What a dreamboat.
—Holland Road (previously titled Home)
I just wanted to write this letter to thank you, from the bottom of my stress-shrivelled heart, for the outstandingly average quality of my flight from Johannesburg to England and, lucky me, England to Johannesburg, too.
I cannot thank you enough for overbooking the outbound flight, a policy I understand “everyone” is guilty of; like occasionally jumping the queue or baby seal clubbing. It was an utter delight to arrive at the airport and understand that I had been entered into some kind of aeroplane seat lottery. Hurray for me, I cried, as I jumped up and down gleefully. I didn’t want to sit next to my boyfriend, whom I was travelling with, anyway. I mean, obviously.
Finally being given a seat a full eight rows away from my boyfriend (I realise how jolly lucky I was, having paid a measly R8000 for a ticket, to get a seat at all - I would of course have been very happy to be stowed in the overhead locker) I delighted in the excessive time spent on the runway while small children squawked and wailed, kicking the back of my chair with jack-hammer force, my knees somewhere around my ears as I mercifully chugged back mini bottle after mini bottle of cheap merlot in a bid to blot out the terror.
Of course, my favourite bit was getting off the plane and watching the carousel go round and round, chuckling evilly at me as I watched every other person on the plane haul their luggage off and abandon Heathrow as fast as they could. Why was my luggage not there? Because you had oh so cleverly put it on the flight after mine, knowing that I would rather be crammed into a full flight and wait for my bag the other side, then take an emptier flight an hour later. This brilliant stroke of genius did not foresee that the following plane would be two and a half hours late, but that’s ok, I really enjoyed sitting on those metal bear-trap excuse for chairs in the lobby, my crumpled face and slept-in clothes just how I’d envisaged my WOO I’VE ARRIVED look.
Of course, my lovely holiday and time with friends and family at home made me almost, but not quite, forget all the excitement of my outstandingly awful flight. So joy in abundance when I trotted onto the plane, took an actual seat that I had actually been given with my ticket purchase (I was readying myself for a Battle Royale meets Hunger Games-esque death match between me and any other travellers at check-in, charged with scrapping over the last seat; I had been practicing my round house kick googlie punch and everything) and listened happily as a disembodied, ludicrously posh voice told me that there was a small technical glitch. No problem-oh, I thought, runways are fun places to sit after all.
10 minutes passed, then 20, then 40 - my teeny tiny lady bladder began to grumble. One hour, an hour and 20 minutes - harassed looking air stewardesses sashayed furiously past, expertly trained to be unable to catch any desperate-for-answers eye in the entire cabin. An hour and 30 minutes, two hours, two hours and fifteen minutes - at this point my eye began to twitch rapidly as my empty stomach growled like a feral beast, my clenched jaw slowly grinding down my molars. Finally taking off almost three hours later was just peachy. Fabulous, I thought, settling in for supper at 12:50 am, turbulence jerking my fast asleep bottom and pins and needles riddled legs.
Best flight ever, I wailed.