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High anxiety of air travel shows I made right move




Washed Up column, by Sarah Juggins

On my travels again. This time a short hop over the Channel to Switzerland for a work meeting. The trip offered several reminders of how relaxed I have become since moving back to West Norfolk after time in big cities.

How do I know this? Simply by observing the actions of others and thinking: ‘This used to be me’.

Washed Up column, by Sarah Juggins
Washed Up column, by Sarah Juggins

Take, for example, the women who was told that her huge suitcase would have to go in the hold as there was no room in the overhead lockers.

Ranting at the poor air steward whose job it was to impart this news, the women flew into a rage. When anger, followed by desperate pleading, had no effect, she suddenly happened upon inspiration. “Medication,” she declared triumphantly. “I have essential medication so I need the bag with me at all times.”

Triumph turned to despair/embarrassment as the steward told her to take her medication out of the bag so she could keep it with her. I couldn’t swear to it, but I think the packages she sheepishly stuffed into her pocket were paracetamol and blister patches.

On the plane itself, an air steward waited patiently while a red-faced and highly stressed middle-aged man held up his hand to quieten her as she asked him to turn his phone off ahead of take-off.

Obviously we all leaned in to listen to his conversation. If it was this important, it had to be good.

“I’m just checking you received the email I sent last Thursday,” he bellowed, presumably unaware that today was Wednesday so six days had passed in which he could have asked that all important question.

Alternatively, he could have waited 1 hour and 40 minutes and not kept a plane waiting.

At passport control in Switzerland it was a similar situation. There are always huge queues at Geneva airport and the trick is to get into the queue that looks least controversial.

I try to avoid queues that include family groups – the kids always take ages; groups of college students heading off on holiday; older people, particularly couples. And so there is a fair amount of anxiety about whether you have joined the best queue.

Since moving to Norfolk, much of this high-stress has gone out of the window. I can almost hear the Norfolk dialect creeping into my voice as I tell myself: “There’s no need to put on our parts, we’ll all get there in the end.”


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