I flew to Perth and back twice in November, once for work and once for a wedding. It’s not a long-haul flight by any means, but five and a half hours still drags, especially when there is no in-flight entertainment available (and on that issue, are you serious?? Come on Qantas and Virgin, get your act together!).
I always choose a window seat if I can. I also drink lots of water to avoid dehydration, which doesn’t exactly endear me to my seat-mates, but the ability to gaze out at the sky and world below has always been my favourite part of flying.
The air “up here”, inside the plane, is frequently odorous, dries the eyes, and is either too hot or too cold. It is to be endured. Fortunately, the other air up here (outside the plane) can be sublime. I love taking off from the airport on a cold, grey day, to be buffeted by the wind, before bursting through the cloud layer to the brilliant sunshine above. I love it when it rains and condensation pearls on the windows. It’s just as exciting to identify familiar landmarks as it is to fly above isolated coastlines. Up here, sunsets and sunrises are more intense, expansive, and long-lasting.
A good sky-scape outside my window fills me with anticipation for where I am going, or warms my belly with memories recently made. It makes me forget about my discomfort, the crappy food, the dragging hours, the light-headedness from a little too much wine. For a little while I’m just an atom in the sky, suspended in-between even as I’m hurtling towards a destination. It’s nice.