Friday, January 22, 2010

Up Up and Away

I took my first plane ride when I was 10 years old. I got to fly to Holland for a 6 week vacation with my mom and my sister J. I. Was. Ecstatic. My mom told me that just as I was about to enter the plane, I turned to her and said "I'm going to fly on a plane!!" It was just the most magical thing. Back in those days, we'd fly charter flights from LA to Amsterdam. The charter airline was Martinair and schedules were fast and loose. You used to spend hours in the airport because of various delays. There were no movies on the flight, like today. You had to bring things on board to keep yourself entertained for the 12-13 hour flight. I have no idea what we brought on that flight, but I know that on other flights, we brought books, crosswords, even cross-stitch to while away the time.

I flew to Holland alone when I was 14. I had a boatload of suitcases on that trip. These were the days before you were really limited in what you could bring. I had 5 suitcases in descending size, and a carry-on. When I came back, I had 3 carry-ons, because I was taking home some presents for my parents. I was the last person through customs and the last person off the plane in LA. My parents thought that perhaps I'd missed the plane!

I've been to Europe and back a number of times now. The best flight was by far the time I got to fly business class. This was a business trip and the tab was footed by the company. Those days are now over, but I'm glad I got to experience it when I did. Large, reclining seats. TV in the armrest, watching unlimited movies. Nicer food, excellent drinks. Ah ... really lovely. The best thing was the FIFO (first in, first out) for business class travelers. My luggage was all marked "priority" so it was off the plane in no time. It's very cool to go from plane landing, through immigration and customs and through baggage claim in a total of about 30 minutes after a long trip. If only I could afford that now ...

I do love to fly ... not because sitting in a cramped seat is all the fabulous, but it means that somewhere, somehow, an adventure is starting ...

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