An Uncomfortable Plane Ride

12 Jan

First thing to know about Virgin Atlantic: they’re a great airline…if you pay extra for premium economy (business class) or upper class (first class). For those of us stuck in economy (coach), we can expect the following: tiny, cramped seating; no leg room if you are over 5’4″; and of course, the ever-present crying child. If you are traveling east, chances are people will tell you to sleep on the plane. I will tell you that unless you pay for a better seat, you will not sleep. I took a nighttime cold medicine and had a glass of red wine. Normally, cold medicine knocks me out. And red wine is always helpful in making one feel sleepy.

This is comfortable in comparison to economy class on Virgin Atlantic


It’s also hard to sleep when the passengers on either side of you hog the armrests. One of my neighbors was a 70-year-old nun. You read that right. A nun. She slept the whole way, save for dinner. I had a feeling that she was on her way to the Vatican and after snooping at her itinerary, my suspicions were confirmed.

if only she were awake... I bet she knew some great nun jokes.

A cool thing (to me at least) about Virgin Atlantic is that, being a British airline, the staff is also British. And their uniforms are kind of the chicest flight attendant outfits ever. I think that Vogue or Elle or Marie Claire should do a fashion spread on flight attendant uniforms. Maybe that’s just me.

Looking so fly.

Normally I’m an ok flyer once the plane is in the air and the transatlantic flight was no different. But then we hit some turbulence. After I had my wine. And my meal. And my cold medicine. So I was pretty loopy/exhausted/half-asleep-but-not-quite. And even though I have experienced scarier turbulence, I gripped the side of the armrest (the lady to my right was still hogging the rest of it) and kepy my eyes closed with more force than necessary. All I could think of was the pilot episode of Lost when the people slam into the ceiling while the plane is bouncing around. Luckily for me, unlike Oceanic 815, my plane did not break apart in the sky and leave me stranded on a strange island. Or maybe that is unluckily for me…

At least the Losties had leg room

Other observations from the plane and Heathrow Airport:

  • British men wear Uggs.
  • Some people bring 20 bags with them. No joke.
  • Bring a small carry-on. There is no room in the overhead lockers as it is, so keep it simple.
  • An eye mask is your best friend. (The nun kept her light on the entire flight even though she slept. Drove me absolutely crazy!)

After we landed and went through customs we had to wait for about two hours for other kids’s flights to arrive so people watching was a success. From there we got on a bus and headed to campus. Funny thing about boarding the coach to campus: we had a separate van for our luggage. The van was bright yellow. And a Mercedes. So my suitcases rode in style.



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