Our second flight takes us from Chicago to Dublin. A 787 operated by American Airlines. Excitement of the highest nature brought on by news of Oldham Athletic winning a game of football a few hours earlier. With only ten men!
An excellent business class seat that, had the welcome champagne been served in a glass rather than plastic container, would have had me thinking it could outshine BA First Class.
Then I realised our seats faced backwards. Not in itself a problem, but until the curtains close we’ll have to stare at the economy proletariat. Says the man who’s lined up a Ryanair flight back to Manchester.
I ponder the menu. I ponder why I’ve just eaten a coffee cup full of M&Ms in the Flagship lounge and feel slightly icky. I slurp the champagne while staring at the cocktail of pain relief pills in front of me. And judge the two hour time zone difference between Vegas and Chicago. I’ll wait, eat, dope myself up and then sleep.
Melon, beef and four seasons mousse for tea. Or ice cream? Decisions! We’re still on the runway as an Asian looking chap is amicably removed from the flight by cabin crew. Reasons unclear. Hopefully he’ll return or we’ll be delayed by his hold luggage having to be removed.
Lights dim. Seat belt signs are lit. But still a few minutes to take off. Time drags. Departure time passes. The IFE system says we’re 650 feet above the ground travelling at 58MPH. Height above sea level and speed of the earth rotating perhaps? No idea!
Getting worried now about our Ryanair flight tomorrow. Might be tight!
Technical issue. Will definitely be tight. I might be splashing out on an Aer Fungus one way trip to Manchester!
Finally we take off. Well over an hour late. I mess about with my seat, trying to find a comfortable angle. During the delay I’ve realised that it’s standard position is damned uncomfortable. A negative. Even with adjusted angles I’m finding the padding thin and my damaged bones / tumour intruded pelvis are uncomfortable whatever position I take.
I realise that my pillow is under my seat and have to reset everything to recover it. My fault I suppose, but aligned with the delay I blame the airline.
The power sockets please me. Two brilliantly placed USB options that I utilise and two full socket options that I leave. Not the same for the headphones. Excellent Bose set that I struggle to plug in somewhere under my armpit, out of sight on my right hand side. My good first impressions of this plane are wearing off!
Worse was to come. The in flight entertainment system had the most complex user control I’ve ever seen. Frustration turned to anger which turned to give up and play Beauty and the Beast because I’ve lost the will to find out how to play anything else. A movie that highlights Stockholm syndrome!
The ordered food came and went. Not the best. I decided to use the supplied eye mask, but struggled to sleep due to low level pain, difficulty finding the best angle for sleep and a monster of a man in the seat behind me tossing and turning. I’ve never known a business class seat get battered by another passenger before!
Eventually my right leg succumbed to numbness driven by the cancer and my efforts at self massage failed. I moved the seat to a more upright position to assist the blood flow. I think this number of hours in economy would be beyond me now. I’m lucky I’ve been able to afford business class flying, albeit taking my unusual routings to save money to achieve it.
Breakfast arrives. For me anyway. Rachel has to hound her inattentive flight attendant to get hers. Fruit. Yoghurt and granola. A Devon scone with butter and jam. Proper tea.
For some reason they collect the posh headphones 45 minutes before we land. I assume they get a fair few pinched and like to count them in before passengers disembark. (Edit: they later announced they were missing two lol)
A series of announcements come about boarding cards on landing. Not needed while we’re still in the EU. Something unintelligible about Italian connections and paperwork needed. Not my problem.
My ears feel the start of descent into Dublin and, for a moment, I regret the routing. Before remembering the several thousand pound price benefit it achieved or the cramped economy conditions it avoided.
Despite a modicum of sleep I’m shattered. A narrow time gap for bag reclaim, terminal change and Ryanair check in ahead. Not to mention flight and drive home!