To the man in seat 18A

So the thing is, I love holidaying and travelling, visiting other countries and of course, eating all of the things. But flying? Well, let’s just say I am not the greatest.

It all stems from an incident twenty years that saw me behaving like a crazy person after I flew solo on a flight from Lisbon to London through an electrical storm which saw the plane hit an air pocket. The oxygen masks dropped, the lights flickered on and off while the air hostesses screamed (in Portuguese) while making signs of the cross. When the staff begin to panic, I take it as a strong sign to release the adrenaline!

Once we levelled out and those who required savage Band-aiding had been seen too, I pulled the bottle of Cointreau out of my carry-on bag. I had left Mum in Lisbon for she was to come back to London a week later, and asked me to take it back for her. I knocked the top off that bottle. Taking a couple of big swings straight from it, the unfamiliar liquid burned down my throat before I handed it to the man sitting next to me, whose arms were marked with indentations of my very own nails.

A little bit like when you would get a stencil at school while the teacher would say, “Take one and pass it on.”

I never got the bottle back. When we landed and alighted, I totally got my John Paul 11 on and kissed the ground at Heathrow Airport.

I am a big believer in facing your fears, especially when it comes to flying. the truth is that commercial flying is the safest form of transport there is. I know this.

But occasionally, I get spooked.

A few weeks ago, I was lined up tramping across the tarmac because I had one of the seats up the back of the flight. It was cold, windy and rainy and I was feeling a little irritated. We moved up the rear stairs in the style of a slug, when the whole line came to a standstill.

The man in front in that queue wistfully looked at the plane, then turned around to me, and while his eyes met mine, he casually said: “It still amazes me that this huge big thing gets up into the air, and hopefully stats there.”

I spend the rest of that flight teaching the Japanese Exchange Student sitting next to all bout gin and tonics. I had two.

What is the worst flight you have ever been on?