Before Taking Off.
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to go to Australia, but in order to get there, I had to spend twenty-four hours on a plane, well not quite, as the flight was broken into two parts.
The first part took me from Heathrow airport to Dubai, a flight that lasted around seven and a half hours, and the second part, after a two-hour break in Dubai, was a fourteen-hour flight from Dubai to Sydney International Airport in New South Wales.
I entered the aircraft, via the front door on the lower deck, and as my seat was in row 80, I had quite a long walk to the rear of the aeroplane, an Airbus A380 operated by Quantas.
I had prepared myself for the long flight ahead, by uploading loads of my favourite music on to my iPhone and remembering to bring my headphones and my charging lead in my hand luggage, I knew that there were charging points on the aeroplane.
I noticed that there was a blanket and a set of headphones placed on all the seats and these were complimentary of the airline to make you comfortable during the long flight.
I had specifically booked a window seat, with no seat directly in front of me, so that I would be able to get up to go for a walkabout and visit the bathroom without having to disturb any of the passengers sitting next to me.
It was on a Saturday at about eight thirty pm in early March, when the huge aeroplane rushed down the runway in an easterly direction, and took off over the west side of London, making its way towards Dubai. It was also dark by this time, so having a seat by the window was pretty much pointless, but none the less, I settled down in my seat for the long flight ahead.
During the Flight.
Folded up, rather cleverly, in the armrest of my seat was a screen that was to provide the entertainment, it was touch operated, and had a whole host of films, TV programs to watch and music that one could listen to during the flight. I can remember watching The James Bond movie ”Goldfinger”, and listening to the album, Queen, Live at Wembley Stadium.
The screen also gave information about the flight, such as the aeroplane’s position, height, speed, how long to reach the destination, the weather at the destination etc, and showed its position and flight path on a virtual map of the world. There was also a USB point in the seat armrest, that one could plug one’s mobile phone in, to keep it charged. On the floor of the cabin, there are electrical plug sockets that can be used for powering laptops etc.
It did not seem very long when we were approaching Dubai airport, but nearly seven and a half hours had passed , when I noticed it was getting light outside and I could see the sun rising from the window, I think it was around three am on the Sunday morning back home, when we touched down at Dubai.
When the plane docked everybody had to leave the aircraft, taking all of one’s belongings with them, even if, like me, one was going to be boarding again, for the onward journey to Sydney. After I had disembarked, in order to get back on, I had to go through the airport security check again, which makes sense as this would be a new flight, with different passengers and crew, the plane was refuelled, cleaned and restocked with fresh meals etc.
After a two hour break in Dubai, I settled down, in the same seat, on the same aeroplane, and looked forward to arriving in Sydney. I had, after all, plenty to keep me occupied during the next fourteen hours! There were plenty of meals supplied as well as fruit and water being offered by the wonderful cabin crew.
I did manage to go for a walkabout around the cabin at least once an hour so that I could stretch my legs and avoid the possibility of DVT, I also followed the advice in the in-flight magazine and did the seat exercises. Some comfortable clothing, such as a track suit and slippers, should be brought in your hand luggage for you to change into, because despite having the supplied blanket and wearing normal shoes, I felt cold and slightly uncomfortable during the flight, although I did manage to knock some zed’s out for a few hours.
It was dark and very early on Monday morning, Sydney time when I touched down at Kingsford Smith Airport, it did seem to take an age to get there, but the time had soon passed, and I now know what to expect on the next time that I spend twenty-four hours on a plane.
Have you ever done a long haul flight, or are you a regular long distance flyer? If you are, I would love to hear about your experiences, or if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask in the box below.