Flying – something New Zealanders learn to do well. Or do we? Because we live at the bottom of the world most ‘Kiwi’s’ will fly Internationally during their life time. I know “Kiwi’s” are flightless birds however that is partly the point! My first flight outside of NZ was 50 years ago.YES 50 years ago!! I had an aunt living in Fiji so decided to go and visit her, I had not been earning for long so it was a very big deal financially and emotionally. First I had to fly from Dunedin to Auckland. I don’t recall the details now except to say it was the beginning of my passion to travel and see the world. I instinctively knew there was more to marrying the boy next door and becoming a farmers wife. I had to escape! (my city friends just wanted to marry the boy next door, so there you are – we are all different fortunately) I did fall for a tall dark Fijian ‘prince’ for a few weeks, but I got over him easily enough, it was the army uniform 🙂 Anyway I digress. Now days flying is not as glamourous as it was back then,it is glorified train travel at best. We are so fortunate to have one of the best airlines in the world Air New Zealand to whisk us away to exotic destinations. California, Canada, Japan, China even Australia and more. We should support them as the alternatives are scary! We have several great airlines serving the Pacific if you are flying to Asia.
I feel sorry for Americans who have to fly 4-5 hours internally and their domestic airlines have no idea of service and comfort. None of their domestic airlines hold a candle to other airlines, there airlines don’t even appear in the top 100 airlines list! They have little opposition so they seem to have stopped trying, they run on tight budgets and generally the experience is less than satisfying. The air crews are often grumpy and bored, or down right rude. The planes are over booked. They allow people to put luggage 20 seats from where they are sitting. Boarding the flight with massive cabin luggage is inconsiderate, think about it, if we all took massive bags they wouldn’t fit in the cabin space. I blame the airlines for allowing such big pieces. In the USA Delta charge $US25 a piece to check a bag…outrageous really. Reduce that cost and half the cabin bag chaos would vanish! Flying across the USA brings out the worst in people, me included. The passengers push and shove to squash themselves and their luggage into small spaces. The Italians are pushy too… it can be quite comical to watch.
I wonder why some flights your feet become ice blocks, others they are on fire. In this day and age why can’t the temperature be pleasant and constant? If you are hot or cold ask the cabin crew to adjust the temperature. They can alter the temperature within about a 10 degree range. Now the new Dreamliner planes have much better air quality. The good news is that Air New Zealand have these new planes on some routes called Dreamliners with improved air quality. I know many of you are affected by the poor air quality and return home with bronchial problems. I certainly do. The lovely medical specialist told me that airlines reduced the moisture content in the planes air supply to make the planes lighter and consequently weigh less and save fuel. Maybe I should only fly on routes with Dreamliner jets. So I am dreaming of Dreamliners on all flight routes before I age too much… as the saying goes Dreams are free! I actually now take antiobiotics when flying. I am not alone with this problem so if you always come home sick talk to your GP. Put the fun back into travel.
The worst part about blogging is that the airlines don’t read my blogs..if only they did and took action. Perhaps they could publish articles on flight ettiquette??
Gripes about flying are easy to write about so I apologise if this is a tad negative. However try pushing the buzzer for a blanket on a Delta flight – an hour later they turn up; imagine if it was urgent! Magazines are usually non existent or the Delta Magazine which is totally uninspiring.
On long haul international flights when you are all on board and seated meals are duly served. On many airlines when you have completed your meal it is not OK to thrust your seat back to the sleep position… The person behind you may still be eating and the wine goes every which way, or the coffee! Wait until the trays have all been collected – PLEASE – it’s a simple thing to do and you won’t miss more than 15 minutes of snooze time… It’s called being considerate. It all comes back to consideration for ones fellow travelers. Consideration for others goes a long way in life, and in particular in public places and on public transport. No matter how many months before I fly and have booked a seat Delta won’t give me a window seat!! Or if they do it is the last row on the plane! If you try asking a crew member what the massive river beneath us is and they look blankly and say they have no idea! I hope our crews are more helpful. Then there are the pretzels..I hate pretzels. Seriously not even a choice of nuts or pretzels. I know I am sounding like a spoilt child – well I am.
OK so now we are all seated on the plane, relaxed and ready to go. What Is that jerking my seat? The jerking is an 11 year old, it has parents but they are not parenting so the next 3 – 4 hours is like a cheap Thai massage! Don’t let children kick the back of the seat in front of them, come on parents, show some inconsideration and teach some consideration. I have no problem with crying children, spare a thought for the parents and the child and maybe offer to help if they are in your little area, those little ear drums often react to the pressure.
When you first sit down for a long flight Introduce yourself to the person next to you…first name is sufficient. Even just ‘hello’. On long flights especially, I like to know who I am sleeping with!! And they may even help pass the time with intelligent conversation… If there is an emergency they might help save your life !!! At worst you have been polite. Men – please keep your voices low; raucous loud laughter and bad language do not have a place on an aeroplane…. by all means enjoy a few drinks but remember altitude makes you intoxicated quicker and no one wants a loud drunk sitting near them – Be considerate. And lastly don’t pass flatulence; go to the bathroom rather than effect the six people sitting near to you… We had the steward come through and spray our space due to some ignorant individual recently; so be considerate to your fellow passengers.
Men are the worst at this! And on that note aim carefully, visiting the cubicles after a man has sprayed the walls, toilet seat and floors is horrible…be considerate to the next person….you are not at home now! Empty the basin and leave the place tidy and dry!!!
Ladies – You never know who will end up seated next to you, and they may not have a tolerance for perfumes or lotions. For some, strong scents can bring on headaches or migraines, so hold off until you’ve disembarked to use your favourite perfume.
Despite all those comments I actually enjoy flying.. I make the most of the time, watching movies, reading, sleeping and eating.
I am soon to fly to the USA and I will enjoy that 11.5 hour trip and then a five hour domestic flight. I wish I could say I will enjoy the later but NO, one just suffers it !! Thanks DELTA.. you could do sooo much better.