Yes, I am writing this post on the plane as we speak. I’m about halfway through the flight, and I believe I might be getting odd looks. This could either be because I’m fanning the pages of my old journal just to get a hint of that deliciously oaky smell; or because at other times I’ve got my scarf pressed firmly to my nose. This will all make sense later, but for now, I must dive into the “worst flight I’ve ever been on in my life.”
Have you ever had a connecting international flight in Heathrow Airport? If you have, you may know how this is going to begin. I arrived in London in Terminal 1 after a lovely hop across the pond on BMI. I exited the aircraft and began to make my way to Terminal 5. Or shall I say, across the Sahara Desert. To get there, I went up and down like 10 different escalators. I followed purple signs pointing my way through tunnel after tunnel. I not so patiently stood in line through 2 security checkpoints. I guess the first checkpoint was just practice and the one in Dublin didn’t count. I then took a bus across the airport just to get to British Airways. If I had known all of this, I would’ve just parachuted out of the plane during landing to shorten my trek.
I make it to my gate just in time. No wait. It’s delayed because the air conditioning on the aircraft is broken. I’m now pissed not because I rushed all that way, but because I don’t have my IPhone so I can get on Facebook and publicly bitch about all of this. My stomach is grumbling and my head hurts, but I try to calm down and see some sort of positive.
Those positive thoughts fly out the window when I sit down in my seat. Sure, I’ve got the exit row and a ton of leg room, but some careless passenger drops a box while trying to put it away above me and it falls ON MY FACE. I am seriously not kidding here, nor exaggerating for comedic purpose. It conveniently lands on the sweet spot of my nose and tears jump to the front of my eyes. My head is in my hands, I’m crying, the flight attendant is asking me if I need ice, and people are gathered around me in concern. No wait, they’re not. They’re pushing past trying frantically to get their luggage stowed. At least the culprit is apologizing profusely.
I pull myself together as everyone gets settled and close my eyes for a little snooze. Now for the worst part, and I only realize this as the commotion of boarding has ended and everyone is in their seat. The man across the aisle from me has the worst body odor in the history of body odor. He makes my junior high students of past smell like gems. And they were going through puberty. Now, please refer back to my opening paragraph. I’m halfway through my flight and I’ve had my scarf pressed to my nose the entire time. Even a flight attendant tries to discreetly spray air freshener in our area to no avail. This smell has not, and I’m guessing will not, go away.
I’m thinking maybe I can ignore it to fall asleep, but I quickly learn the man in the seat behind me can’t really use his legs that well, so every time he has to use the restroom, he has to use my seat as leverage. This doesn’t make me angry. I understand. It’s not his fault. However, he and the women in his row have to use the restroom often, so I decide sleep is not an option.
We finally hit cruising altitude and I start chatting with this really nice girl next to me. I’m glad I at least have someone cool with whom I can commiserate. Right? She gets sick about an hour into the flight. Not motion sickness, she says, but she is in and out of the bathroom every couple minutes vomiting. I feel so bad for her. I’m getting her water and contemplating scratching her back while she’s got her head in her hands, but that seems a little intrusive since I’ve only just met her. She says she has a terrible migraine, she’s crying, and finally a flight attendant is checking her pulse and taking her to the back of the plane to lay down.
So, with “cool girl” gone, I pull out my laptop to watch a show I’ve downloaded. At least I’ve got entertainment of my own. Ha. The same guy who nearly knocked my face off starts leaning over the middle seat trying to talk to me. I take off my headphones and as nicely as I can, try to dissect his broken English. I realize he’s going on and on about how great the quality is of my computer, and how clear the people are in my show, and how he feels like he’s at the cinema! Every time I try to put my headphones on and restart my show, he exclaims, “INCREDIBLE!” I’m now wishing sick girl was back in her seat acting as my barrier. Not to mention, my nose still hurts.
I quickly watch my show, trying to fast forward through the boring parts so I can close the computer. Which brings me to where I am now, writing about this flight from hell. I’m realizing I seriously need to get a job so I can afford to join the royalty at the front of the plane who are body odor-free, enjoying champagne and individual lay-back seats. When this aircraft finally touches tarmac, I’ll probably burst into tears of joy. And if I get any questioning looks, I’ll just say through my tears, “I’m sorry. I’ve just got a terribly keen sense of smell, though my nose may be broken, and the B.O. on this plane has officially made me delirious.”