Only two more days before I return from my leave. I have been “on holiday” (which, by the way, is a fantastic term) for about 54 days. This extended vacation is thanks to the fall seasonality of flying. Most airlines reduce the number of flights due to lower passenger loads, and because of this, the flight attendants at my company, were given the option to take the month of September and/or October off, with leaves being awarded based on seniority. I was one of the chosen ones!
My 54 days have been scattered between moving out of my Redondo Beach apartment, catching the end of Alaska’s beautiful summer and my toddler niece and baby nephew, adventuring to Europe and covering the spectrum of the sunshiny beaches of Croatia and Crete, to welcoming fall between Munich and Krakow. Upon returning home, I’ve been greeted with re-adjusting to responsibilities of marketing my family’s start-up tortilla company and looking for a new home in LA. Can I please just go back to Europe?
And this is how it began…
On Tuesday night, when I walked up to the LAX ticket counter, I was told the exact impossibility of making the oversold flight. My co-worker, Emily and I wondered why we were even there, and I resigned myself to watching the plane take-off to Munich without us.
After checking in and passing through security, we sat and chatted and waited, with simply the expectation that we would be most likely driving away from the airport, bound for Emily’s Los Angeles home. Then, we heard our names called over the intercom. The gate agent told us that there were absolutely no seats on an aircraft that holds three-hundred twenty-six passengers and eleven crew members, but we might, with the captain’s approval, be able to ride the jumpseat.
The captain approved, and our adventure began.
During parts of the ten hour flight, we were taken to the crew sleeping birth and told, “you will sleep now,” and then awakened a couple of hours later and told to eat. Most of the flight was spent on the jumpseats, where we awkwardly and unsuccessfully, tried to keep warm with our blankets, sleep, and move whenever someone needed to use the lav.
(note: when traveling on an airplane, bring a snow jacket even if you are going to Maui. Planes are metal ice boxes in the sky. Apparently, flight crews want all passengers to be in a state of hypothermia at the time of arrival).
But, we just felt lucky. Riding the jumpseat on international flights is not that common, or so we was told. We we’re lucky to be on that plane. Lucky to have the traveling life.
It seems that every trip, the most uniquely, fantastic situations arise. Plans kind of go out the window and change is inevitable, but sometimes, with good things, one just can’t plan.