On Tuesday I flew on SAA (South Africa Airways) from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein for work. It was an interesting flight there and an even more interesting flight back.
While waiting in the departure lounge in Johannesburg, I decided to go to the pub to have a glass of wine to calm my nerves - let me explain - My sister lives in Bloemfontein with her husband and two children. My biological father and step-mother also live in Bloemfontein. My biological father and I have had a very strained relationship (to say the least) for the past 17 years. So my sister decided that it was time to get Les (father), Jenny (stepmom) and I into a room together - anyway, long story short I was going to have dinner with them at my sisters house in Bloemfontein on Tuesday night - this now explains the desperate need for a glass of wine to calm my nerves before the flight.
Fast forward to about an hour later when I am sitting on the aircraft waiting for take-off and the Captain comes over the speaker apologising for the delay and saying that they have lost the tug that pushes the aircraft back out of its parking facility - and that as soon as they locate it we will be on our way. Another 10 minutes pass and then the Captain comes on again all cheery this time telling us that they have indeed located the tug thingie and we will be departing shortly.
During the flight to Bloemfontein, we encountered some mean weather and so there was quite a lot of turbulence - I am a nervous passenger at the best of times, so this turbulence sends me into over-drive. As the steward comes past offering drinks I order a bottle of red wine (I have never ordered alcohol on a flight before) and proceed to finish it whilst hanging on to the bottle, wine-glass and window frame as the aircraft lurches up and down at infrequent intervals. By the time we land I was feeling no pain… and was not in the least perturbed about anything – yay for red wine!
On Wednesday I complete my work ahead of schedule in Bloemfontein, so I head off to the airport to see if I can get on an earlier flight. So I change my flight to an earlier one and proceed to the “restaurant” to wait the 2 hours until boarding time.
Due to renovations, the “restaurant” is no more than a side room with a few metal tables and a counter with a few dodgy looking pies stacked on top. By this time I am pretty hungry and wonder if I should chance a pie – until I take a closer look! Upon inspection it became clear to me that one of the pies had something moving inside the packet – I was also able to locate the hole in the packet where the “diner” had appeared to enter – I could have sworn the pie was staring at me through the hole and daring me to eat it! I do not rise to the challenge and instead decide to proceed through to the departure lounge. Once sitting in the departure lounge I notice a lady across the other side of the room who is staring at me. As I look at her I realize that I know her from somewhere. She catches my eye and smiles and looks like she is about to come over and say hello. For the life of me I can’t remember who she is so I smile back, but then whip out my cell phone and pretend to make a call. By now I am so embarrassed by my idiotic behaviour that I am unwilling to make eye contact with her again – so I spend the next hour avoiding making eye-contact at all costs.
Once on the aircraft, I nervously await take-off once more. The aircraft is now full and everyone on-board is becoming restless – Next thing, the Captain comes on to tell us that they are having a problem starting the right-side engine (I am sitting right next to it) and so they are going to use the ground power to start the right engine, then close the doors of the aircraft and only then start the left-side engine. At this I feel my stomach twist into knots and I begin having visions of that movie Final Destination…So I ask the steward if they will be serving wine on the flight and he looks at me as if I am an alcoholic and reminds me that “We only serve alcohol on the evening flights madam”.. it all goes pear shaped from here (inside my head) and by the time we SAFELY land in Johannesburg I am a wreck!
I pray I do not have to fly for a very very long time to come…