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Learn from my mistakes - Part 3 - Bangkok to London

Even though, at four and a half, Loll had long since been toilet trained, I decided that it was safer for him to wear a pull-up on the plane is case of accidents. I was also worried that he might “really need to go” during turbulence when we would be unable to leave our seats. In any case I needn’t have worried as I discovered that my son has a bladder of steel. If not for my insistence he would have lasted from Bangkok to London (13 hrs) without going to the toilet once. Not even the novelty of the aircraft bathroom and its super strong flush was going to tempt him to go more often.

QF1, Qantas’ flagship, flies through the night from Bangkok to Heathrow. The problem with night flights is that you need to sleep - and so do your children - especially as you have an entire day to get through on arrival if you want to lessen the effects of jetlag. When you have kids in tow there is the added pressure to keep them quiet so that other people can sleep. Everyone is quick to blame the baby in row 28 or the preschooler in row 39 for keeping them awake. However, in my experience it is often other adults who are the culprits.

On this particular flight there was a rugby league supporters’ tour on board. They seemed determined to drink their way to London while blocking the aisles and chatting loudly. As a result Loll didn’t get a lot of sleep (and so neither did I!). For the most part he was quite content to sit and watch cartoons on his personal TV until tragedy struck and the transmission for Disney channel suddenly stopped. Of course the M rated movies were still working and so the cabin crew refused to reboot the system. With no TV, cramped seating and little sleep Loll started to fidget and cry. The man in front (who was reading with his overhead light on) gave us a dirty look (and yet he ignored the middle age men drinking in the aisles) but finally the tape loop restarted and with the return of Lilo and Stitch Loll was content again.

Having left Sydney over an hour late we had managed to make up time during the flight only to find ourselves stuck in a holding pattern above London. Lack of sleep combined with the air pressure meant that my migraine was returning with a vengeance. It felt as though my brain was going to be squeezed out of my ears and I was on the verge of crying when we finally got the clearance to land.

By this time we were getting dangerously close to the time of our next flight to Paris. In fact, we only had 40 minutes to spare - not a lot of time in the worlds’ busiest airport. Even though our next flight was in the same terminal we still had to clear security and check in. We made it to the BA flight with minutes to spare.

Once on board we made our way to our seats. As I was about to sit down I noticed a piece of metal on my seat. It was shaped like the blade from a box-cutter or a razor blade. Now this was post 9/11 so I was somewhat disturbed by this but in my foggy migraine-induced state of mind I didn’t know what to do and so I picked it up and gave it to a cabin crew member. I have no idea what he did with it and I’m not sure what I expected would happen but nobody questioned me and we took off without delay. It was only mid-flight that I began to worry about why a blade was allowed to be on a plane in this day and age.

The flights between London and continental Europe are surprisingly short when you have just stepped off a 21 hr flight from Australia. It feels like you have only just made your ascent when you have to descend again. There is barely time for a quick cup of coffee before the seatbelt sign comes on again. I love flying over the Channel and seeing the UK disappear and France appear. I also love to fly into Paris - you see the Eiffel Tower, the Seine and the Sacre Coeur come into view and know that you are in Europe and a long way from home.


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