As I tap away this week I am at 34,000 ft sitting on a rather lovely new Airbus (it’s only 2 weeks old I have just been informed). I ‘m not the best flyer and I am still undecided as to whether or not this is a comfort. I’ll let you know if we arrive in one piece….in fact if you’re reading this we did!
Although I love a trip abroad as much as anyone I can’t help but feel that the magic of the actual journey to said destination has disappeared somewhat as I have become older. A full night’s sleep the eve of the holiday would always be impossible, way too excited. The Mother was (and still is) a bit of a panicker when it comes to getting to the airport on time. I can remember being bundled into a freezing car in what felt like the middle of the night to embark on the holiday adventure. Hours of fun would ensue at London Gatwick airport whereby my brother and I would try to persuade the parents into purchasing some kind of duty free item. Normally batteries. The Discman took about 8 AA’s if I remember correctly and we couldn’t possibly run out. Someone would get lost, at least once. We would all have fallen out with each other and made up at least twice before boarding time. Where we would then inevitably visit the wrong gate first.
The real fun began when we slipped into our seats aboard our 747 or whatever craft it happened to be. As soon as you walked down that corridor you would be able to smell the inflight meal. Sweating food sitting in its little aluminum tray, ready to be peeled back for inspection. For me, the magic was in discovering what the food would be. All those little sections in your tray each brimming with some equally inedible but brilliant food item. There were always carrots too I’m sure, regardless of the time of day.
Then the swaps would commence. “Are you eating that sausage, I’ll give you my roll for that if you want?” “Gimmie your chocolate as well and you’re on.” We normally had two rows behind each other and so the trading would start until we all felt we’d had a pretty decent meal.
The rise in air travel and the emergence of budget airlines has seen the end of the short haul inflight meal and while I never was a fan of the food I miss the occasion of it all. The anticipation and surprise, the smell, the condensation, the swapping. I tend to make do with a bag of mini cheddars and a warm white wine now, but I always remember the good old days. Love them or hate them inflight meals signaled the start of what would surely be a wonderful holiday.
And if you ask me everything tastes the same at 34,000 feet anyway….Apart from the egg sandwiches. I’d give them a miss if I were you.
|The glory days...|
|The safest option.|
|The "egg" sandwich. So generously filled.|