In the first week of October, I was given a boarding card whose flight number was 4B/9 to 11. While I was waiting that morning on the departure lounge I felt a kind of nervousness and excitement because I wasn’t sure I could cope with this new experience as I am not used to flying.
As we were asked to get into the plane I was thinking to myself “I hope to get a nice seat”. While the engines were roaring outside, I was wondering who among the passengers was going to get the seat next to me. Once we managed to get a free seat by the aisle, the captain introduced himself.
Taking off is the most difficult, and dangerous part, in a flight. Thank heavens everything went fine. But after a few hours in our plane I felt there was something weird about it. I also noticed that this ‘something’ was shared with most passengers. We were ordered to unfasten our seatbelts and move around the aircraft. I can still picture our captain snapping (and I hated him for that) “I remind you civilians are not allowed to remain on the same seat throughout the trip”. I guessed by the way we were staring at one another that no-one was very pleased by his remark either. I must know confess I've been at almost every corner of my compartment!
When you fly long-distance, you know where the stop-overs are made, but this time everybody was at a loss, or perhaps being in the muddle. I can well state that this was due to the way the aircraft was being piloted. At least, that’s the reason we blamed our captain at that moment, more when we heard through the loud-speakers “you are going to become a great team”. We were used to being pain-stakingly instructed what to do (and when to do things), and for the time being it seemed a very unlikely thing to happen. The good thing about that was that none of the team was forced to do anything, as much as you rolled your sleeves up to perform the tasks (unobstrusively supervised, may I add) and you took whatever came out of it.
Time went by, and most of us seemed to get used to our facilities, except three of us who took their parachutes. Our captain didn’t allow us to get bored so we were engrossed into different activities throughout the trip. I’ll mention briefly some outstanding features of the four life skills we practised daily in flight.
Firstly, writing which comes as my favourite. What was a neglected skill turned up to be ever present (may I say more than in Catalan!). Taking notes, composing and this stuff of writing was oddly organised to my view. I was not very keen on my job when we had to become journalists, to interview each other and on top of that to write our own magazine. Secondly, I quite enjoyed the reading pastimes when we were given sundry texts. I didn’t like them all but was fond of some of them (“Who is crazy?”, “Hooked on a quiet cup of caffeine” “Desirable work” or “A sharing pleasure”) and specially the fables. At the plane library I browsed some useful books (even grammar ones!) and some English mags with CD (Think in English or Hot English) that could be bought. Thirdly, some other times we had the chance to listen to some of the audio-programs the captain enjoyed –I confess that most audio tasks were hard to follow indeed. The good thing is that most of the times we could use the radio-channels to listen to the tracks any other time or even rewind some parts at our own whim. Last, but galaxies away not least, the art of conversation. Speaking was what we enjoyed the most because, without being aware of it, we were getting to know who the other passengers were, improving our communicative skills and we turned into a proficient team. ‘Only English’ became the norm, nobody bothered at all if we had other languages at hand (in the end we were glad to have compied to this rule). I admit sometimes we drifted away from our initial topic of discussion and we moved smoothly towards small talk. We knew that talking was what really counted.
Glad to be announced our destination, we wiped our smiles off and we learnt we had to hand in a final assignment: a report with metaphors. He whispered – “yes, with metaphors, imaginery, personal touch if you like, you heard it right”.
So here I am, trying to do my best -like anyone else-, and put into words, as honest as I can, my flying experience. I can sincerely state that turbulence moments we had a few, as we all are afraid of flying. Sometimes we heard the aircraft cracking, other times thought we were going to crash. Even though I knew where the parachutes were, and I was tempted twice to take the same flight next year, I may assure you that our airplane was landing safe and sound on EOI airfield the last week of May.
I’d rather enjoyed my time there, especially because I had the chance to get on well with most of the passengers. The lucky ones will probably meet on next year’s flight 5B/9 to 11/ which I will book as early as possible. See you there.
PS: Our passenger, Fina, is currently flying with our low-cost company at 5A/16 to 18/. We are truly pleased to have her as a frequent flier and takes advantage of our discount scheme with mile bonus fare.
by Fina V. (Edited version)