Flying can be a joy or a rant, depends on how it all pans out. Here are some things that completely drive you nuts on the domestic haul.
I am not what you call a frequent flier. I mean I’ve had jobs where I have to live out of a suitcase for months, and some where my commute only went as far as Noida. But sure, I’m not one of those people with a black stroller, business jacket and a vacant expression. Having said that, I have had my share of domestic hauls (my favourite destination being Bangalore) and today, I’m going to share some of my thoughts and experiences on flying domestic in India:
The Airport is always full.
It seems to me that the airport is the most happening place to be. It just doesn’t stop surprising me. There are always people, and more people, and this seems to be the case after the International Terminals are totally segregated. So I don’t book weekend flights, and I don’t take Mondays because a lot of corporates have meetings to attend (good for you!). I avoid 10 PM flights for the same logic, and Friday seems to be the day people want to head out to party, or, come back home. This gives me a window of three days—and even when I book an afternoon flight, which should ideally have a handful of writers, go getters and escapists, the flights are full. Who are these people? Where are they going? Are they doing this to update their Facebook? I’ll never know.
A little more respect for others?
I have very limited upper arm strength so I usually carry my laptop bag (which I never use in a domestic flight) and my camera case on my shoulders. As if the aisle isn’t narrow enough, there is always someone who takes up to a minute to shove his laptop bag, stroller and jacket while others stand! And after all this time, he has managed to forget something which makes me almost feel bad for the cabin crew who has already requested you NOT open the overhead compartment. Here’s an idea: do this while you’re waiting at the airport. A little less phone-checking, a lot more time saved.
Get your own window seat!
I usually check-in a day in advance—and reserve a window seat. Or else, I ask for one at the counter. I avoid middle seats like the plague because the idea of being wedged in, gives me a migraine. 30 rows, 60 window seats, yet I find people to want me, to what, switch seats? While I want to ask if they’ve heard of something called the Internet, I end up saying an audible “no”. Many a times, I feel a nudge and there it is, someone’s hand two inches away from my face, taking a picture of the airport. I usually keep my cool up to 3 photos but once I heard this lady’s phone camera whoosh about 7 times. I ask her to chill out and shut the window until takeoff. Message received?
Why is water such a problem?
For the record, I think it’s completely insane that a 30 rupee water bottle costs up to 100 bucks (or more) at the airport. Sure, I am all up for maintenance and I’m a tax paying citizen but this is too much. Water, is water, and we live in a tropical country! If that wasn’t enough, we get a lame cup of water when we ask for it on a flight. What is that? Like 5 ml?
Take a bath, or don’t take anything off!
I have gotten up at 4 AM for a 6AM flight, had a shower, worn clean clothes (and perfume) and headed to the airport. If you feel, for some reason, or want of sleep, that you DON’T want to get clean, then at least don’t take anything off. Sure you’d me more comfortable sans blazer but I really don’t want to smell Delhi on you. And to all those people who take off their shoes, do you have no sense of smell? If you’re a frequent flier, and have a travel pillow to show for it, why haven’t you found an antibacterial odour spray? Or soap for that matter?
Reclining is not rocket science
I think I was in class 4 when my Dad sent me alone on a plane and I had no idea NOT to recline my seat when others are eating. I remember how embarrassed I was when an Air India air hostess corrected me. Twenty years later, I am having it done to me. Not by cute toddlers having some fun but by grown-ups. An average seat pitch is just 30 inches; so if you decide to recline your seat without checking if I’m still eating, (for a post lunch nap), yeah, my Coke is gonna be in my lap.
What’s the hurry, dude?
After a somewhat skiddish landing comes the time we’re all so annoyed that you just wanna yawn, and check Instagram. Two hours of little sleep and lots of nudges, I am usually calling my mom (I know!), when there’s a commotion. A recorded message that advises us to keep sitting (and avoid injuries) is wilfully ignored, ‘coz you’re the dude. Not only are most people done making loud phone calls but already a part of a crooked line. And when window passengers like me try to get out, there is no space. Or chivalry. Oh let me guess, you’re in a hurry? This plane is not going anywhere. And your bags will still show up 15 minutes after. You will still have to wait like the rest of us.
This post was first published on Inspired Traveller.