Depending on who you talk to (husband definitely not included!) most of the time I am a calm, rational, normally functioning member of society. That is until I book a holiday that involves airline travel and I unravel at the seams! This summer’s trip back to the UK was no exception.
There are several stages to my neurosis:
It all starts the night before and not in a lastminute.com way, I am usually pretty organised.
I panic our suit cases are too heavy, leap out of bed and weigh them. I then reweigh the cases again in the morning and several times before we leave for the airport, just in case a giant-lead-weighted-lizard has slipped in during the night. (Before moving to Dubai it was a fear of giant-lead-weighted-spiders whenever I left the UK, lead-weighted-monkeys in Africa, snakes in Thailand……you get the picture!?)
I then progress onto alarm fear, which is only relevant for early morning flights, but is twofold. I worry the alarm is not going to go off or I will sleep through it. To counter act this I set 7 different alarms going off at 3 minute intervals with varying volumes, which I don’t need anyway because I haven’t slept worrying the taxi will not turn up!
Once I have finally arrived at the airport (at least 3 hours before my flight…yes I am that person!) and looking like death warmed (no free upgrade for me) the irrational behaviour does not stop.
I am British, ergo I love a good queue -for everything! Faced with an airport queue and it all starts to get a bit competitive. I need to find the quickest queue, if you’re in an adjacent queue to mine I will be racing you to the “finish” line in my head (that gold medal is mine!). Don’t even think about pushing in and please respect my need for 6 inches of personal space at all times! (I kid you not, that one, is actually a scientifically proven fact-it keeps stress levels down!!).
Territory preservation and “the competition” carries on to the plane. It’s a race to get seated and claim the arm rest between the seats. I usually win this but then spend the rest of the flight terrified to move in case I lose it. Don’t even think about reclining your seat if you’re sat behind me (unless it’s a night flight and or I am tired) before you have parked your butt my legs are wedged up against the seat in front and aren’t going anywhere. And for those who encroach on my personal space in the foot well or stray into my seat area expect to get a swift “accidental” kick or punch, for which I will naturally apologise profusely (I am British) but meant to do all along!
Believe it or not having reached my destination airport the anxiety still doesn’t dissipate-Its customs time!
Am I sure I have nothing to declare? Do I make eye contact with the officials or not? Do I smile? OMG was the lead-weighted-lizard that sneaked into my bag last night actually filled with narcotics?!!!!
It’s a bloody miracle I make it anywhere and perhaps the reason every year up until we became expats our holidays were to France by car and on the ferry!
As an expat I now have to travel by air a lot more often, I am either going to have to get a grip or travel everywhere first class…chauffeur driven pick-up, no luggage restrictions, no queues and huge seats with lots of personal room. Although even then I will still have to worry about narcotic filled animals and the alarm not going off!
I surely can’t be the only one with neurotic tendencies over air travel let us know yours in the comments below!
Keep taking the Xanax!