By Caitlin Kelly
As some here know, I live to travel — 41 countries so far and so many more I’m so eager to visit: Iceland, Finland, Morocco, Japan, maybe back to New Zealand and definitely back to Scotland, Ireland, England and France.
That also means hours airborne and I have bizarrely mixed emotions about flying:
I love flying, in theory, but loathe wide-body aircraft and being jammed into one with 300+ other people. I know that smaller aircraft, especially the very smallest, can be more dangerous and bumpy. I just hate being surrounded by so many people 35,000 feet in the air for hours.
I can’t wait to go somewhere far away!
Ohhhhh, I hate turbulence.
And now, the notion of. 6,8, 9 hours wearing a mask?
So, in the meantime, I’m watching every possible film and TV show set far from the United States, like Baptiste (Amsterdam), Happy Valley, Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland (England, Scotland, Wales), Wallander (Sweden, UK) and many others.
Jose and I are total #avgeeks, and on our Facebook and Instagram feeds watch JustPlanes.com— with the coolest aviation videos of planes taking off and landing all over the world, mostly from the cockpit!
I once had the most amazing experience — as an adult! — flying home into LaGuardia airport in New York from Toronto on Air Canada. The flight path goes down the Hudson River then turns east then south again to land.
The flight attendant, seeing me peer excitedly out the window as we got closer and closer to the airport — pre 9/11 and prohibited cockpit visits — asked if I’d like to see the landing from inside the cockpit.
Are you kidding!?
What a fantastic thrill!
I’ve had a few aviation adventures over the years:
The domestic Nicaraguan airline whose aircraft was so tiny they weighed our baggage — and us!
Or the Russian-built aircraft I flew in in Venezuela, with all its interior markings in Cyrillic.
The flight from Valetta to Tunis, in a smallish aircraft and some turbulence, with all communications in Arabic only.
Or the BOAC flight I took on Christmas Eve as a child to London — with holiday decorations hanging from the ceiling across the single aisle.
Flying as a courier (no ticket!) to Stockholm, Caracas, London and Bangkok.
Or the flight to Scotland, age 12, for a summer staying with a friend — smuggling my hamster Pickles underneath my coat in his custom-designed cage made by a friend’s father.
And the Faucett Air flight into Cuzco, Peru, a small landing strip surrounded by mountains and one with low cloud cover. That was a white-knuckler.
And the tiny plane that flew me and a Gazette photographer and a CBC reporter and a cameraman — and hundreds of boxes of donated clothing — from Kuujjuaq to Salluit, Quebec, flying north for hours about the treeline, with nothing but ice and snow to see and eventually land on.
One of my favorite books, ever, is one written by a former 747 British Airways pilot Mark vanHoenacker, (still flying for them, but not that aircraft), Skyfaring. It is the most lyrical and lovely book about how the world appears from the air, and the cockpit.
I admit to being a total fangirl, in awe of all pilots and their skills.
Jose knows, if he’s meeting me at the airport arriving, I’m often last out because I’ve had a quick chat with the pilots, if possible.
Do you have a favorite airline?
Type of aircraft?
Or a great aviation tale to share?