Saturday, April 2, 2011

I am grateful for...air travel

Up in the air I fly, zoom, zoom a zoomer zoom zoom. 
 I don't think there has been in a year in my life when I have not boarded a plane.  
My Mother, like me, raised her young family away from her own extended family.
Lucky for her my father was in the Air Force, which meant lots of free flights!
Before you start imagining a jet setting family, holidaying in exotic places, let me explain.

Air Force travel was in the back of a "Herc" Hercules aircraft, with no air conditioning, in with the cargo, flip down seats and jet style seat belts. 
Always our flights were to North Queensland to see family.
 As children we LOVED it!  It was noisy, hot and very exciting!
We had little lunch packs in plastic containers, Inspector Gadget invisible ink books and each other.

There was no booking flights online at a time convenient for you.  No forward planning. Mum would simply be told at a moments notice that there was room on a flight and off we would go.  
Because of the lack of notice she was always by herself as Dad would have to work.  
I am positive it was a stressful experience for her.   Loading us all into the plane often heavily pregnant.  In fact I do remember one emergency landing after Mum with the two of us and heavily pregnant was feeling very sick.  
But she endured it all for the same reason I do today.  
To see your family.

There is nothing like an airport greeting.  
The looking out the window inspecting every passenger as they disembark, comparing similarities in appearance to your loved one.  
That one has hair like her? no too short.  
She has a shirt like wrong again. 
Or walking down that corridor trying to glimpse through the crowd, to view who is waiting for you.
Then there is all the embracing hug awaiting you.  
The cheerful almost excitingly shrieking hello's.
You are there.  
The thousands of kilometres separating you have been miraculously turned into a matter of minutes.  

Little Miss A took her first flight at 3 months and Master O at 4 months.  
They have both been fantastic fliers and generally sleep the whole way. 
(I am grateful for that too!)
 Now you can book your flight online for an absolute fraction of the price of 10years ago (I still remember saving $500 for a one way ticket to Brisbane in 1997!) It is safe, comfortable and still exciting as always.  The invisible ink books have been replaced by portable dvd players and ipods.

But the end product hasn't changed.  The excitement still builds as we take our seats and listen to the safety announcements. It won't be long now until we see our family.
We still peer out to see who is waiting for us, except now Master O runs down the corridor swerving amongst the passengers like a dodgem car.
We still wait at the airport very impatiently for our visitors to arrive, faces against the windows and leaving little handprints on the class.
The hugs are even tighter now, amidst threats of engine failure and terrorism we are relieved when we are safe on the ground.
But we are grateful.  Grateful to see our family.  Grateful for a safe flight.
Grateful for the miracle of air flight...turning kilometres into minutes...into treasured time with family far away.


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  1. I would have been grateful for air travel as a youngster, no matter how it came. We endured two days in the car to visit the relies in Far North QLD most Christmases. Sigh. x

  2. I agree, air travel is kids travelled early in their lives that Grandma and Grandad in NZ could get to know them!

  3. Isn't arriving just the BEST? (I am such a sooky la la at departures)...

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