10 WAYS TO SURVIVE A FLIGHT

You know how it is; You’ve just sat down in your seat after being battered by crappy British weather, while standing on the aeroplane steps waiting for the diva a few passengers ahead to find space for her three over-sized cases.

You’ve been pushed, shoved, brushed up against and had numerous pieces of luggage get to know the side of your head very well and the struggle to find your aisle seat is real.

So, hiding your exhausted glee when your seat number magically appears in front of you like a handsome dark-haired knight on a white horse, the next round of horror appears when you see who you get as a plane buddy.

Now, this could be a grumpy middle-aged person who smells of coffee and cigarettes, being very obvious with their disdain at being in such close proximity with youth. Or it could be a stuffy businessman with his bluetooth tusk attached to his ear and has already ordered three double whiskey’s before the plane has even taken off, and smells only of the whiskey’s the night before and the mint gum to ‘mask’ it.

But you know realistically it will never be a sexy doctor with the face of an angel, the scent of a Dior male model and the personality of someone with actual social skills.

Never.

So, feeling like an expert at this having spent the whole of yesterday plane hopping and travelling around Europe, I thought I would share my sanity (and health) saving tips to make any plane journey, a little more enjoyable.

No matter who you’re sat next to.

1. Windeze

I mean, I know it’s probably tempting to release your intestinal gasses freely if you’re sat next to the world’s most awful person, but the air is circulated so… What goes around, comes around.

When I fly, I find my stomach often bloats due to air pressure or thanks to the excessive amount of air I’ve over-breathed during a period of panic about the left phalange. (Cue Friends nostalgia)

In short, pop a Windeze just before the flight and you and your plane bud will enjoy the air you breathe, a little more.

2. Keep Hydrated 

And I don’t mean with alcoholic beverages, free or not. Alcohol only ever dehydrated you and will serve no purpose whatsoever. The effects of alcohol are increased at high altitude so you’re at risk of getting drunk very quickly, having a shocking hangover and/or acting a total k-nob on a plane. Which, lets face it, aint a smart move.

So, buy a bottle of water after security or on the plane and get drinking. It will help keep your skin hydrated too, as flights are prone to dry out skin. If you’re not keen on neat water, you could carry a small fruit juice squeeze bottle in your carry on as they’re under 100mls and are very compact. Most supermarkets sell them.

3. Wear Roomy Layers

If, like me, you suffer from bloating or the odd roll of extra stomach when sat in the worlds most uncomfortable chair, wearing loose-fitting clothing is the best thing you’ll ever do. We all know that those plane lap-belts are positioned in the very unflattering area just under your belly, and despite efforts to yank it up and push one’s stomach under the belt, you still end up looking like you’re on your way to audition for the next docudrama for The Worlds Fattest Woman.

Also the temperature on planes is more unstable than the current UK markets, so wearing layers will definitely keep you comfortable and covered.

Win win. (I hate that saying)

4. Anti-Sickness Tablet

But don’t do what I did and take it too soon before the flight and dramatically stumble to the toilet as soon as the belt sign light turned off just after take off, and heave loudly into the metal loo. In a room the size of a coffin. During turbulence. Then have to make your way back to your seat looking worse for wear, rummaging around for mints.

No, take the tablet at the time stated on the packet like a sensible human being and it’ll work a treat.

*Always read instruction leaflet before taking because safety first.

5. Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel/Wipes

Airlines are very open these days on admitting planes are not the most hygienic of places.

If you’re flying with a budget airline or with an aircraft that does multiple flights a day, it is well-known that thorough cleaning is not always guaranteed, therefore, many germs will still be around the aircraft and on your seat/ table.

So pretty simple, use hand gels or wipes regularly and before eating. And you should remain fairly healthy.

6. Headphones

Audio books, music, downloaded films… The list goes on for the many uses of a pair of headphones. But there, for me, is nothing worse than the annoying sound you get with sitting in close proximity of someone you don’t know.

Chewing gum, noisy eating, low murmuring, snoring. ARRGHH!!!

Give me a plane-ful of screaming children or a crying baby any day but noisy eaters and crisp packet rustling is my petest hate, as my mother would say.

So, on top of entertainment, headphones are very useful for drowning out the inconsiderate.

7. Pay Attention To Instructions

When I said in the title “10 Ways To Survive A Flight”, I didn’t just mean surviving the annoying, germy bits.

Those safety instructions demonstrated by the flight attendants are for a good reason. And what better reason than your safety.

If you’re a frequent flyer you may assume you know all the safety procedures and therefore, may not pay attention. But safety procedures can differ slightly between airlines and it’s always good to be fully in the know of where your life jacket is and how the oxygen masks work.

For example, it was only this flying trip that I fully understood you have to tug on the oxygen pipe to activate it when putting the mask on. I didn’t need to thankfully, but it was helpful to know.

Don’t be that person on their phone or already with your sleep mask on while the flight attendants are ensuring your safety.

8. Smelling Salts/Olbas Stick

So, the worst thing possible (apart from crashing) has happened.

You’ve sat next to someone smelly. They either haven’t taken a Windeze or they haven’t washed in three years and now you’re sat next to them with air circulation and stomach protruding lap belts and your nose literally feels like it’s about to die.

Ah ha! But you have brought along a small jar of smelling salts or =, my favourite, the Olbas inhalant stick and you can use this essentially to block out the hideous smell next to you. All the while pretending you have a cold, so you’re not blatantly obvious that you can’t handle the odour.

Also good for congestion if the air pressure is getting you right in the sinuses.

9. Move Your Legs

Because deep vein thrombosis.

10. Lip Balm

Unless you have an unfulfilled desire to look like you have just trekked the Sahara Desert, I strongly suggest you invest in a lip balm. It doesn’t need to be a million pound one from Diptique (or whatever), but just a simple lip balm with good moisturising goodness will keep your lips smooth and hydrated.

So there you have it. 10 ways to survive a flight.

A couple of disclaimers:

  1. This post is not sponsored by Windeze
  2. Yes I do bloat, I did vomit and my tolerance levels to vile noises is unhealthily low.
  3. I’m not glamorous. But I don’t smell, drink or eat noisily so 10 Gryffindor points to me!

Safe travels…

NORWAY • DAY ONE|PLANES, LAMA’S & PAVLOVA

Friday 29th July 2016 – Day One

Having been approached by a homeless drunk  asking for money (who turned out to be very pleasant), and being glared at by the girlfriend of a man I’d previously asked for help, I boarded the National Express from Bath 20 minutes late and began the 4 hour journey to London Gatwick.

The journey was fine, I slept on the coach and quietly ate my breakfast. It was still sinking in that I was on my way to an airport and I wasn’t coming home later that day. Twelve years on since my last trip abroad, I was not used to getting into the mindset of leaving England and my family, for such a long time. And to be honest, the whole feeling was rather exciting.

Arriving at Gatwick Terminal South, I slung my over-filled rucksack over my shoulder and clutched the handle on my suitcase and set off in the direction of check-in.

Going through security and check-in at Gatwick was single-handedly one of the most stressful experiences of my life. And I’ve been through a lot. Walking up the stairs to security, having ditched my water bottle and leaking banana, things felt reasonably calm. A feeling I would soon realise to be a false sense of security.

With the scene in front of me resembling what I imagine to be something quite similar to a Syrian border office, I was met with a wall of people queuing, bags and suitcases in hand, pushing and shoving each other. Each face had its own concerned and troubled expression, with eyes like a rabbit in headlights. I fear it wasn’t long before I looked pretty similar.

I spotted a free inch or three on a table where people were shoving liquids into a clear plastic bag provided by the airport, and becoming unusually territorial, I trotted like a kicked-up-the-arse-cow over and nabbed those precious free couple of inches. I had been organised enough before I left home to separate the liquids I was taking into a clear bag, but I noted here was a size limit on the bag’s provided by the airport. So conscious of not making my first criminal offence, I adhered to procedure’s and transferred it all into their own bag.

It was at this point the zip on my new (new) rucksack decided to break. The panic and fury that started to build inside me put me rapidly at risk of looking even more like a nervous wreck, so I did a pretty thuggish kick of my rucksack along the floor in order to keep my place at in the packed queue. There I was, juggling a passport, boarding pass, plastic bag of liquids, a broken rucksack and trying to fish out my ipad so I didn’t hold said queue up, I already looked dodgy as hell.

After about 5 minutes of being bumped into, shoved and stared intensely at by a 7-year-old boy holding a teddy, clearly trying to work out in his head how airlines allow twitchy human beings such as me to get on the same plane as potentially him, it was suddenly my turn to go through the beep machine.

Putting on my “I genuinely have nothing to hide and I was once a member of GirlGuiding” face and placing my belongings neatly in the trays, I proceeded to nonchalantly wander through the beep machine.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!!! 

“Oh Holy Jesus” I screeched as what seemed like every alarm in the building went off following my emergence from the beep machine. Before I knew what I’d done, I was immediately told to stand to one side and take off my shoes. I did a little prayer that my feet hadn’t acquired any fluff since 6 hours ago.

What occurred next can only be described as a necessary evil. Not only was I now bearing skin (feet and ankle) in public, I was then frisked (by actual hand) by a woman officer. Legs, waist, arms. And then I was shouted at for having something in my pocket. Upon being told to remove it, and noting that the officer had stepped back for the removal, I did a mini prayer that the passport I’d previously shoved in my left pocket had not suddenly turned into a pound of class A drugs. Fortunately and unsurprisingly, it was still my passport, and after more frisking, I was waved on. Shaking and with the driest mouth since chewing on a plain Rivita, I hurriedly collected my things and walked through duty-free in a frenzied daze. Completely bypassing anything ‘discounted’.

img_0393  

The rest of the morning went fairly smoothly and without drama. After trailing around the airport looking at the shops with hiked up prices, I acknowledged my rumbling tummy and went to a place called Wondertree for brunch.

It was good, but what really made everything great; I could see the planes landing and taking off. There were a couple of incidences where a man thought I was taking a deep interest in his face but I didn’t have the heart to tell him that a very fast KLM had just taken off out of his left ear. Essentially. He was sat by the window…

When asked what I would like to order, I indulged in being quintessentially British for one last time, and felt compelled to order avocado on toast with tea. It was yummy.

Ok, a million hours later and 11.20am finally comes around. Boarding time!

Clutching my passport and boarding pass, standing in line grinning to myself like Mr Bean on his first holiday, I catch a glimpse of the massive creature that’s about to fly me 37,000 feet in the sky. I’m talking about the plane, not the pilot. I didn’t see him but I’m sure he’s very slim. He had a nice over-the-tannoy-voice too.

Settling myself into my seat (17c for those closet plane enthusiasts), I spot the man I’m sitting next to and launch in with introducing myself. “Hello, I’m Amy. This is my first plane ride by myself so if I start getting freaked out, don’t panic!” I say with far too much enthusiasm in my voice.

“I’m sure you’ll be fine.” He says with a slightly nervous smile on his face, and without even looking at me, plugs his earphones in to his ear and ‘reads’ something on his phone. We didn’t exchange a single glance or word the entire flight. Take off was bloody scary and how I didn’t inadvertently clutch the man’s leg or scream, I don’t know.

For the majority of the flight I kept dozing. Or at least I think that’s what it was, and not passing out. I’d taken travel sickness pills which cause drowsiness, so I was thankful I had a solid reason for occasionally missing chunks of the flight. I hope to god I didn’t dribble.

The fun came when we started our decent into Norway. I decided then would be a fabulous time to put some make up on so I didn’t resemble an extra from The Walking Dead when I greeted my friend at arrivals. Maneuvering the small space, ear pressure and a heavy rucksack, I retrieved my make up bag and started to line things up on my fold down tray. Well, anyone would have thought I’d started to unload little toy bombs and missiles given the amount of tut’s and sighs I was getting.

Apparently ladies, making yourself look pretty for arriving in a new country is off-limits. Who knew?

Landing was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. After bumping the back wheels like a kid on a new bicycle, the pilot then whacked the brakes on, what I considered to be far too early, and there was a sort of metallic grinding sound as we continued to bump along the tarmac.

Disembarking from the plane was relatively easy, as was customs and baggage reclaim. Very speedy and with such a small airport, there was no option for getting lost.

Before I knew it, I was walking through the doors of arrivals and when I saw my friend standing there, I don’t think I can explain how happy I suddenly felt.

The adrenaline was soaring through me and we chatted and chatted in the car, on the way to where she lives with her husband. I could barely stop smiling. We stopped briefly at a place called Aksla, in Alesund, where the following pictures were taken.

image

image

And after chatting quite a lot more about the last 3 years of our lives, we arrived in the town of Tresfjord, where they live. And where I would be staying for the next week.

image

As you may be able to tell from the above picture, I was introduced to some lama’s. This was my first encounter with a lama outside of a zoo and without a mesh fence as a barrier. It went well, but given the look on my face, a Vallium would have gone down well before the meeting.

Only a month previous to this, my friend posted a picture of one of these Lama’s on her front doorstep.

There was so much to look forward to already…

Their house is beautiful. Set basically in a forest, every window I looked out of were either trees or mountains. The view from their living room was fresh out of a fairytale.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, Ewelina presented the most delicious looking Pavlova she’d made for my arrival. It was spectacular and very yummy indeed!

image

My first evening in Norway was spent eating delicious food, in the company of great friends, having a good old catch up.

Being able to visit friends after three years apart and just pick up where you left off, as though time never really moved, is a very special thing.

I went to bed with a huge feeling of happiness and excitement for the week to come.