A flight to remember
Let’s go on a journey together. Imagine yourself in your home, everything is ready, you are prepared, excited and ready, but also somewhat nervous. This is going to be a big trip and everybody knows it. Your family is there to say a heartfelt goodbye, after all they won’t see you for a year and you won’t see them either. Of course, there are the marvels of the internet, connecting everybody who has access to it with one another and with a smartphone in reach friends and family are always just a WiFi-Connection away, but it won’t be the same as talking to them in person. Everybody feels the weight of the distance that will soon be between you and everything else you know. Imagine a bittersweet goodbye. Your closest relatives drive you to the airport, there are jokes and light-hearted talk during the two-hour drive. After checking in and depositing your luggage, you sit down with them for the last time to enjoy a hot cup of coffee with some snacks on the side, for a ludicrous amount of money that can only be charged in places where people really have no alternative. After some hugging and intentionally short farewell you truly embark on your journey into the east alone.
Now this isn’t the first time you had to travel via Airplane and it’s third time you are going on a long-distance flight, so you know what’s coming. The same as very trip by plane, bad food, uncomfortable seats, hopefully not too overweight seat neighbours and better yet no loud children or crying babies. But you are lucky, the flight is quiet and not to full either. There is even room enough to lay down on several seats, what incredibly luxury, you almost feel like you paid thrice the amount of money to upgrade from economy to business. You know you are going to have to land in Russia, specifically Sheremetyevo International Airport (IATA: SVO) you never been to Russia before, but there are few people that haven’t heard about that country of the icy north where harsh climates breed determent people. When landing you see the snow-covered world Moscow and its vicinity for the first time. A beautiful picture, like an interactive painting of shining lights underneath a blanket of snow. The plan lands and you get to experience Russia for the first time.
You and the passengers of about three to four other planes. At the same time. Through two security gates. Over two hundred people all going through two security gates, because that’s how many security gates Sheremetyevo International Airport has and apparently it also has not been upgraded in any way since the cold war ended. And it’s now supposed to be an international airport, with connecting flights going to Asia, Japan, China, Taiwan you name it. All through to two gates.
I had 1h 45minutes to get from one plane to another and I’m still eternally happy they transported my luggage on their own from plane to plane, because I spent 1h 20minutes in a giant crowd in front of these two gates. A giant crowd coming from several planes. A giant crowd eager to get to their next plane, because they too had connecting flights to get and some had less time than I to get there. There was shoving of course, some angry shouts here and there, but don’t you worry the Russian staff had a solution: Scream at people. In Russian. A language the people getting screamed at obviously didn’t understand. After a while I befriended a Chinese businessman, we where rubbing shoulders for the past ten minutes so might as well crack some jokes about the situation. We let an old woman get in front of us to get to her husband, the shoving of the crowd had separated the two somehow and I tried to stand behind a six-year-old to shield her a bit, but otherwise there was little to be done other than joking with my new best friend from China and looking at my watch from time to time.
Luckily my story with Russia ended when I got on a bus on the airport, this high-tech airport carries people to planes with buses, like any modern international airport does. Aerobridges where only used to get people quickly off the plane so that they could wait in front of the two security gates for hours, wouldn’t want to be too efficient now would we?
On the second plane things were much better after I downed two sedatives and fell asleep in the comfort only a budget long distance flight can provide. Though I figured out a neat little trick you can do if you have a hoodie and two of these plane blankets. Roll one up and put it around your neck, not the throat that’s somewhat uncomfortable, then pull the hoodie up and you have a nice little neck support. It’s softer than of these pillows you can buy and might be the only solution you have if you forgot, but hey, necessity is the mother of invention.