The joys of child-free travel

As a preface to this post, I very rarely get to do this. Honestly! If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that I nearly always travel on stand-by with two over-excited small boys in tow – in economy and in a bad mood.

This time was different – so different, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven …

So there I was upstairs on the double-decker A380, seated rather conveniently right next door to the on-board pub, with free-flowing booze, cocktails and delicious canapés just a step away.

With 14 hours of back-to-back, uninterrupted ‘me time’ ahead, I literally couldn’t believe my good fortune. I’d been on stand-by, hoping to accompany DH on his trip down under, and got the last seat in business class.

As any mum reading this will attest to, the chance to do nothing but watch chick-flicks, listen to music and leaf through magazines – while drinking wine – for a whole day under the twinkly stars of a superjumbo’s ceiling is a ‘pinch-me-now’ dream come true.

Fine dining in the sky: The after-dinner cheese platter
‘Should I watch a movie now or later?’, ‘Recline the seat into a bed and have a nap?’, ‘Or go to the bar?’ ‘Read a novel or Good Housekeeping?’ When these are the only decisions you have to make – and the seat can even give you a massage – stress vanishes faster than you can say ‘white wine please!’

There’s even wi-fi up there – as if the 1,200 channels on the TV aren’t enough – and each seat has its own mini-bar. With so much to do, 14 hours isn’t long enough. I must have been the only person on that plane who didn’t want to get off when we finally touched down 12,000 kilometres later.

The only slight blip on the horizon was that, years ago, I used to be really scared of flying and, despite being married to a pilot, I’m still terrified of turbulence. If DH is next to me, I’ll grip his hand and ask anxiously if everything is ok or if we should get into the emergency brace position. This flight, he was working part of the way (they have two crews on board for such a long flight) and resting in the crew rest area when he wasn’t on duty.

Every now and then, he’d pop up to see me, wearing his sweater as a disguise.

We were high up over the Indian Ocean and I was just reaching a novel state of zen-like calm when he appeared and, hiding a cheeky grin on his face, whispered to me in hushed tones, ‘There’s a serious malfunction.’

‘I wanted you to hear about it first,’ he said sagely, the twinkle in his eyes not noticeable due to the dimmed cabin lights.

You know when you’re sure someone’s joking, but there’s that moment of terror when your heart seems to skip a beat – well *that* was that moment.

Nice one, DH! He made up for it the rest of the time though – and I quickly rediscovered my mile-high nirvana, such are the joys of child-free travel.

Saturday evening in Sydney and down by the Opera House it's buzzing

8 thoughts on “The joys of child-free travel

  1. Oooh, my husband (not a pilot) used to do a similar thing. He’d sit next to me and suddenly grip the arm rests, make a huge, audible gasping intake of breath, then ask “What was that?” I finally had to “have a word” with him about it not being funny!

    • Hi Expat Mum! Yes, they think they’re so funny, don’t they?! I rememember being on a flight with Nappy Valley Girl years ago – I think we were going to a press conference in Germany, back in the days when I was petrified of flying, and she commented that I’d be the only person on the plane who wouldn’t be surprised/shocked by a sudden noise because I was listening out for it and expecting it anyway! Maybe I’d even have been stoic, lol!

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