Travelling long distances by air can be cumbersome, especially when you're flying directly from one point to another, non-stop, for long hours. So I had a lot of apprehensions when I decided to take an Air India flight from Melbourne to India, which was to cover 7,804 kilometres in 12 hours 40 minutes.
"I think I am going to lose my mind. How much can one sleep? Or eat? Or watch television? And that too, in such a limited space"- Talk about paranoia! However, my desperation to get home got better of me and I decided to book the flight anyway. But my experience was quite the contrary to my expectations, and that's what I am here to share with you.
To avoid reaching the airport too early (considering it was a 9:45 AM flight) and wasting more hours doing nothing, I logged into Air India web check-in and saved myself the hassle of standing in queues. It was a matter of a few minutes before I had my seat number and boarding pass on my phone. Thank God for small mercies!
As soon as I boarded the aircraft, I was pleasantly surprised. The aircraft was more spacious than I had expected with more than enough leg space for a tall person like myself. The cabin crew ensured we were comfortably seated before the flight took off. All this was a little reassuring, but I was really dreading the next 12 hours.
A few minutes in the air, and after the safety instruction videos, it was time to get the first meal of the day. With vegetarian and non-vegetarian options to choose from, there were fruits, tea, and coffee along with each dish. Some time spent eating, I decided to make use of the wide choice of in-flight entertainment options available on the screen in front of me.
Movies, music, TV shows, e-books- you name it, they've got it! Here's a little tip! If you're one of those who enjoy watching television and films, you are in for a treat! I spent quite some time scrolling through all the options I had and finally zeroed down on the film I wanted to watch.
For the sake of everyone's convenience, the lights of the cabin had been dimmed, and the window glasses were tainted to avoid bright sunlight. It was the perfect ambiance to watch the screen, or sleep if that's what you choose.
One thing I can't stand on flights is kids crying, but God has his ways of testing my patience. I was flying with three families with children from the age of 5 to 10 and boy they were cranky. However, I must take this time to appreciate the cabin staff who helped the families in calming the wailing kids the best they could.
It was soon afternoon and by the time my film was over, the second meal was being served, with alcohol, of course! :) I am not a fan of food on flights, but this was much better than my expectations.
I was halfway through 12 hours by the time I finished lunch, and it was time for an afternoon nap. Thankfully for me, the seat next to me was empty giving me more than enough space for a sound sleep.
Came evening, and there was more food! Sipping on some hot coffee and a croissant sandwich with cheese, I watched my favourite TV shows. Something that caught my interest later was an audio e-book on the 'Time and Life of Dalai Lama'. And I had barely finished hearing all of it when it was time for landing. Had 12 hours already passed? How did this happen?
My brother later told me he was constantly checking the Air India Flight Status and the flight had actually landed in 11 hours, 10 minutes! So here I am today, not dreading long flights anymore, not if they're as nice as the one I just took.