Personally, if I could travel once more to the Cape, I’d still prefer sitting above four wheels, putting in fuel at every petrol station and getting a good meal from a deli.
Have you ever seen one of those movies that have some five-year-old kid lost in a grocery store, crying his eyes out and looking for his or her mother? Ever wondered what the kid could be feeling? Well imagine that five-year-old being 27, alone in an airport with nothing more than his smartphone. I had no tears running down my face but I did have loads of anxiety deep within me.
You see, even though I am quite fond of the new tech around me (by that I mean I keep up with most of the latest trends), I had still never seen an airline check-in station in my life! I was sent on an assignment to Cape Town and my editor thought I was joking when I told him I didn’t know how the whole flying thing worked.
I was last on a plane about 20 years ago and can’t remember much about it. My editor was set on making me man up. He guided me on how the entire process would work so I would get myself to Cape Town. On that same day, though, my fiancé’s cousin treated me like an old man who’s never browsed the internet and gave me a 20-minute lesson on how to use Mango’s site to check in and reserve seats.
The day came for me to fly and I must say, after hearing my friends tell me about UFOs crashing into planes, I was not looking forward to this one hour, 40 minute flight. To my surprise, I was not the only one fearing to get on board. This gave me some comfort that if I did die, I’d do it with people who were as nervous of flying as I was.
After gnashing my teeth waiting for the screen to flash up my flight number, I tried to play it cool. After all, who has ever met a millennial black boy with a southern Joburg accent who hasn’t been on a plane by himself? You see, many people in SA grow up seeing planes from the ground, so when they finally get to be in one at such an old age, they start thinking of the worst that could happen. Everybody’s seen planes crash and burn, or get hijacked … so sometimes people like me start imagining.
Honestly, the thing people will find scary the first time they need to board a plane is the airport. They can be confusing if you don’t know where you are and what you’re doing. It’s good to get some input about the airport you will be boarding at. Understand the layout of the place. Also, one of the most important things is to be there very early so that there won’t be any reason to rush and confuse yourself further.
But for all those who have never boarded a plane in their life, I must say that it’s seriously not that bad. The worst you experience is a lot of shaking when you’re in the air and a bit more as you land. Oh, and depending on what airline you use, the food could be pretty hard to swallow – don’t pick the chicken on SAA!
Personally, if I could travel once more to the Cape, I’d still prefer sitting above four wheels, putting in fuel at every petrol station and getting a good meal from a deli. Despite all the nonsense, do we seriously need to fear airports and planes? Absolutely not! To those who have not taken a trip to any place in SA, it’s seriously not that expensive. Man up like I had to and familiarise yourself with the various public services on offer.
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