Flying in and around the Thanksgiving rush is never fun. The lines, the people, the people with too large carry-ons and bad attitudes, all colliding with other people just like them. Let me say this about that, though, flying like cattle on a plane from the last generation of flight doesn’t make it any better. It’s even worse if the fellow in front of you reclines his seat fully for the entire duration of the flight and refuses to put it up, even halfway. If you’re over six feet and in the window seat, this is the literal definition of hell.
Charles de Gaulle is a huge airport. The inter-terminal transport doesn’t completely make sense at times. Why there are so many Terminal 2’s is just another layer on the creme brûlée. Security processes are opaque at points as well. Why are the lounges in Terminal 1 before final security? It’s just a pain to guess exactly how much time you need to get from the lounge, through security, and to the final gate. There was not too much information available as well.
Boarding went smoothly. The plane was fully sold out, and the old seats made sure that everyone was crammed in like sardines, except more dead and uncomfortable. Take-off came quickly after boarding completed. The drink service started about twenty minutes later, as soon as we reached cruising altitude. The wait until they made it all the way back to the low thirties rows was tremendously long.
“Food” came soon after. The choices were pasta or curry chicken. There was a problem, though. They ran out of pasta about halfway into the economy section, leaving us poor souls at the back of the bus with one, horrific choice. Curry chicken. It came wrapped in plastic with a rather noticeable sticker bearing its expiration date. September, 2017. In what world should “chicken” last that long? They had overheated the whole tray to the point that the butter for the roll was liquefied and leaking all over the tray and everyone’s hands. To make it worse the chicken tasted – and felt like a wet sponge. The curry sauce had about as much similarity to curry as the Holy Roman Empire did to an empire. The salad-like item had literally no taste. I was like eating air, except gooey. Due to the dear Cubs fan in front of me, I was forced to miserably eat my miserable food as if I had the arms of a T-Rex.
That ordeal thankfully ended quickly. I left the vast majority of the food on the little plastic tray and proceeded to attempt to sleep. My first attempt didn’t go well. There was no place to really put my legs without the crushing pressure of Steve Bartman in front of me. I tried to move my legs towards the seat on the left and as far towards the window as possible, but that was foiled when Mrs. Bartman put her seat down too.
I resigned myself to my fate, and started reading Steve’s book about the rise of anarchy. You see, he was leaned back so far and had elevated his book so high up that I could read everything from my seat. Unable to contain myself, I delivered real time criticism to the book as went along. Who would have thought that someone would confuse anarchy with chaos? I eventually fell asleep against the window when exhaustion and more likely, boredom with Steve’s book overtook me.
I woke up somewhere around Greenland and saw the edge of the ice sheet before falling back into a fitful, cramp filled sleep.
The next time I awoke, Steve was gone, but his wife was there guarding the button to put the seat back up with her hand. My plan was foiled. Oh well. I got on my computer and started watching movies. Steve came back and flopped into his seat so hard that it bounced off the top of my computer and made a loud cracking sound. This was loud enough for people across the plane to look over for, but Steve didn’t notice, or didn’t care.
At that point, we were already over Canada, so I didn’t see too much need to sleep further. Instead, I dedicated myself to watching movies and banging the back Steve’s seat as I tried and tried and tried to finally find my legs a comfortable resting position. Alas, I never did.
The flight attendants came through once more and served a last round of drinks. They didn’t seem very happy or customer service oriented at all. I can understand why one wouldn’t be all that friendly after nine-and-a-half hours on a fully booked plane filled with looney-tunes heading home for Thanksgiving.
We finally entered our final approach and all seat backs were ordered up. Steve had to be reminded that even he too, had to follow the law. As his seat went up, I released a sigh of joy. The pressure in my legs went from pure hell to mild misery. Steve looked back and gave me a dirty look. Yeah, screw you Steve.
The landing was smooth, the taxi went quickly, and the groundworkers got the jetway right on the first try. Steve and female-Steve jumped up immediately to start collecting their cornucopia of carry-ons and duty free bags. My row couldn’t get out because of that circus. He was determined to make me miserable all the way until the bloody-bloody end, I guess.
I finally made it to a standing position to get my bag and get off the plane. I was free at last. I was happy. But then I remembered that I still had customs(Where I was questioned multiple times as to if I was really sure that I was a Global Entry member), security (I didn’t get PreCheck for some reason this time), and another lovely flight with United to go. Lovely.
Disclaimer: United was in no way involved in this review. I was not compensated for my time, flight, or emotional distress in any way.