Some months ago, myself and my family regaled in that rare antiqued delight, the holiday. To proper abroadland, on a metal vessel that required a passport to access. Long-haul, transatlantic. I know, right?
Currently I’m so penniless that I want to maim anyone who asks me “where are you off to for holibobs?” when it’s prefaced by “we’re just going to Disney FOR THE EIGHTH TIME SINCE MAY”. We can’t even stretch to a midweek break in the cheap seats at Centre Parcs in the arse end of November.
Anyway, back to the times of financial glory where we had two incomes. Our party of travellers includes the following:
Toddler: then aged 2.5. Flying experience: 0 hours. Blank canvas.
Husband: then aged 31.5. Flying experience: 70 hours. Utterly petrified of being airborne, basically needs a tranq dart to reach the gangway.
Myself: then aged 29 and approx 800 days. Flying experience: 60 hours. Notable discerning feature: seven months pregnant. That’s seven, not several.
Here are some of my top “Oh, it’ll be alright because…” moments.
1. Oh, it’ll be alright because…we’ll get priority boarding, what with having a toddler and being a preggo.
Nah, not unless you’re practically mounting the boarding desk from the very second you can check in and run your fat little preggo legs over to your gate. Everyone has a child, foetus, babe in arms or zimmerframe. You’re not special. You’re in Zone 2 to be called. EVERYONE except royalty is also in Zone 2. Zones 1 and 3 are myths. Back of the queue you go.
2. Oh, it’ll be alright because…it’s a night flight, we’ll all sleep.
No, we won’t. We will prime the toddler for sleep, because after all, it’s midnight and we’ve kept her awake since 4pm. However, the clang of the dinner trolley and the imperceptible chirping of Minions from the row in front will put the kybosh on that.
She will sleep, at 3am (originating time zone. Christ knows where the hell we are now). But she’ll stretch out like a cat and own your laps.
3. Oh, it’ll be alright because…we have a Trunki full of ents.
Well, either that or a stowed dismembered farm animal within a plastic farm animal tomb, because that thing is way heavy and she WILL want the sticker book right at the bottom. She will then spy the secret bribery sweets you’ve tucked away within a lurid green elasticated flap, and harp on about them with increasing fervor until you administer said bribery sweets to bribe her to shut the fuck up.
Yeah, and you think you’re so smart for buying proper kids headphones for the little TV screen? The audio jack on the armrest doesn’t like those. They’ll work, sure, but only if your thumb and forefinger bridge the connection and your child sits like an immobile hatstand for the duration.
4. Oh, it’ll be alright because…I’ve changed our seats so we’re right next to the toilet.
Admittedly, this was a masterstroke because I need to make the wees every five minutes. However, the trade off is being constantly surrounded by people, and becoming increasingly violated by the whiff of raw pollutant disguised faintly as lavender.
5. Oh, it’ll be alright because…you’ll get treated like a troupe of specials on account of all the preggo and all the toddler.
Refer to point 1, you’re just a number on a flight deck. You may also want to try and stockpile water from the drinks trolley because what’s the number one adage about flying when knocked up? Stay hydrated. Cabin crew don’t seem to like repeated requests for water, however. “Sorry, er, can I be a pain and grab an orange juice and a bottle of water please?”
“Absolutely ma’am, here’s your black coffee and six sugars. Back it up Paulette, we’re fresh out of gin.”
6. Oh, it’ll be alright because…our stopover will give us time for a good old leg stretch and something to eat.
Except you didn’t plot out the times, did you? We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner within the space of six hours on the plane. We landed. We now have FOUR HOURS to kill before we board our connecting flight, with a gate-to-gate time of approximately 30 minutes, not even shitting you. If you’ve done that concourse once, you’ve done it a thousand times. We do it a thousand times.
7. Oh, it’ll be alright because…WhatsApp is free and you can message fam’s fam from the airport.
No it isn’t, because the airport Wi-Fi is shit and instead your phone will gobble gobble gobble all that novelty holiday data with international roaming. Dipshit preggo neglected to realise that it’s an APP and by default uses internet juice to run. One photo of your child waving by the star spangled banner, sent to three parents, will cost approximately £35. Alright, £37.51.
8. Oh, it’ll be alright because…this is your last Big Holiday for a while.
Somehow, we’ve fallen into the rota of only leaving the British Isles in the year of the Olympiad. So that’ll be Malaga in 2020 then, at an eye-watering price because carbon and because Brexit.
Have a lovely time!
– SJW August 2016
This was published by the Huffington Post on 17th August 2016. You can view that version here.