I wish I could blame the airline, or even the tossers whose failed terror plot meant heightened airport security and threats of longer screening times. I even wish I could just blame Mum. But no, my sitting in a corner of Melbourne Tullamarine’s Terminal 4 two hours before my flight to Sydney even boards is all my own fault.
I have a phobia. I'm pretty sure there's no fancy Latin term for it and I guarantee those of us who suffer this affliction receive little of the sympathy that aviophobics (those with a fear of flying) are afforded. There are no words of consolation at check-in or warm cups of tea once you board. We are the lesser scared and what we're scared of is missing our flights.
I am a supremely relaxed flyer. I can sleep through the strongest of turbulence, happily be on a plane in the middle seat for as long as the flight will have me. But before a flight you'd think I had a fear of flying.
If my flight is an early one, chances are I will have little sleep the night before. I’ll likely try and lie to whoever is dropping me off about the time of my flight’s departure so that I can get dropped off earlier than I need to.
It’s a waste of time I know, but until I'm sitting at my gate (if it’s been allocated yet) the time is wasted for me in worry anyway. I know I could be at home in comfort instead of pacing a near empty gate, but I wouldn't be comfortable. I would be worried about traffic, the lines at security…
It’s better this way, I tell my colleagues. I can work from the gate and because I'm working off all my nervous energy I get loads done.
I write all this at the empty gate of my delayed Jetstar Flight 504. I, like many travellers this week, received a text from the airline advising, that “the Australian Government has introduced additional aviation security measures at international and domestic terminals at Australia's major airports” and that passengers should arrive at the airport two hours before domestic flights.
I was happy with this. It was like a government endorsement of my phobia. The problem is, there were no lines at security. There are always lines at security. It didn't help that I had no bags to check in and a mobile boarding pass. I was through the whole process in a matter of minutes. And then the waiting began.
Due to depart at 8.25am, we ended up not taking off until 9.15am due to technical problems with the plane when it was back in Sydney. We landed at 10.20am.
Flying above snow is always a treat and the stunning views made up for the ‘free massage’ I got from the little girl behind me kicking the back of my seat for the whole flight. Staff were lovely and gifted another child with a free container of Pringles and even sorted a lid for him when he lost the lid to his water bottle.
An overall relaxing travel experience.
Date of travel: 1 August 2017
Seat number: 25E (middle)