I have, a few times actually.
When I was growing up – a lot of our holidays were either in Scotland, the Lake District or France. Mum’s family have family in Southern France, so we did a lot of EuroCamp and Villa Holidays. Which meant a lot of driving, no flying. Whilst we were ‘comfortable’ enough to have a holiday every year, flying out just seemed out of reach financially – especially as there was five of us (parents and two younger brothers). But also, I think my parents were worried about taking younglings on a plane. We’d either hate it, and be bratty. Or we’d love it and get overexcited. And nothing says ‘the holiday has begun’ quite like screaming children.
But my parents had spent their honeymoon in Menorca, and wanted to spend their 10th anniversary returning there. But, because we’ve never been on time for anything, they missed it and went on their 12th anniversary – taking us kids with them. I’d have been 10, my brothers 8 and 6. Old enough to recognise the ‘look’ our parents had for when we were being bratty in public, and that we’d pay for it in private.
I remember being nervous. I was sitting in the window seat, with my dad next to me and my mum and brothers behind us. My dad didn’t take my hand, but told me it would be fun. The engine was so loud. The plane shook like an old bus and then we were shooting down the runway and into the air. People cheered and whooped, which made me giggle. And I was fine after that. The landing was a bit bumpy, but the ride between England and Menorca was just like being on a loud bus, and that analogy has stuck with me every time I’ve flown since.
Strange coincidence but for a long time, the only place I flew to began with the letter M.
Menorca. Morocco. Margarita (an Island of Venezuela). Maldives, The.
We did, as a family, branch out into other letters like R: Rome. Romania.
And my first trip without my parents was to New York – because I’m a white girl. Basic to the bone.
Of course, that was a drama all of its own. When we arrived at the airport, my friend and I were so excited about flying to New York. It’s a dream destination – everyone’s been and everyone recommends it. And it’s in all the movies and television shows and it’s full of excitement and money and WOW. So we’re sat in the gatehouse, waiting for our flight and the news is playing on a massive widescreen television. The headline? ‘American Airline Plane Catches Fire on Runway.‘
Who are we flying within ten minutes? American Airlines. My friend starts freaking out because the woman behind us (having seen the news) has started hyperventilating.
And I say something that could only come from my mouth because I’ve spent time with my dad. “Well. It’s unlikely to happen twice in two days.” That did not make people feel better – FYI. But we made it to NY City in one piece. No exploding planes.
Since then, each trip has felt more and more like being on a conveyer belt. This could, in part, be because each time I’ve flown I’ve had the airport security grope and man-handle me like I’ve got something hidden in my shirt. Some airports want you to take off your shoes, some don’t – and people get really snarky if you’re not aware of the rules specific to the airport you’re in. And I can understand why this has to be the case. But it doesn’t stop flying feeling like a loud, shakey conveyor belt. I’m not one of those people who ‘loves traveling’ because of the travel. It’s not ‘the journey’ for me. But the experience of being there. Eating their food, walking their shores. Planes are just the awkward bit in the middle.
So, yes I’ve been on an aeroplane. Yes, I’ll fly again (once I’m less poor). And who knows to where!
Got any suggestions? I’d love to hear them! See you soon!