Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Turkey Diaries : To Get There You Have To Fly.

Air Travel is not good for your soul. It makes you grumpy and intolerant and as it is the start of the holiday you have waited for all year you have to just get on with it. On our flight to Turkey we wondered how they had managed to give us even less space between the seats than usual, it must have been difficult for them but by golly they did it. The young man next to me had long lanky legs and was in pain by the end of the journey and found it difficult to straighten himself again. The only way your blood was going to be circulated on this flight was by moving from one butt cheek to the other.

Behind me I could hear a father explaining with great patience to his young son at the start of the journey what would happen, telling him he had to keep his seat belt on, be a good boy etc.  Half way through the journey as the little boy became increasingly bored and naughty the father asked him if he wanted to go for a walk outside, not advisable at 30,000 ft but it showed he was loosing his cool just as I was when the back of my seat was kicked for the umteenth time. Mum eventually took over discipline, had she been sleeping all this time? Lucky her!
" Don't kick the seat, don't kick the seat " was all she could say. How I wanted to add my tuppence worth.

I brought down my table to have somewhere to put my drink and magazine. The table was so close to me it touched my seat belt I felt like I was in a baby's high chair. Thank goodness I hadn't ordered a meal on board.
 As our flight was at 7am we had to leave our house at 4:30 am. I thought I would  be able to catch up on loss sleep during the flight. The only way to do that would be to sleep in an upright position with your head falling to one side, result, a stiff neck and feeling irritable at not being able to sleep.
When we arrived in Turkey we were pleased we had chose an early morning flight as by the time the taxi had dropped us off at the hotel it was just after 2pm enough time to have a dip in the pool and a sleep before going out for dinner.

Our homeward flight was a late night one, we haven't done this for years because frankly at our age we need to get to bed at a reasonable time but it did give us an extra day in the sun. We flew home with a different airline and there was definitely a lot more room to stretch your legs, in fact I could even cross them. Husband said the seats were much harder (well you can't have everything). The only person who has a truly comfortable seat is the guy flying the plane and who woud deny him that?
 The fold down tray on the back of the seat in front didn't come near my seat belt in fact it was so far away I was glad I wasn't having a meal as I surely would have missed my mouth. No crying, kicking children on this flight (a bonus for it being a late one?)
Just got settled when it began, the inaudible announcements.
"We will being coming round with champagne and dvd players for your entertainment" Champagne? To celebrate going home? Going from daily sunshine to daily rain? No hint of at what cost!
"We will be coming round with raffle tickets" Why? Who ever buys them? I hear next year we're going to be playing bingo on board.
" We will be coming round with drinks, we have hot chocolate, coffee, tea and a range of soft drinks."  Smallest bottle of water you have ever seen was £1:80.
" We will be coming round with duty free goods and exclusive deals for you all"
Every time I tried to close my eyes another announcement would be made, it's all about making as much money from the flight as they possibly can.
Arrival at Glasgow and more announcements in the luggage hall.
"We apologise for the obnoxious smell but this is due to essential maintenance"
People around us had hankies over their mouth and nose, some were holding their nose in a peg like fashion. The smell was awful. I smelt it first in the queue for passport control and thought someone had really bad B.O. It got steadily worse and when we reached baggage reclaim the smell was like being in the middle of a sewer.  I don't really know from experience what that would smell like but I'm sure I'm not far wrong.
 The sign above the carousel said the first baggage would arrive at 2:10 am forty minutes away, how would our lungs survive without breathing in fresh air until then?
2:30 am before we left the airport
 3:30 am before we were in our taxi home.
4am before we put our key in our door. We were still on Turkish time so this was really 6am for us.
The moral of this story is - No more late night flights for us they make you grumpy and intolerant. 

A few years ago we flew to California for our holiday. On the way back home from L.A airport it was announced that the flight was overbooked and if anyone was willing to postpone their flight until the following day they would be given a hotel room at the airport with dinner and be flown business class to New York and  business class on a connecting flight from N.Y to London, vouchers with money off another flight with the airline were also thrown in. We did a quick calculation as to when we had to pick the dog up from kennels and if we could get in touch with or daughter who was meeting us and ran at speed to the check in desk shouting," Me! Me!Me! " 

The hotel we spent the night in was lovely, with the softest comfiest pillows ever. Our luggage was returned so we were able to change for dinner. The restaurant was very posh with a snobby Italian waiter but we enjoyed the unexpected extra night and free meal.

We felt a bit apprehensive on the business class flight to New York wondering if we would look like we didn't belong with the elite of the flying world. The seats were in rows of two and we were sitting behind each other. A kind man offered to change his seat to allow us to sit together. We had televisions on the back of seat in front which at the touch of a button had films and TV shows for viewing. Breakfast was served on real china plates with real cutlery, none of your plastic nonsense. We had eggs benidict and hot toast. The leg space we had was three times as much as we normally would  have and the seats could be reclined without ending up in the lap of the person sitting behind you.
We only had a few hours to wait in the airport in New York for our next flight to London only enough time to gaze out from the window at the New York skyline and purchase a T-shirt that said, "I heart New York"

The second aircraft was larger and I think we were in a row of four seats in a centre aisle. There was even more room in this flight and I could have stood up and encouraged everyone to conga along the aisles (if I had been that way inclined)
Lunch and dinner were served again on china plates and was very haute cuisine.
We were supplied with a personal dvd player and games console with countless discs with films and games. We were actually able to lie down and sleep. Sleep? when we could order what we wanted to eat and drink at anytime? Why?
There were no trolleys being pushed up and down selling coffee, drinks and crisps because it was all free. No raffle tickets on sale and the champange was free too.
When we reached London our flight to Glasgow was just a normal flight and we had to mix with the common folk once again.
We would never be able to buy business class tickets ourselves as those flights would have cost us a few thousand pounds each but there is a moral to this story.

If you are ever travelling on a long haul flight make sure you have left a few days at the end of your holiday where you don't have to rush to work the next day or pick up the dog or cat and if the announcement asks for people to give up their seat until the following day don't even think about it just run as fast as you can to the check in desk shouting "Me, Me, Me" because - You're worth it !

What do you think of air travel? Does it make you grumpy?


  1. I know it's uncomfortable, and I know it's tedious, I know it's dislocating - but it's also exciting and full of possibilities. It might make me knackered, but rarely grumpy!

  2. That's the adventurers blood in you Jo! I just want to get to my destination in comfort.

  3. Air travel is just wretched. I hate it. I would only fly first class from Seattle to Boston when I visited my mom. I refused to tough it out w/ the plebes in coach. Not on a long trip like that. Now that I've moved back east, if I never get on a plane again it'll be too soon. Not only are the flights uncomfortable and people/kids obnoxious, but we also have the highly invasive TSA searches and scans.

  4. I'm leaving for NY on Oct 4th for my Aunt and Uncles 50th party. It's a quick flight from Virginia to NY however it's never without events. For some reason they always pick me to do a body search. Anne you've seen my picture I'm hardly a security risk. It has become a family joke of sorts; me being pulled from the line.

    Then of course it doesn't end there. That's when I laughed out loud when you spoke of the unruly child on your flight. If you want to know where I'll be sitting I'll be in the screaming child section. If there's one on the plane he or she will be right by me.

    And my on time record?!! Lets just say I don't have much luck picking "on time" flights. I wait until i land at JFK to call my brother to pick me up, he just calls me "the anchor" when I travel." dragging the whole show to a stop" he says.

    btw Glad you're back safe, can't wait to hear all your wonderful stories.

  5. That's one of the many reasons that I hate flying. Eurostar is far more civilised but of course it doesn't go to Turkey. Glad you're home safe and sound and hope you soon catch up on sleep.

  6. Welcome back!!! Missed you. The Redheaded League does not like being 1 down! That said, flying terrifies me. Brain can't get to grips with the gravity conundrum - if the plane isn't flapping its wings, when are we going to plummet to earth. First long haul flight I did (to Boston) they showed Titanic. Urp. Never felt safe since.

  7. Left home last night at two-thirty in the morning, arrived at our destination and went to sleep at two. Yeah .. it makes me grumpy too. Especially when the flight attendants are grumpy ... it's all one vicious grumpy circle.

    Welcome back!

  8. I feel very similarly to you. Air travel can be such an inhuman experience. We have a late flight home from Gran Canaria in October. Just hoping holiday is so good it's worth the hassle. Hope you had great break. :)

  9. That's the adventurers blood in you Jo. I just want to get to my destination,if I could magic myself there I would.

  10. First class? Wow! That's even better than business. We would really love to visit America again but the thought of the flight and all the hanging around and yes,the searches is what puts us off.

  11. Oh Jen you made me laugh! I think they pick on the most unlikely looking person and think they'll find something interesting on them. As for kids on planes yes they're always around me too. Our children were old enough to behave when we first took them on a plane but now they expect babies to behave on flights and it's impossible. Maybe special family planes are needed then they can all cry together.

  12. If we had a tunnel from Scotland I might consider going elsewhere on holiday but the drive down to the euro tunnel I wouldn't like. Yes I've caught up on my sleep now but still miss the sunshine.

  13. Thanks Carol although I may be going back to being blonde again soon. I think the trick to flying is,not to think about the mechanics of it just believe,and sprinkle some fairy dust.

  14. Hi Larissa, Oh that's an awful time to fly. I know in Turkey it is cheaper for the airlines to land at night which is why they are all doing it.

  15. Yes Anne,it's just not natural. It's unfortunate that the airline that is doing the late night flights is the one with the most room. I think if we do it again we will leave our car at the airport to avoid the taxi queue,I was freezing. Have a lovely holiday in Oct,goodness it nearly is Oct already.

  16. Wow, what a great flight back from California. Just a pity you had to mix with us common folk on the London to Glasgow flight. :)

    I spend weeks, sometimes months, look forward to flying somewhere. My imagination tells me I'm doing something wonderfully exciting. Then I stand in the queue at the check-in desk and remember that all flights are long, tedious and uncomfortable. And yes, flying always makes me grumpy.

  17. Yes Shirley a once in a life time experience. We always think that this year it will be different but it's not. Jet 2 is the airline with much more room but all their flights from Glasgow are lates ones. Sorry no photos this time but I've just posted a new post with lots and lots more to come.

  18. Hey Anne, sorry I read this when you first wrote it but never posted a comment. I sometimes read them on phone at work and think I'll reply later and then forget. Having a comment catch up now though.

    I'm all excited flying out, I love the novelty of flight meals(not when you have to pay as an extra), I just find it all exciting. On the way back my tolerance definitely diminishes as I'm flying home to bad weather no doubt.

    Right off to Tukey diaries 2 now

  19. I do that too Kate mainly in bed when I can't sleep. Yes it's not so bad going but coming back with terrible flight times is awful.


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