The Greek God(zilla) had offered to drive us to the airport.
Considering our history of car journeys, this was an extremely bold move but I figured that as long as we allowed plenty of time then we’d have plenty of wiggle room for the inevitable wrong turns, impromptu detours and random stops along the way.
After packing enough clothes for two changes a day (plus extras just in case); 6 pairs of shoes (2 heels, 1 flat, 2 sandals, 1 flip flop); GHDs and a curling wand (in case I wanted to mix it up a bit) and various pendants, bangles and cocktail rings; we set off with 4-hours to spare until our flight to The Big Apple.
It was not surprising when we missed the turn-off for terminal 3 and had to re-route via terminal 5, but it did catch me slightly off guard when we missed the turn off for the second time and ended up on a scenic tour of the western and northern perimeters of Heathrow airport.
Vic and I chatted amongst ourselves while the Greek God(zilla) muttered something under his breath about someone having changed the layout of the roads.
“What is the point of this conversation” he suddenly interrupted as Vic and I each started reeling off a list of all the flights we had taken on our own.
“We’re women! There doesn’t have to be a point” laughed Vic “and we’ll probably have the conversation again in an hour”
Despite the small detours, we still arrived in plenty of time so after waving the Greek God(zilla) off on his solo parenting gig for the weekend, Vic and I got on with the serious business of hitting the shops.
It felt quite strange to be in possession of just a handbag. There was no buggy to push, no clean set of clothes to hold in case of little accidents, no snacks to reach for in case of little meltdowns, no toys to withhold in case of little tantrums and no answers to pull out of the bag in case of
multiple little questions.
We strolled around duty free, bought a couple of mags for the flight, a sandwich for the wait and updated our facebook statuses with things like ‘We’re at the airport WOO HOO’.
At some point we looked at the departures board, found the 2pm flight to JFK, and headed over to gate 32.
Only the 2pm flight to JFK was with American Airlines and we were booked onto the 2pm with Virgin Atlantic.
Never mind, we thought. We’ll just make our way over to the right gate… gate 22… can’t be that far away…
It was a 25 minute walk to gate 22.
A quick glance on the board told us the gate was closing so we picked up the pace.
As we approached the gate, I could make out a couple of people dressed in head to toe signature Virgin red and they appeared to be waving at us.
We smiled and waved back.
As we got a bit closer we could see they were not so much waving at us but beckoning for us to hurry up and calling out: “RUN!”
So we legged it the rest of the way with minutes to spare. This would not have happened if we had brought the kids with us. Everything would have been timed with military precision leaving no room for error, but having just ourselves to think about had made our organisational skills a bit sloppy.
Finally on board the plane, we settled into our seats and went straight for the inflight magazine so we could work out what movies we were going to watch.
And then a voice came over the tannoy and said the last words you ever want to hear as you sit strapped in the upright position about to be launched 36,000 miles up into the air at 500 miles per hour – TECHNICAL GLITCH WITH ONE OF THE ENGINES
Followed closely by the second last words you ever want to hear – MEANWHILE, WELCOME TO CAPTAIN XXX WHO IS MAKING HIS FIRST FLIGHT WITH VIRGIN TODAY
We eventually took off quite smoothly – I assume the engine glitch had been unglitched but did not want to ask. Sometimes you don’t need all the information.
In flight, I watched The Descendants and Young Adult. Food was delivered at regular intervals and if I’d had the leg room, I would have definitely been in the mood to put my feet up.
I was almost enjoying myself when the plane entered into a pocket of wind and started to shake suddenly and roughly. I was jiggling all over the seat (not a good look for me at all), being thrown up & down and from side to side so much so, that I came over a bit queasy… as I said above, sometimes you don’t need all the information.
With about an hour to go, the pilot announced we were starting our descent. I will not lie to you, it was a nail biting experience. The plane was still shaking from the turbulence and I held a paper bag poised right under my nose as we seemed to literally dip a few thousand feet at a time.
As the ground came into view, I clenched the arm rests and looked to Victoria for a reassuring look. Just metres from the runway, the plane swerved and swayed and continued to shake and I thought to myself in all seriousness WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE… to be continued
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