Ever since my flight had been booked I had been dreading this moment. Saying bye to my parents for 3 months and flying away from them. On.My.Own. It was ridiculous really, having never had this fear before. The angst that I felt was multiplied by my reluctance to say goodbye to my family and I had successfully pushed it out my head for the majority of the 2 weeks.
The night before I was so anxious I gave myself tummy ache, I just wanted time to hurry up and I willed it to be morning. Hugging me, my mum kindly offered me her cuddly camel to take on the plane.
There was too big a risk of me crying in the airport/and or plane. A 22 year old crying and clutching a cuddly camel is not a great image when you’re meant to be Miss Independent.
Waking up at 7am I felt sick to my stomach. Sitting on my straining pink suitcase I decided it was definitely time to admit defeat and buy a bigger one. Two week stints in Abu Dhabi are just too long for my sugar pink companion. On the way there someone even mistook it for handluggage its that small.
Travelling taught me to travel light but I hadn’t realized how much of my Dad’s hard earned cash I was going to spend on clothes whilst I was out there….
Half way to the airport we had a call from Mum’s lovely friend Sue who was flying out with her (equally) lovely daughter to Heathrow 2 hours before me –
From the look on Mum’s face I knew it was BAD news and I felt my already churned stomach tighten even further.
‘Sue says your flight has been delayed till 2pm’
Oh goody. Just what you want to hear at 7: 45am in the morning en route to the flaming airport.
Decided to go ahead and check in anyway and we were then umming and ahhing whether to leave the airport and come back or what when we noticed a young girl crying and talking to a member of staff.
The staff member gestured for her to have a sit down, near to me, and said she would come back and try and help.
The girl continued to cry and I felt upset for her. I was just debating whether or not to open my mouth and ask her if she was ok when mum went and stood by her and said quietly
‘is there anything I can do?’
She explained she had been in a car crash coming from Dubai and so missed her flight to Heathrow this morning. She was upset as she was only nineteen and a student and didn’t have the cash to be spending on a new flight.
Abi (I found out her name at least an hour later when we suddenly realized we hadn’t a clue what each other’s name was) insisted that there was nothing mum could do but mum had entered into full flight mother hen mode and started hunting down the general manager until he had transferred her onto the next flight to Heathrow at 1 30. Free of charge.
Mum then made sure I was entitled to a food voucher due to the delay and the man was kind enough to say he would make sure Abi got one too. We just had to go to either the flight transfer desk or the gate and pick one up.
Hugging mum goodbye we were both very teary but it was actually a relief to have Abi with me because it was a big distraction. We headed straight to security where there was miraculously no queue. I’m surprised I didn’t cause a queue because he made me take off every single piece of jewellery including my shoes.
I still beeped.
Even more worryingly I noticed that instead of looking at the contents of my bag on his computer screen the security man was secretly texting under the keyboard desk – not exactly ideal when you’re a nervous flyer with an over reactive imagination.
After that palava we then enquired where the flight transfer desk was. A man kindly took us and pointed us back where we came – back through security.
Oh for goodness sake I thought
‘well we may as well’ I sighed to Abi ‘we’ve got enough time to kill’
Went back through security which until today I didn’t realize was even possible. Found the flight transfer desk and the queue was ridiculous. People were sitting down and looked like they had been for a while.
We queued for 5 minutes and then gave up
‘He said they were giving them at the gate so we could just try there’ I suggested
Tried and failed to persuade the security people to let us through without checking us a second time. Of course they were having none of it but I did manage this time to keep all my jewellery and shoes ON.
I didn’t beep.
Don’t ask me how that works because I don’t know..
We traipsed to the Gate – surprise suprise it was number 32 and the furthest away.
Got to the gate – completely empty.
Tried in vain to see if the airport staff could just get us 2 vouchers but everyone just insisted we went to the flight transfer desk.
Neither of us could face going through security a third time so we resigned ourselves to paying a small fortune for an airport breakfast.
I’d just like to add here when I was explaining this story to my friend Alicia I said
‘Yeah so I was offered a free breakfast voucher for my wait’
‘What????’ She exclaimed looking shocked ‘because of your WEIGHT?!?!’
No no not my WEIGHT although I must admit I do look like I would appreciate a breakfast voucher or two.
Anyway spent a ridiculous amount on a coffee and a pastry and then decided a bit later on to opt for a Burger King with Abi. Opting for 5 chicken pieces that looked very large and juicy on the picture I was slightly devastated when they came as pieces smaller than my big toe.
After a lot of waiting around Abi and I said bye – it was funny how both of us were in a bad situation (hers worse than mine) and yet we managed to help each other despite being complete strangers.
Boarding the plane I nearly jumped up and down with delight at being put next to a very sweet elderly couple who would clearly look after me should I turn into a sobbing wreck.
‘Hello!!’ I said cheerfully plonking myself down next to the man ‘Good holiday?’
(He was probably thinking OH NO last thing I need is some irritating chatterbox sitting next to me for the entire 7 hour flight – in fact that would explain why he switched places with his wife as soon as the seatbelt sign went off…)
They seemed very friendly and I soon felt a lot better about the fact I was trapped in a metal prison that was soon to be flying 33 000 feet in the air across the world.
Every lurch of the plane made my stomach plait itself into several knots and I could feel my heart pounding the entire journey.
‘FOR GOODNESS SAKE YOU IDIOT’ I shouted inwardly at myself
Luckily the food came and there was not one, but two curries to choose from so that distracted me for a little bit.
No one was more relieved than me when we touched down.
I’m going again in less than 2 months so lets hope I get a grip before then!