost managed to fall asleep. Yet, I couldn’t be mad, because he a valid reason to get up all the time. He was a big guy and he had to make sure his blood circulation was okay. My sleep, would just have to suffer.
And then I order a cup of coffee. Same guy, in his seat. He shifts to turn and spills all my coffee—ALL. OF. IT. Where do you think it went? On me! Poor guy starts fumbling. We rang for flight attendants that never came, so he cleaned up the coffee on my tray with his own blanket. I just sat. No coffee. No
sleep. Wet pants that I hope hadn’t stained because I still had to go to a wedding rehearsal.
This flight ends. I make it in time for my connecting flight. Now, I’m not sure if I was supposed to, but went with the first group that was called (Diamond, Medallion, etc. I was flying Delta). The lady at the counter let me through anyway and it amused all the confused looks I received as I went. After all business class is typically middle-aged business men. They were probably wondering this sixteen-year-old looking black girl was doing in business class. So of course, when a middle aged couple sat down next to me I was barraged with questions, but made it through and had to get in gear for the wedding rehearsal.
When it was time to fly back to Shanghai, I landed in San Francisco to connect. The layover was five hours. I got Starbucks, but also wanted food. For anyone who flies into San Francisco airport, I need to know which terminal has good food because the international terminal is seriously lacking. I settled for Burger King (nothing wrong with BK, I just wanted something wholesome).
San Francisco to Shanghai, I sat on the aisle of an exit row. There was so much space! I could put my legs up and seat back to completely stretch. The flight started off good until I woke up out of dead sleep in severe pain and cold sweats. No idea what it was or how it could hit so fast, but it had me hunched over near immobile in the bathroom. I was in there so long the flight attendant unlocked the door to check. I don’t think I ever prayed so hard! Because Lord knows what we were over. If we could land and it would still have likely been hours before we could anyway. So, I prayed until the pain went away and walked out the bathroom like a champion.
I ate nothing for the rest of the flight. The plane landed a little after 8:00 p.m. and it took just under an hour to get out the airport. I took my time getting through everything (customs, baggage claim, etc.,...) happy to be on ground, no pain. Of course there was no time to recoup or figure out what hit me and why I still had a fever because I still had to go to work in the morning.
This round trip summed up with that last flight, makes for my worse flight experience so far. The hard part was not the wasted coffee or being sick, but managing it solo. Some things are bound to happen when traveling alone, but it will not stop me from my next trip. After all, I need a plane to get back home.
Hopefully, your flight experiences are smoother than mine, and the only bad part was maybe poor entertainment selection.