17 January 2016

The 10 phases of flight delays

My arrival time into Heathrow Airport yesterday was meant to be 6.55am. I landed at roughly 3.30pm. Enduring a 9 hour delay in Dubai, after a 14 hour flight from Sydney is not fun. Things happen, strange things, float-y out of body experience things, things cross your mind that, in your sleep deprived state, make perfect sense but you really just should not do. And coz I'm trying to fight jetlag at the moment and not sleep before 10pm, I'm going to tell you about them in the hopes they may help you maintain sanity should you ever experience a flight delay.

Taking it in your stride
You're a seasoned traveller, its fine, whats a short delay? You can live with that. Better they check out any issues on ground than when you're in the air. It'll be fine.

Breaking the unwritten rule of travel and speak to your neighbour
Its not fine. The engineers don't actually know whats wrong and might need to replace a part. It might take a while. You glance at the person sitting next to you, he doesn't look crazy and his smile is as incredulous as yours, maybe chatting will help pass the time? You strike up a conversation and find that it does really help.
*Or you could crack open that book you've been dying to read - I hope you packed one!

Despair and Resignation
Nope, that's not the part that had the issue, they need to replace another and it will take even longer. You groan internally as you realise you have already been travelling 20 hours and this is just going to be one of those flights.

Pleading and Relief
"Please, please, please let us off this plane for a while". You bargain with the travel Gods. "I'll do anything, I'll even go through the security checks again". Released from the confines of the cabin back into the departure lounge you could skip if you had the energy. Don't feel bad, skipping would look weird right now and you'd probably float to the ceiling if you left the ground.

Meal voucher in hand, you are simultaneously not really hungry, would love some Maccas (McDonalds) and cleverly strategise to eat something so when you get back on the plane, you don't have to wait for the meal service and can just go straight to sleep. It doesn't matter what you do, your body will do what it wants and you will just go with it, but by all means strategise, it will pass the time and give you some semblance of control over the situation.

Weird thoughts
- In your sleep deprived state the floor will start to look alluring. "Come lie down, you can lie flat, not at a weird upright angle" it will call to you. Do not listen to its sirens call. Resist. Resist. Resist...but it looks so comfy...
- You get jealous of anyone who isn't travelling alone. They have someone to lean on/cuddle up to, a soft shoulder to rest ones head. You look at your neighbour and wonder if you could cuddle up with a stranger - don't be creepy. Just, no.
- You have never loved or missed your bed so much. You think of its softness, the pillows, the cosy quilt and the horizontal-ness of it. Its underrated & should have more recognition. There should be a 'International Bed Day' in its honour.

Fuzzy brain syndrome
As if the weird thoughts weren't bad enough fuzzy brain can set in at any time. You cant really think straight, coherency goes out the window, you cant remember what you were talking about a few seconds ago. If you are chatting with someone, this can be both hilarious and embarrassing. Focus on the funnier side.

Never, ever say, or be in the vicinity of, someone who says 'nothing else can go wrong'
These people should be shot. I mean, whats wrong with them? Haven't they heard of Murphy's Law? Why are they tempting the travel Gods? I blame my neighbour* for the additional delay back on board the plane because two passengers went MIA and their luggage had to be offloaded.

Disbelief, hilarity and pillow hugging
Taxiing to the runway you have to turn back to offload another passenger, this is one who has developed a heart problem. Better they get attention now than later when we're in the air. But you cant believe it, a combination of disbelief and hilarity combine to make the whole thing dreamlike.You regress to a childlike state and hug your pillow while rocking in your seat trying to maintain sanity. I blame my neighbour* for this too.

Landing at your destination at last
You survived! You made it! You'll celebrate in two days when you have the energy! No flight will ever seem long to you again. You bid your neighbour a farewell at the airport and pass out the second your head touches the pillow when you arrive home.

* I was actually quite lucky, my neighbour was really nice and honestly, having his good company during the delay made all the difference.


  1. Flight delays are the worst! I always think it's better to be delayed coming home from a trip than going though!

  2. This is brilliant and I absolutely 100% relate! I hope you did manage to stay awake until 10pm and nip your jet lag in the bud.

    1. Thanks Mandy. Yes I did stay awake but still took me a few days to get over jet lag.

  3. The joys of expat life...!

  4. Haha love this! Although slightly scared after reading it for my long-haul back to London in a few weeks...

    1. Oh dear, I didnt mean to scare you! I'm sure I was just unlucky, still take a good book just in case!! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you in the meantime.

  5. Haha you need to do a comparison with train vs flight delays.. which is worst? The inevitable train delays where your patience for such nonsense is VERY LIMITED, and you JUST WANT TO GO HOME FOR DINNER AND EAT YOUR LEFT OVER SPAGHETTI. or flight delays which can be MUCH LONGER and stop you from reaching the SUNSHINE AND HAPPINESS of your holiday?

    1. Oh my gosh, I cant imagine putting up with such a delay on a train, I'd probably just hire a car and drive! But yes, I might not have seen the humor if I was sun starved and it was eating into my holiday time.