Sunday, August 30, 2009


I love flying! However, I never flew until my early thirties. While many of my friends flew to popular Brit holiday spots like Spain and Portugal, I never did. So my first flight was with my then girlfriend to Athens, from where we were going to take a catamaran to the island of Spetses,

I was very excited. I loved every part of the flight, even when we hit a little turbulence!

We were due to get to Greece in the evening. I sat near the window, so I could see everything, and I'm glad I did, because as we approached Athens, we banked, and I had a beautiful view of lights up in the mountains. We actually had to walk across the tarmac once we'd landed, and I got my first experience of the Summer heat in Athens.

The arrival at Athens was less thrilling, since there was some mix up about where our party was meant to be going. The plane had arrived a little late and we were not going to be able to move on until the morning. Some of us started sleeping on the floor in the airport, until armed police moved us out! Our tour guide was able to get us to the city center, where we relaxed in the lounge of a hotel.

I have to say I still love flying, even though it's more of a chore these days with the family. Our flights to England are about 7 hours, the planes are not as comfortable, and the services are more limited. When I first started flying to the US, there was plenty of complimentary alcohol. Not so much these days. But for some reason, I still enjoy the turbulence!


Traci said...

I had a similar experience travelling to Greece. We were on our way to the island of Poros and when the plane landed in Athens, we were told that the coach and ferry weren't until the following morning. Athens airport armed guards wouldn't even let us sit on our suitcases! Poros was worth it though, very beautiful and quiet.

I don't mind flying between the US and the UK, though it does feel like more of a cattle market these days. When the turbulence comes, I have a moment of panic, then shut my eyes and realise there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. I do look at the air stewards for any sign of distress though - I figure they'd worry before we do!

Jet lag is becoming more of a problem as I get older. What about you Graham? And have you ever used meltonin (which is available in the US but not in the UK)?

Graham said...

@Traci - funny that you should have had such a similar experience at Athens. I think it probably happens all the time. We guessed that there was also money changing hands when the tour guides took us to the "very kind" hotel lounge, where we were encouraged to repay their hospitality by buying booze.

The flight between US and UK is good - it's the waiting before and after. And especially difficult with a toddler.

I don't have much of a problem with jetlag, to be quite honest. We often get an evening flight out of Newark, NJ which gets us to Heathrow about 8 or 9 in the morning. I don't really sleep on the plane - anticipation, I think. We rent a car too, so driving the 30 miles or so to Luton after the flight is pretty killer. We usually get to my parents' house and go to bed for a few hours.

After that, though, we're usually ok.

Pazcual said...

Well, I love the ground ergo I hate things that are not in the ground. My mom it's like you: she loves flying and the turbulence and the whole experience. I don't know how you guys do it, cause I avoid airplanes as much as I can.



Graham said...

@Pazcual - I'm so sorry you don't enjoy flying. But think about this - flying does have a significant effect on the environment. So perhaps you do have the right idea!

Cindy O said...

You know, I really hate flying! It may be a quick way to get from Point A to Point B and when necessary, I do it. But do I like it?

Hell, no!

Graham said...

@Cindy O - what is it you don't like about flying?

I don't enjoy the messing about before and after the flight, but I find the flight itself so exciting!

Cindy O said...

Graham, like you, I don't like the before and after flight routines!

But, also, on board, I don't like the confined space and sharing air with every other passenger, using the bathroom, the food, the "echo" in my ears...

What makes it bearable is that when I am going somewhere very far away, it gets me there pretty quick! Any place closer than a 6 or 7 hour drive, I'd get there faster by car!

Graham said...

@Cindy O - we regularly go to Michigan (much of my Wife's family is located there). That's a 14 hour drive. Still, we usually drive (over 2 days), since we usually have a lot of stuff, we need a car when we're there, etc. We also avoid the long waiting times at either end.

So I definitely hear you there!