Skip to main content

Reflections on running water - flying

On this trip I felt like there were five stages to each of the flights. The first is when you take-off. With the powerful thrust pushing you back into your seat there is excitement. You watch as the ground disappears beneath you, trying to locate features before you disappear into the clouds.

Then there is the turbulence, shaking you around in your seat. You hope desperately that it won't be like this the entire journey, focus on watching for the next entry into the high cloud that we begin the bumping again or the exit into blue sky that means some relief.

After a couple of hours or so you get a bit inured to the turbulence. You still don't like it each time the aircraft quakes, but it ceases to consume your every thought. You look outside and all you can see is featureless high cloud. The sun is either very bright or is on the other side of the world and all you have is darkness for company. You get bored and wish that the flight was much shorter.

With three hours left to fly the sun is either setting or about to rise. You notice that the shaking has stopped and you are cruising high above a sea of clouds in a pink and blue tinged sky. This is why you love to fly, suspended up here above a peaceful world with only the hum of the jet engines for company.

You are both disappointed and relieved to begin your descent into you destination. As you puncture the cloud layer you feel the shaking begin again, but you are okay, you know that it will be over soon and anyway, you are busy studying the landscape below. You are excited again.

If only we could discard stages two and three!

Now I feel I begin to understand the difference between flying a low cost carrier like Jetstar and a full service airline such as Qantas or Cathay Pacific over long distances. Jetstar's cabin entertainment is pretty limited and the video on demand units aren't much fun to use, especially in turbulence when you think of what a brick might feel like dropping into your lap. However, the nifty seatback entertainment systems of a modern full service carrier mean that there's always something to watch, even if it's only the flight map to tell you where you are and how long you still have to go.

There's the food too. You certainly wouldn't pay for an airline ticket just to eat - it would likely be your most expensive restaurant meal ever. But there is the fun in the mystery of not knowing exactly what you are going to get. If you fly Jetstar then you pay $15 for the privilege, on Qantas the cost is hidden away in your much more expensive ticket. And you get nibblies too!

I'm not knocking Jetstar, but after three consecutive holidays flying Jetstar long haul I feel ready to try another airline, a good quality full service airline for our next trip, whenever that may be. As I was walking the dog this evening I watched a Qantas 747 fly west towards the high pink clouds in the darkening sky. That's the flight I want to be on. I'm ready!


Popular posts from this blog

A lazy day at the beach

It's 2am and somebody is still setting fireworks off on the beach in front of the hotel. I can't see the explosions as I have the window shuttered, but I can still hear them. I've wanted to have a lazy day and today was the closest I got. I woke up in the night from a very sad dream. Dreams follow crazy paths, but this one resolved itself as so. An entity had been causing disruption of computer systems around the world. It turned out that this entity had emerged from the computer networks and had been struggling to gain access to more computing power so that it could live. The entity had taken on the persona of a woman. The protagonist who had "defeated" the entity discovered that it was alive, spoke to it. Ultimately fell in love with her. But his prior actions would lead to its death. As a gift to her he downloaded his memories so that she could experience life even as she died. I know it sounds like a pulpy sf or technopunk plot, but dreams are about feeling

The sound of running water

We made it home from Osaka. There is a special feeling that comes when your arrive at your house after a holiday. It is utter relaxation. No longer do you need to worry about other language or customs. There is no need to look up directions, to plan out your day, to journey between sights. Then again, you now need to clean up your own mess, to make your own bed. Rather than eat out you need to cook your own dinner. The shower is weak and the toilet doesn't wash your bum. And you need to wake up early tomorrow morning in order to spend a day at work. You are back to your old routine. Looking back upon this holiday in Japan I've decided that the theme of running water has applied to each of the days. Sunday - Arrival in Osaka - washing ourselves Japanese style Monday - Matsuyama - water from the hot springs at Dogo Onsen Tuesday - Takamatsu - waterfall at Ritsuen-koen Wednesday - Tsumago - streams of water throughout the town Thursday - Takayama - the sounds of rushing water e

Insanity at 40,000 feet - Part 2

We could relax for a moment. The gate lounges at Kuala Lumpur's LCCT were crowded, but our gate was not yet open. Once it was we quickly made out way outside for the long walk to the aircraft. The terminal offered no air conditioned respite from the tropical weather outside and we were perspiring on both sides of the gate. It's a pity that taking photos on the tarmac is forbidden, because the tropical evening sun cast a beautiful orange-gold light. Our flight to Singapore was on an AirAsia A320, the workhorse of a low cost carrier. The legroom was shorter, but still adequate and the width felt greater than their longer cousin we had just flown. Alex sat at the window and was excited to see the world outside, chattering loudly. Captain Raj gave a detailed, but clear, explanation of the flight, listing runways and routes like an aircraft enthusiast. We launched into hazy grey skies that were soon dark for a very typical hour long flight to Singapore.