I have landed

After more than eight hours of being squeezed into the middle seat of the three-seat row next to the cabin wall on a Lufthansa plane, I have arrived in Munich. The airport is, as always, pleasant and uncrowded, and I leave in an hour for Zagreb.

The food on the plane was pretty dire, with a choice of pasta or chicken for dinner (I had pasta, which was passable but not tasty), and a lame breakfast: a tasteless muffin, a very few pieces of cubed fruit (like three small cubes of melon and a grape), and a packet of a few Oreos. That’s breakfast?

I sat through one movie, “Atonement,” based on Ian McEwan’s book. I’d seen it before, but couldn’t find any other films that either interested me or I wanted to revisit. “Atonement” is an excellent film, but McEwan’s book is even better.

The rest of the time I struggled to sleep, but it’s nearly impossible in that dreaded middle seat. And, of course, you have to disturb the passenger next to you if you want some juice from the galley or need to micturate. That’s the main reason I always ask for an aisle seat.

On to Zagreb!


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    All’s well that ends well

    Not-really-Pro tip : request the vegetarian meal. I’ve always had mine served before everyone else. Not fair, but hey. Sometimes it’s really good, like curry, or something, and hot.

    Haven’t tried kosher yet. Might.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 12, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Though I haven’t flown in quite some time, I’ve always eaten kosher when flying, though I’m not Jewish. Better food.

      • Henry
        Posted October 12, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        “Asian vegetarian” is the best option when available.

      • Bob
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        I too have ordered kosher in the past until it was once served to me still frozen. The stewardess said she could not heat it as she was not allowed to touch it. Go figure.

      • Bob
        Posted October 13, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        I too have ordered kosher in the past until it was once served to me still frozen. The stewardess said she could not heat it as she was not allowed to touch it. Go figure.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    There is a show on TV called My cat from Hell. You could probably do a show called My Flight from Hell. However, all of us who have experienced many international flights will not be watching.

  3. Posted October 12, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    This post really makes me look forward to my trans-Atlantic flight next week. Not! 😹

  4. Glenda Palmer
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Reading most of these accounts of international air travel sure help me get over the fact that those travel days are well behind me now. My person misery story was at
    the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi.

    Then the plus side for me is that I can read PCC’s excellent coverage of people, places, events and food while he travels. A very acceptable second best for me.

    Stay with the updates please.

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Here’s a true pro-tip, that’s completely general :

    Bring multiple pairs of fresh clean socks in easy to reach locations, like pockets, etc.

    Upon settling into the seat for nine hours, swap your socks – well before they get clammy. I like a pair of travel sandals, but it’s anith story.

    Point is : improve your life a notch by using more oairs of socks per day. Just try it.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted October 12, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Paid for by Big Sock

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted October 12, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        “Big Sock” – LOL!

  6. Posted October 12, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Personally I can’t stand the aisle seat. It seems that no one can walk by me without brushing against me, which is annoying if I’m trying to sleep. I prefer the window, as I rarely need to leave my seat.

    • Posted October 12, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Not to mention the views are extraordinary. How often do we get to see the world from that angle? The view during the day is endlessly fascinating. You can see weird wave patterns and calm slicks on the ocean, can peer down into coral reefs, can see glacier trails and fault lines on land, and even the clouds present fascinating regularities that pass unperceived by land-bound observers.

      • darrelle
        Posted October 12, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Completely agree. I always try to get a window seat.

      • Diane G
        Posted October 12, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Thirded! I only wish there were some way to know in advance which seats had the best window views available. (I’ve gotten many a stiff neck looking out a window that juts only half-way into my seat row.)

        Larry Summers recently wrote one of the most naive, elitist articles imaginable for the WaPo — https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-united-states-of-lots-of-different-americas/2018/10/08/d5e0f7f6-cb22-11e8-a3e6-44daa3d35ede_story.html –, which predictably has been met with suitable derision by many. So I’ll just point out one of his first sentences that left me shaking my head:

        Driving across America, as opposed to looking down from a plane, makes clear how much of this vast country is uninhabited.

        WTH? IMO, looking down from a plane makes it abundantly clear, and then some!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 13, 2018 at 2:50 am | Permalink

          Another reason to hate the 787. It has electronically dimmable windows and on the flight I took, either my passenger’s dimming controls were broken or the crew overrode them so I couldn’t see a damn thing.

          What a crock.


          • Diane G
            Posted October 13, 2018 at 4:23 am | Permalink


    • Rita Prangle
      Posted October 12, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I’m so grateful for all those who feel that way, you provide more chances for me to have an aisle seat.

      • Diane G
        Posted October 12, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        And ditto to you aisle-ers. 🙂

  7. Nicholas K.
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I regularly take the 16 hour nonstop flight from Chicago to Taipei. We always spend a bit more and take “elite economy.” I would not survive coach class, which was packed. We even flew one time as the ONLY 2 passengers in the elite section — 50 empty seats around us while coach was a sardine can!

    Now I read there are new nonstop flights between Singapore and Newark and Doha to Auckland that take nearly 20 hours. Why would anyone voluntarily take such a flight in coach?

    I also took a recent flight from London to Chicago where I paid American Airlines 60 dollars extra for a better seat in economy. But, the seat ended up having a broken audio system, was a middle seat, and the plane was filthy. London/Chicago is a popular route. But, airlines feel they can treat you like garbage unless you are flying business class or better (usually, with business paying the fare). There really is a class divide.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 12, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Dubai to Auckland – 16-17 hours – is tolerable in coach in an Emirates A380 because the seats have more room than I’ve experienced before.
      The first occasion, in fact, when the seat has actually had slightly more room than I really needed. And they’re comfortable seats.

      (Absolute worst seat experienced recently – a 787 of China Eastern. Too hard to sit in comfortably, impossible to relax. My whole body ached. The same airline’s old domestic A320’s were so much better I dozed off in the middle of the morning after a painful sleepless overnight on the 787).


  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    A packet of Oreos — the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.

    I used to use that line on my sons whenever I’d catch them in the kitchen eating something off-beat, like cold pizza, for their morning meal. Then I’d grab a slice, too.

  9. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I always get dehydrated but also have a limited bladder capacity at my age, so long flights – I’m talking 12-15 hours here – were a wearisome balancing act between thirst and running to the loo. I’ve tried scoring water off the attendants each time they pass but then I end up balancing several of those little cups of water, which is no fun. (Aside from the angel a.k.a Etihad Airways flight attendant who gave me a full 1.5 litre bottle – ‘don’t tell anybody’ 🙂

    So my tip – take an empty water bottle through security. Then if there’s nowhere to buy water in the boarding area (and in some dire airports there isn’t), then just shamelessly score water off the attendants each time they pass and top up the water bottle with it. That way you can time your drinking to suit yourself.

    Other tip – Emirates A380’s are the first airliner I’ve flown on that have more seat space in Cattle Class than I actually needed.


  10. yazikus
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    and a packet of a few Oreos.

    Blasphemy! Oreos are not even food, are they? Sounds like a trying journey so far, hope the rest goes smoothly!

  11. Frank Bath
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    ‘Atonement’ is worth watching for the phenomenally long tracking shot of retreating British soldiers trapped at Dunkirk and waiting to be evacuated from the beaches. Heart bursting. YouTube will provide.

  12. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The real villain in “Atonement” is played by a then-unknown Benedict Cumberbatch

    • Posted October 12, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I was going to write an outraged post about how he was not unknown to we in Britain because of Sherlock, but on checking my dates I discovered that Atonement was released in 2007, which is a whole eleven years ago.

  13. David Coxill
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Having had the misfortune to fly into Frankfurt airport on our way to Malta ,i can only say that i hope the guy who designed it gets savaged by his guide dog.
    Yes i know it is an ex USAF base .

    Missed our flight out because the online site i booked the flight on had only allowed 25 minutes to catch the flight to Malta .

  14. James Walker
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    On every long-haul flight my mantra is “this too shall end”.

    I recently flew between conferences in Auckland and Cape Town, via Dubai. The flight between Auckland and Dubai was 17 hours. Because it was for work, I had to book through the company travel agent, and I neglected to ask for an aisle seat. They put me in a window seat and I got stuck beside two guys who spent almost the entire flight asleep. I had to wake them a couple of times to use the toilet and stretch my legs, but it was touch and go and one point about whether I’d need to use the water bottle … on the way back I made sure to change my seats to the aisle.

    Thankfully it was on Emirates, whose service I can’t praise enough.

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