Flew in to London yesterday from Exeter. Amazingly, it was cheaper than the train. The secret of this is not to have any luggage.
But there’s also a childish delight for me in flying instead of getting the train. I’ve always been a fan of flying, whether short haul or long haul or just popping up in a small Cessna. I love flying and everything to do with it.
It wasn’t the worlds longest flight. Within ten minutes we were over the Isle of Wight, and within fifteen minutes the pilot announced that we had begun our descent into London. The pilots name was Captain Shackleton. Could there have been a more appropriate name for a pilot? Kind of neutralized the effect of seeing that the aircrafts registration was G-JEDW, which immediately made me think of Jedward.
There were only 23 people on board and I was one of them. There were only two of us sitting anywhere in the front ten rows. I’d booked a seat where I could look at the engines and the wings, but the book in desk asked me to move to the front of the plane with special responsibility for the emergency exit door. The stewardess gave me a run down on how to use it. Pull down on this handle, she said, while pulling down on the handle. Remove the door and then throw it out of the aircraft. I couldn’t help noticing, once she’d finished, that the handle was still pulled down a bit and I spent the rest of the flight wondering if the door would suddenly open. Not that we ever gained enough altitude for depressurization.
The stewardess and I bonded and I really did wonder what would happen if I’d been one of my straight friends, for she was undoubtedly very beautiful and a lesser man would have taken her constant chit chat as flirting. Indeed, she chatted to me while Captain Shackleton made an announcement about being early. ‘We’re early’, he said, ‘Which is good news. So we are just going to wait for four minutes so that we are on time’. ‘Well then’, the stewardess said to me, ‘We’re not early then, are we? Captains are always saying things like that’.
We flew over Bognor. It reminded me of summer holidays as a child to Bognor. Sitting in a car with the windscreen wipers going,looking out at an angry sea, drinking tea from a flask. We flew over Hever Castle, and then the suburbs of London. And then London itself, swinging over the centre in a wide arc, skimming over the top of Canary Wharf and that silly cable car thing they’ve put in. ‘Nice, isn’t it?’, the stewardess said to me, as she strapped herself in. And then Captain Shackleton kind of flumped us down on the runway at London City.
It’s sunny in London and the world seems a place full of mystery and magic. I know that this will soon wear off but I’m wondering how much of that has to do with the fact that I got here on a Bombadier Dash 8.