Recently I heard a friend say, “I can’t stand flying. It’s just a necessary evil in order to get anywhere.” Well, I see it very differently. Here are six things which, as far as I can tell, make everyone happy.
1 | Watching and imagining
Waiting at the check-in point, waiting at customs, waiting at the gate – I love it. I watch my fellow travellers and think about who, what, and why. For instance, those well-dressed children undoubtedly on their way to their grandma in a foreign land. Because, even in her old age, Grandma found the love of her life and followed him to his homeland. That nattily dressed man with the snazzy suitcase is a businessman. He fills his suit a little too well. Obviously, he was treated to some festive dinners to convince him to do business. Some conspicuously tall men in training suits: Basketball players on their way to a tournament which they no doubt will win. That couple in love? They met on Tinder and they’re now on their honeymoon. And what about those two moustachioed men over there? Oops, I’m out of time. We have to board.
2 | Fairground
“Ready for take off, cabin crew please take your seats.” We taxi to the runway, come to a stop for a moment, and then it’s full speed ahead. The enormous power under us pushes me deeper into my seat. The sensation in my belly makes me think of a fairground attraction. The only difference is that we won’t do a loop-de-loop and I won’t get nauseous. That’s certainly an advantage.
3 | Eating and drinking
As a passenger in KLM’s Business Class, you can imagine yourself in a Michelin-star restaurant. But there’s also plenty to enjoy in Economy. If you’d like to have a special meal, whether for religious, health or other reasons, be sure to order it before the flight. Personally, I just keep to the regular meals and can choose from two options. The thing that continues to amaze me is the complete meal on a single tray. Hot food, salad, dessert, water, and cutlery – it all fits. And what makes it extra nice? A cute little bottle of wine that I take alongside – for free! And if I want more, I just have to ask.
4 | Entertainment
Then it’s time for some entertainment. I find it hard to choose. The selection of films, TV programmes, music, and games far exceeds the time I have on the flight. I choose a light film and then I play chess against the passenger in seat 32B. Sadly, he’s much too good for me. It’s checkmate in less than five minutes. Is this guy a pro?
5 | Zzzzzzz, zzzzzzz
The lights in the cabin are set to twilight. It’s getting time to pull out the KLM blanket and pillow and get ready for the night. I lean my seat back, push the cushion into my neck, and nestle in under the lovely blanket. The hum of the aircraft lulls me quickly to sleep. When I wake up, it’s time to stretch my legs. I pay a visit to the loo and take a short walk down the aisle. I look around at the other passengers. Some are watching a movie. Others are fast asleep. Some have their blankets pulled right over their heads and, here and there, I even hear some pretty loud snoring. The passenger in 32B looks like a little girl. Funny! I find my seat and go back to sleep. I wake up to the smell of fresh coffee. Yum! Breakfast!
6 | We’re here
After all these fantastic experiences it may seem beside the point, but the ultimate goal of the flight is of course the destination. The cabin crew ask us to take our seats, fasten our seatbelts, and make sure our seat backs and folding trays are in their full upright position. The pilot initiates the approach and, before we know it, we’ve landed. I’m in a foreign country, far away. Two weeks from now and I’ll head back home – with KLM, of course ;-)