In-flight out-of-the-window photography



my fear of flying: the on-board battle


There is nothing more soul destroying than flying, right? The whole in-flight system is geared towards making your flights 'comfortable' and 'enjoyable'. And yet it fails to do both of these. It must be said I always opt for the economy class - knowing that it is the country where I would prefer to spend my money, not inside an air-tight capsule. Observing people spending their hard-earned money on booze, crap perfume from the in-flight catalogue, scratch cards (yes, scratch cards - that's Ryanair for you) or hiring games consoles I find thoroughly depressing. I prefer to hunker down tight and grin and bear the whole tedious experience until I am set free at the other end. I fly as cheaply as I can: we take a book to read, a bottle of water (filled up in the airport toilets having had to empty the thing before going through security), some chewing gum and our own travel blankets (which themselves were a freebie from a previous airline). Ear plugs are another must. Never, ever, enter an aircraft without ear plugs. Ever. People try to spend their way out of boredom. They remain bored...and then skint and bored.


the captain has switched on the seatbelt sign

The moment I dread most on board is turbulence. I get especially terrified when the 'fasten seat belt' sign is re-illuminated during the middle of the flight. The next level of panic is instigated when the on-board crew are forced to abandon their in-flight trolley service and return to their seats. This happened once on a flight back from Belfast. I nearly had a stroke. Similarly, on the flight from Manchester to Toronto, one hostess had to give up drinking her coffee - the 'light' turbulence meant that it was spilling everywhere. I look out for any sign that the plane is going to drop out of the air. My ears burn and my face flushes red whenever incidents like these take place.

For me, there is something wholly unnatural about being up in the air - we are groundlings. We were not born with wings. And so I spend the majority of the flight trapped somewhere between abject terror and caffeine-induced hypersensitivity to what's happening around me. In the early days, overnight flights were meant to be a way of saving money on not needing to pay for another night in a hotel; 'sleep on the plane', 'kill two birds with one stone'. Of course, as you've probably already guessed, trying to sleep on the plane for me - overnight or otherwise, is an impossibility. Even if I'm exhausted. I read frantically, chew gum endlessly, writing things up in my little travel book (or, if I've forgotten that as I usually have, at the back of my Lonely Planet or Rough Guide on the 'Notes' pages).


advice from south africa

The best piece of advice on flying I've had so far was from my locum doctor (who was South African and so had done lots of flying in his time) was to relinquish control to the pilot and crew. I had only gone to see him about an ear infection before flying to Morocco, and happened to enquire if it would cause me issues during the flight. We both agreed I was a bit of a control freak - and that this was part of my problem. I was trying to keep control of a situation over which I had no control. 'Let them deal with it', 'Let them take the responsibility for the flight', 'There is nothing you can do'. Unpalatable but true. Thanks Doc!





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