The Perfect Flight

Our next flight..... In three hours.

I travel with a good head. Be it underground or overground, I always aim to have a smile on my face. There are many things in life that will get us down throughout our years, but travelling with fellow members of our species should not be one of them.

A modern day miracle, travel. The Globe, this planet of ours, Earth, is as wide as it is tall and at first, seems gargantuan to understand.

Driven by the endless curiosity of what is a core component of the human condition slowly, the world has shrunk. Lands of far away with their mystic tales of food, wine and weather are now at the beck and call to anyone who may have the time and the inclination. The Earth, is open.

So why would it be, deep within this modern day miracle, that you would find miserable men (or women)? Why? I am yet to understand. I dare to think that I will never understand. For I, above all else, enjoy travel.

With a smile on my face, I face the world. With a smile on my face, the world faces me and, it is with this sentence I declare my love for The Perfect Flight.

Flying home from the US of A after a week of riding horseback across mountains, knowing you have over six hundred emails to respond to, discovering that your row of four seats has only one occupant; you. That is the perfect flight.

Spending the entire Summer taking plane journeys, one after the other after the other after the other, each time with new members to your gang. 30 plane rides, each time yearning for the one you love to be with you. Flight 31, she’s there. With you. Next to you. You wake up halfway across the Atlantic and you can’t believe she’s there with you. You sleep and you smile. That is the perfect flight.

Leaving London, walking. At your own pace. Traversing the underground, picking up packages en route. Travelling. Working. Train-ing to the airport. Relaxing. Resting. Focusing. Terminal 5. You arrive. There’s no queue for check-in. The man behind the counter takes your bags, makes a phone call. You smile. Make a joke. Say thank you. Later, when boarding, your pass buzzes. “That’s not good.” I half-joke, the attendant looks at me again “Sometimes it is.” – we wait. He nods, knowingly. “It’s your lucky day” he says, “Enjoy your flight sir”. Checking my ticket my seat number has changed. 17A is now 3G. First class. That is the perfect flight.

Your perfect flight may come in any shape or size, you just need to know where to look.

My advice? Be nice to people.

Say please and say thank you. After all, a wink and a smile can go a very long way.

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12 thoughts on “The Perfect Flight”

  1. I also love flying and traveling. I think the key is to expect everything to go wrong. Before I even leave for the airport, I typically make up my mind that there *will* be an issue picking up my ticket, there *will* be an abnormally long line in security, and there *will* be at least three people ahead of me who appear to be unable to read instructional signs and are seemingly flying for the first time. I fully anticipate that my gate will change a few times last-minute, that I’ll be in the last group called to board, and that I’ll end up sitting next to a screaming baby the whole flight.

    Sounds morbid, but this way, when none of those things happen (they usually don’t), it makes the whole experience that much better. Similarly, when any one of or combination of those things DO happen, I’ve already expected and planned for them, so they don’t ruin the fun.

    last of all, there’s really not much that can happen prior to the flight that’s enough to cancel out the awesomeness of looking out the window as you take off and land.

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    whatleydude Reply:

    Ricky, two things:

    1) Thanks for commenting almost within minutes of me hitting publish. It’s always good to know someone else has you in their RSS reader πŸ™‚

    2) That’s not a bad strategy at all; expect the worse and therefore never be disappointed.

    Good job πŸ™‚

    PS. Re take off and landing? Totally agree. Flying over London on the way home from many a far flung part of the world is always a highlight.

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  2. I love travel.

    I put on a good attitude to deal with the airport, a smile, get their early, and bring a book. When I have a good book, I don’t mind waiting.

    ;o)

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    whatleydude Reply:

    Jen, same here. Maybe that’s the trick.

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  3. Another travel lover here.

    Any adventure starts in the airport. I love people. I love watching people. I love trying to work out where someone is going to/coming from by virtue of their luggage/clothes/hairstyle or funky hat!

    But maybe that is the stalker in me, and I should try not to incriminate myself by typing any more…..

    Suffice to say, I always embark on any journey from my house with manners and courtesy for anyone I come into contact with. Although this procedure is lacking in such tangible benefits such as yours James with the unexpected ‘left turn’ as you boarded your flight, I hope it will come to fruition one day.

    It is always tempting to scorn a fellow person who neglects to hold the door open for you, or be polite when you do so for them. But to do so would be lowering yourself to their level.

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    whatleydude Reply:

    Exactly Steve. Exactly. πŸ™‚

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  4. James, thanks for this very nice post. In case I come to London someday, I would like to say hello πŸ˜‰

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  5. Some people complain about flying with budget airlines like Ryanair. I don’t mind at all, and in fact usually enjoy those flights. I don’t rush to get on, but still manage to get a seat in the first row several times. Even if it’s the middle seat, at least I get to stretch my legs while watching and listening to the flight attendants as they go about their work. Rather interesting really.

    And being nice definitely helps. Knowing that most flight attendants don’t get paid for the time they spend on the ground, I’m extra thankful for their assistance at check in and so on. In turn I have been given those free upgrades a couple of times.

    If things doesn’t go smoothly, I chalk it up to another travel adventure story I can share later, and always make sure I have enough gadgets to keep me entertained πŸ™‚

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  6. I’m so with you James, I absolutely love travelling and feel like the adventure really does begin at the airport. Even when I’m dropping or picking people up I get butterflies in my tummy! Like Steve, I love people watching and guessing where they’re off to and looking at the departure and arrival boards to see what exotic locations people are flying in from.

    I’m fortunate enough to travel regularly both for business and pleasure, and I will never tire of strolling into the terminal, clutching my passport and looking forward to taking in the airport before boarding my flight, always smiling, always polite, always ready to chat to people and remind them to have a good day!

    I often travel standby, which can be a bit of a lottery and even though I’ve sat at both Denver and O’Hare airports watching flight after flight go without me, I’m still not put off – it just makes the confirmed trips that little bit sweeter!

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