Friday, May 9, 2008

Jumping the gun

I realised that before I get too far into waxing lyrical about our holiday I really need to write about the getting there. For it was most eventful.

The day we were travelling passed fairly smoothly, you know, just the scrabble to find my blow-up neck pillow (an essential for me) and a dash to the shops for paracetamol, that kind of thing. Our flight was at 5pm, so we got to the airport at a bit after 2pm, checked the bags in and found a sunny spot in the surprisingly lovely beer garden at the airport's pub. We'd ordered some lunch when Shaun realised he'd left his international driver's licence somewhere at home.

We debated whether or not he should go back and get it, because he probably could have got another one in the UK, and we weren't sure if we'd need it to drive in Montenegro anyway. The final decision was that he would run (literally) to the taxi line and if it wasn't too long, hop in one, grab the licence (not that he was sure where it was) and meet me at the gate.
The clock was ticking, but - incredibly - he was there and back in the space of half an hour. One of the major benefits of living almost next door to the airport.
We get on the aeroplane and everything seems fine. Then not long after takeoff there's an announcement:

"Ladies and gentleman, just informing you that we're having a few problems with the inflight entertainment system. We're rebooting it now and we'll keep you posted."

Then another announcement follows:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid we haven't been able to get the inflight entertainment system working."

Shaun and I look at each other in dismay: this is not good.

There were movies shown on the "default" entertainment they could offer, but they were old and boring and there was nothing really suitable or of interest to E.

Twenty four hours.

One wriggling two-year-old.

Twenty or so "presents" from our carry-on bags all presented one after the other to provide E with, ooh, 10 minutes or so of distraction at a time. That, sadly, does not add up to 24 hours.

Then the guy in front of us turned around and complained that E was kicking the back of his seat. I totally understand why he was angry; I would be too. But I was telling E every 5 seconds not to kick the seat. Sigh. The only solution I could think of was to swap seats with E ... so he could then kick the guy's girlfriend's seat.

The real horror (and I am not exaggerating) of the flight occurred a couple of hours in, not far from Singapore when most of the plane was asleep.

There was an announcement:

"This is an emergency announcement. You are required to put on your oxygen masks immediately. The plane is descending to a lower altitude. This is an emergency; put on your oxygen masks immediately."

I'm not kidding.

To say I freaked out is possibly the understatement of the year. I was screaming and crying, going "Oh my God, where is the oxygen? Where's the oxygen?" Of course no oxygen masks had fallen.

It was a very strange feeling to be woken from sleep to an emergency situation like this. Half the plane were, like me, standing up out of their seats, panicking. The rest were laughing.

It seemed like an ETERNITY (but was probably only 30 seconds) before the captain came over the PA and said, in the most ridiculously laidback way:

"Sorry about that ladies and gentlemen, that's just a fault of our automated announcement system and we're trying to switch it off now. There's no cause for concern."

For a jittery flyer such as myself that was it. I switched from panicked to just downright upset. I couldn't stop crying, almost to the point of hyperventilating. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was so distressed.

I thought we were all going to die!

Anyhow, a hostess did calm me and brought me some red wine. Small consolation for what can only be described as a horrific trip.


Surfing Free said...

Fark! I would have died if they had announced that on my flight! I am always expecting the worst when I'm on a plane - scary announcements or not.

Glad it was just a malfuntion. Jeeze though, how frightening!!!

And I feel your pain traveling with a small child. We make the trip back to the US (Hubbies native land) every two years ... now with three small children. *Sigh*

Fairlie said...

Now that experience would have completely freaked me out. I'd have been sitting white knuckled for the rest of the flight.

Long plane journeys with kids are to be endured not enjoyed.

Stomper Girl said...

I would have cried too - at the oxygen thing but also the in-flight entertainment malfunction!

Sarah Louise said...

Yikes! Glad it was a false alarm, but yikes!

M said...

Not a keen flyer myself...I'm with Fairlie on the white knuckles.

Thanks for visiting EasternMax - would love to see your finished article on Laundries...Remember the bigger the better with lots of places to hide stuff.

Melody said...

Oh. My. God. I too would *freak* if that happened on our flight. Not only with the oxygen announcement thing but also about the inflight system!!!