Friday, November 6, 2009


There is nothing quite so blissful as first class on British Airways from London to Los Angeles.  I especially covet flying in this direction as it means the fulfillment of my biggest fantasy – extra hours in the day!  I leave at 4pm, arrive at 7pm but have an amazing, hermetically sealed ten hours.  Never mind that the math is disastrous in the opposite direction.  I focus on my extra ten hours with no cell service, no email access and plenty of time to read, snooze and catch up on movies.  That is, of course, assuming that those around me adhere to the basic rules of flight etiquette.

The basic rules of flight etiquette, in my opinion, demand a certain kind of awareness.  The traveler must realize that the sanctity of the pod creates the illusion of privacy within a somewhat public space.  So in order to maintain this illusion, I believe two simple rules must be enforced.  Keep to yourself.  And keep quiet.  

But today, someone broke the rules.  There I was, bobbing along above the clouds, blissfully hovering between a script and a nap and thoroughly enjoying the downtime after a grueling 24 hours of meetings when suddenly, my bliss bubble was popped by screeching laughter from the pod behind me.  A woman’s high pitched voice, piercing the solitude and violating the rules of pod travel while watching some comedy or other on her teeny tiny movie screen.  “Ok,” I thought to myself, “clearly this is a one time outburst.”  And then a man’s booming laugh.  Her husband, in the pod next to her, watching the same movie but on a 45 second delay.  For the next two hours, every time she laughed, he laughed shortly thereafter.  Needless to say, neither was happy with just one movie during the flight.

Why, you might ask, didn’t I get up and simply ask them to pipe down?  Why didn’t I politely suggest that they might giggle more discreetly?  Or even send the steward on the cruel errand?  Why?  I guess in part I was envious.  How wonderful to be so completely unselfconscious that you can roar with laughter in your own private bubble!  How amazing to be swept away by a movie or a tv show and lose yourself for a moment or two (or in their case, ten hours or so)! 

So I ignored them as best I could.  I put on my own headset and popped up my own teeny, tiny screen and lost myself in Roman Holiday for the twentieth time, and wept into my mint tea and scones with clotted crème.  I still believe in the sanctity of the pod but I am oddly tickled by the loud, movie-watching couple.  Bon Voyage!

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