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It's been almost 9 months since I last posted a blog. I've flown 6 times since then.
A few weeks ago was our May holiday and I went with some friends to Georgia. I was really excited about the holiday and did everything I could to not think about the two-hour flight there and back. Then a couple of days before leaving I cracked and went on an internet frenzy, checking weather forecasts, looking at details of Tbilisi airport (looking for nearby mountains), and trying to guess what kind of plane we’d be flying on. I was flying with a friend who knew I was nervous, but I think I pushed the boundaries of our friendship by calling him at 1.30am to tell him to check in online immediately so we could sit together.
The flight out was okay, I guess. At the last minute I remembered the breathing exercises and the hand thing. I had to count on take-off and my palms were disgustingly sweaty for the whole flight (seriously, what evolutionary purpose do sweaty palms solve?!) But it was okay. The landing was a bit bumpy but my friend distracted me by talking about all the stuff we were going to do.
Not worth a blog post, right?
But then came the flight home. It had been an amazing holiday, one of the best in my life. Again I’d not been letting myself think about the flight home. But on the morning we were leaving I started feeling anxious and my friends were being infuriatingly laid back! They wanted to save money and take a normal city bus out to the airport. We figured we’d need 40 minutes. But then they didn’t want to get there too early because they didn’t want to spend ages sitting around waiting. So about half an hour after I wanted to leave, I finally dragged them down to the bus stop. We had to wait a while for the bus and then it was a slow, bumpy, crowded minibus. We got to the airport 1 hour before our flight was supposed to leave. There was an unexpected extra security check at the airport entrance so we had to queue there and by the time we got through I was beyond stressed, especially as the screen said our flight was already boarding. We got to baggage check-in and there were a few people still there so I relaxed a bit. But then when the woman took our passports, she was on her computer for ages and I started fretting again. Eventually my friend asked if there was a problem and she said, ‘I’m just trying to find you three seats together.’ I said, ‘but we checked in online and chose our seats,’ and she said, ‘yes, but there was a mistake, it’s a different plane now and it’s smaller so the seat reservations don’t work.’
I think the only words my brain registered were, ‘MISTAKE! DIFFERENT PLANE! SMALLER! DON’T WORK!’ It was like the last year on this site hadn’t happened. I was already stressed from the trip to the airport and thinking we were really late while my friends didn’t seem to care. I didn’t do a full on melt-down because that just isn’t me, but I was shaking and desperately wanted to run away. I think at this point my friends realised I was upset and started being a bit nicer. We went through security and passport control okay and got to our gate and clearly the tv screens were lying because the plane wasn’t boarding. But there was another security thing at the gate and my friends insisted we got food before going through. I could’ve killed them. I went on without them only for them to meet me ten minutes later laughing about how ‘of course’ the plane wouldn’t have left without them.
I’d been panicked about the ‘different,’ ‘smaller’ plane but in the end it wasn’t much smaller. And actually, because the seats were only in 2s, not 3s there seemed to be miles more room. In fact, compared to the ancient thing we’d flown over on, this plane seemed brand new. I was too stressed to be okay on take-off but once we were flying normally it was okay. The descent wasn’t very nice as we made some really long turns where it felt like the plane was banked really sharply. My friend turned back to ask if I was okay but I literally couldn’t speak. But then the landing was okay and I actually felt pretty happy when we left the plane.
But on one thing I’m determined. The next time I fly, I’m going to take control of the things I can, i.e. getting to the airport in time; and not worry about the things I can’t, i.e. the type of plane I’ll be on.
It's clearly not worth the worry.