Two Weeks in Sun Drenched Heaven

In all my years as cabin crew I had never experienced any real stress with airline travel and rather enjoyed the hustle and bustle of airport life. Being whizzed through security at staff search, swiping my I.D. pass along the routes marked for airline personnel only. Heck, I even had time to pick up a quick coffee from Starbucks before greeting my passengers on board with a smile.

That is until we went on holiday; our first family holiday.

Of course, I had previously jetted away to many a far-flung shore, but back then it had been in a work capacity or on holiday with just my daughter. Now, I had a partner, William, and with him came two rambunctious rascals of the human male species aged 5 and 10.

The evening before our trip, William and the boys arrived at my house with an abundance of bags and much ado. My daughter, aged eight, got caught up in the mayhem and announced that she couldn’t possibly go to sleep! And she didn’t, well not until 2am. Three hours later my alarm beep beeped and blearily, I heaved my naked self-off to the shower. But was greeted by William’s eldest. Heaven only knows how long he had been standing out there in the hall.

After weighing our luggage on my bathroom scales, checking for passports, tickets, and the proverbial spectacles, testicles, wallets and watch, we extracted one of the boys from the car boot – he thought it would be fun to ride alongside the cases – and at last we were on our way.

At the airport, I was more than a little peeved that my cabin crew status did not impress the check-in girl enough to up-grade us to extra legroom. However, she did group our seats together so there was no chance of us being split up. Queuing at security we nearly lost the youngest boy twice, hell bent was he to run, skip and knee slide his way through the miles of shuffling chain-gang passengers. A tannoy announcement was making a final call for our flight and we still hadn’t cleared security.

‘Does this bag belong to you Sir?’ asked the security officer.
‘Er, yes,’ replied William.
‘Please come with me and open your bag.’

Disbelief and grovelling followed as the officer pulled out two red water pistols.
‘But Dad, we wanted to take them,’ huffed the boys.

This is the last and final call to the remaining passengers still to board flight AIH 984, departing in five minutes to Orlando, Florida. Please make your way IMMEDIATELY onto the aircraft.

The aircraft was at gate 133, the furthest away. We ran.

Applause surrounded us when we finally stepped on-board and red faced, we made our walk of shame to the very back row. Of course there was no space left in
the overhead lockers and thanks to a bulkhead, our seat backs were rigid and refused to recline. Squeezing myself into the middle, purposely separating the boys from punching lumps out of each other, I thought, so much for two weeks in sun drenched heaven, I should have booked a fortnight at a “Haven” holiday camp instead.

F Cowan

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