While reading blogs yesterday, I came across this one in which the blogger wrote about how she always felt she was unlucky when she traveled by air until the one day her luck changed. It’s a nice post. You should go read it.
It reminded me of my air travel story. Well, I have a lot of them but there is one in particular that I will share today. In 2009, my son gifted me with a trip to Australia for Mother’s Day. He had planned on going by himself then on Mother’s Day, he surprised me with a travel guide to Australia, a Cheshire cat smile, and the words “you’re coming with me, Mom”! I was humbled by his thoughtfulness. And I was excited. Australia was one of those places I had always dreamed of visiting but never thought I would get there.
Our flight from San Francisco took us to Los Angeles where we then boarded Qantas headed to Melbourne. It was a 15 hour flight. The seating was better than on a domestic flight but for that long of a flight, not a lot can be comfortable. My son and I had hoped that we would have empty seats next to us or somehow be able to spread out a little bit. I’m short (only 5′) but my son is tall (he’s 6’2″) and needs more leg room. We ended up next to a 70ish couple and we were in the last row of that section so no one behind us. I let my son have the aisle seat that was assigned to me and I sat next to the woman who was teeny tiny. I don’t think they spoke English and if they did, they didn’t say a word to us during the entire flight (they spoke Japanese to each other). About an hour into the flight, the woman took a nap. That was great except for one thing. She had stretched out putting her head in her husband’s lap and her feet in my lap! No matter how much I nudged her feet off of me, she would put them back on my lap. We got through the flight without any problems other than the fact that her feet were on me. I couldn’t sleep but it was a great excuse to have some of Qantas’ complimentary Bundaberg rum…and I did as rum is my favorite boozy drink!
We had a wonderful two week adventure. At the end of the week we flew from Melbourne to Cairns with a stop in Brisbane then a few days later we flew from Cairns to Sydney. I’ve written about the trip on this blog and I think if you search it for “Australia” you will find the posts and lots of pictures. But I’ll get on with the return flight which proved to be different from the flight to Australia.
My son had tried to get us seats together on the way back but had not been able to. This made me nervous because I really don’t like sitting next to strangers and because I often need help when I travel (due to a back injury and to being so short!). I suggested that he ask at check in if there were any way we could switch seats with someone so we could sit together. However, my son has not been raised to rock the boat. He tends to (not as much anymore) accept things as they are given to him. So he didn’t ask. The flight was delayed so we sat waiting and waiting then when the check in crew arrived, I took Tony’s boarding pass along with mine and went up to the desk. Tony said don’t do it. There wasn’t anyway to change the seating, he said. But I told him that it wouldn’t hurt to ask and reminded him of what a long flight it was. Our seats were about three rows away from each other, not even close enough for me to get his attention to help me if I had needed help. So I explained to the agent at the desk that my son and I were traveling together but our seats were three rows apart and asked if there were any seats next to each other, or even aisle seats across from each other. She took the tickets and said in her Aussie accent, “Oh my lord! They didn’t put you together? We can’t have that! I’ll take care of it!” So we waited about five minutes; my son was very nervous. I don’t know what he thought would happen just for asking. Finally, she called me back to the desk and handed me new boarding passes, saying she had changed our seats. When they began to call the rows to board, I noticed that we had been put in a different section of the plane because our section was the first to be called to board. We hurried to board and when we got to our seats, we were amazed! We had been moved to a window row with only two seats. Two big, wide, roomy, comfy, leather seats! We were in business class! Along with the better seats with a lot more legroom came a better meal, more variety in the complimentary drinks, a lavatory for just a few rows, and better service. Tony’s eyes got big! He couldn’t believe it! He enjoyed the flight so much and was even able to sleep for a good portion of it. He looked at me and said, “I guess it never hurts to ask!”
So that was a good lesson for him to learn. He saw that I asked nicely. I wasn’t demanding, at all. I just asked. And they responded with courtesy, understanding, and efficiency!
And I think it might have been our reward for not being rude to the lady with her feet on my lap!
Waiting for our plane to come home
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