Fortunately, I don’t freak out about hurtling in a tin can above land and sea. When the engines roar and the plane speeds up for takeoff, I say to myself, “if this is it, I have had the best run in this life and have no complaints,” a mantra I took from my late husband as he was dying of prostate cancer. I also say a thank you to whatever power might be out there that has protected me, sustained me and enabled me to rise up to meet the day.
I call this post “fear of flying” not because I have sudden doubts about my safety but because on Wednesday I will embark on an itinerary that, even if it goes smoothly, will be the trip from hell. Months back, I got a huge bargain on business class for what would be under any circumstances a grueling journey from San Diego to Dubai—roughly 50,000 points from a card I had dumped and was trying to zero out my points. Sounded great at the time.
It was what they call a “mixed ticket,” meaning that some legs will be in economy, but the biggie, Toronto to Cairo, and the last leg, Cairo to Dubai, will be in business. That’s okay, because the first two legs, San Diego to Chicago and Chicago to Toronto are in premium economy Good enough.
the trip from hell part, however is twofold. First, I have four flights to get there ( the first a red-eye)—four opportunities for game-changing delays and lost luggage ( universe, I did not say that). Each stop involves a two hour layover, which adds to the hell, but does reduce the risk.
Second, the business class is on Egypt Air, which on the one hand has never crashed that I know of, but upon closer look has crappy seating in business and apparently the most lackluster service in the skies. And, they serve no alcohol at all. I don’t care about the last, except that some wine does help with napping. Still, the happy gene sings in my ear, at least I won’t be squeezed into Economy.
So what could possibly go wrong, I ask myself, my voice creeping into upper register. Well, plenty, including my two biggest fears, that I and/or my luggage won’t arrive on time to catch the ship. I do that double nightmare “what if” every time I set out, which is why I (and hopefully my bags) always arrive a day early. Though this one is a bit scarier, I tell myself it will work out somehow. It always does.
Still, when I see my bags slide down on the carousel in Dubai with enough time to catch the ship, I will heave the biggest sigh of relief ever in my Years of Living Travelly. Rude attendants, mediocre food, bad departure lounges—all things to shrug off, or maybe write about in my next post. And if there is one, it’s a sign I survived.
UPDATE: Bags and I all arrived successfully. Thirty hours to get here, even with no delays. This morning we go to the ship!