So the countdown continues
Its now 11 days to go until the dreaded flight, and I must admit, I’m feeling fine about it at the moment. I have been prescribed my 5mg Diazepam so I know my safety blanket is now in place. Excited for this trip as haven’t been to the States since last June, during another conference.
My first flight in 13 years
So back to May 2014 and that terrifying first flight of mine. I had no sleep as mentioned in my previous post, the night before the flight, and stayed in a hotel overlooking the runway at Heathrow. I was mesmerized by how these massive metal objects weighing tonnes, took of with great ease, and soured into the night sky. To be honest, overlooking the runway in my room, probably wasn’t the best choice for me.
Morning of the flight
The morning soon came after many house of no sleep and watching terrible overnight TV. I literally lay there starring at the TV, with the Diazepam semi doing its job. I resisted ordering breakfast as I had no appetite at all. The flight was at 14:35 on a Sunday and I was a bag of nerves that morning. I got myself so worked up about flying that I vomited in the hotel bathroom.
Arriving at the airport was not fun for me at all. I have been in plenty of airports, but Heathrow was MASSIVE. I awaited for my colleague to arrive, and sure enough he turned up on time. Great, now I have to get on this flight, I thought. We had both already checked in online, so it was a case of bag dropping. We went to the bag drop area and the staff at Virgin Atlantic were really good. I mentioned that I was a nervous flyer to the lady checking us in, to which she replied “I don’t like flying either”. I thought what a great advert for their airline.
Security and Lounge area
We breezed through security, not that I didn’t expect we would. Part of me was hoping they would make an excuse to detain me and I would miss the flight, but no such luck. In the lounge my colleague wanted to get a drink and relax before the flight. I just wanted to take another Diazepam and go home. Orange juice was my drink of choice, not being able to drink alcohol and I sat in the bar with my colleague playing poker. This was a first for me, as I had never played poker before so it took my mind off where I was for a short while, but my mind would drift back. Not that you will want to hear this, but I must have run the toilet about 10 times in those two hours. I was literally Sh*****g myself.
Time to board
It was soon about an hour before scheduled departure, and we were just finishing our drinks, and getting ready to head to the gate. One last trip to the toilet was in order. So off to the gate we went, I felt sick to the stomach. Worst case scenario my life insurance was in order and I was ready to die. That is how I felt. I walked as slow as I possibly could, and we approached the gate, I saw some more toilets, so made a last minute trip. Deep breaths and pure adrenaline got me through the boarding gate and into the tunnel. At this point I could see the outside of the plane, and I felt more nauseous then ever. I just kept walking though, with children happily running up to the big scary white thing, with excitement in their eyes.
On the plane
I walked ever closer to the plane, and before I knew it a lovely Air Stewardess pointed me towards my seat. I immediately asked for some water so as I could take my next dose of medication. Here’s me in my seat. It’s not often I don’t smile!
The doors closed, and I heard “Crosscheck” and that was it, I was stuck on the plane. My heart was racing. We taxi’d down the taxi way and joined a queue. A queue to what though, certain death, doom, the bottom of the sea, a return to Heathrow because of fire, or the USA? What lay ahead for me in life right now?
The roar of the engines, being pushed back in your seat and hurtling down the runway at 200 mph, its just so unnatural, and I was perfectly prepared to pass out. But guess what I didn’t. The Diazepam had done enough of a job to just take that edge off enough. Enough for me to know where I was, what was happening, and that things were, well, OK! We took off and from the slightly bumpy runway came an instant smooth sensation. It was like the plane was happy to be in the air, and no longer on the ground. This made me realise something, and that was that the plane is happier in the air. Its what it was built for after all.
The 10 hour 30 min flight
The flight was roughly 10 1/2 hours long, and I was nervous for the majority of it. If I was a cartoon, this is what I would have looked like for the entire journey!
Every little shake saw me grabbing the arm rests. I was constantly checking that the cabin crew weren’t running down the isles with their hands in the air. They were actually just serving drinks and enjoying the idle chit chat with other passengers. I had told the cabin crew that I was nervous as we boarded, and I can honestly say they were very good at looking after me. They would check on me regularly, and even made me eat even though I had no appetite. I don’t mean force fed me, but passed me some food, for “In case I got hungry”, which I did eventually. There was so much tiredness and hunger at this point, that I had actually past caring.
I did it
The flight did go relatively fast considering the length of it, and I can honestly say it was one of the smoothest modes of transport I had ever used. The take off was smooth, the middle part showed no signs of turbulence, just the odd “bump”, and the landing was probably still the most smoothest I have ever experienced. Here is a quick night time shot of me outside the Chinese Theater with Sandra Bullock’s addition to the area with the stars
And the following morning after leaving the hotel, just look at that blue sky.
I look forward to seeing you back tomorrow for some more information on my trips, past and forthcoming!