Fearful Flying.

The title is perhaps a bit of an oxymoron for me, as I actually love flying and am not scared of it at all.

To sit back in the aeroplane chair, snap the seatbelt shut and know that you are ‘unreachable’ for the next few hours is pure bliss. No, the things I’m fearful of are all the processes that need to happen BEFORE you can snap that shiny silver seatbelt shut.

imageMy biggest worry, and I don’t know why this is, is the whole weight issue. I stress big time that my bags are going to be too heavy. It’s a totally irrational fear, I know, because if they are too heavy why wouldn’t I just pay the extra at the airport? I will pack my bags weeks before and I’m even sad to admit that I own not one, but two, sets of portable luggage scales, a mechanical and an electronic one. I will spend days rearranging items, seeing if I can possibly trim any weight. I’m a whizz at decanting all my lotions and potions into the smallest possible receptacles, no great big 750ml bottle of shampoo and conditioner for me sir. I am guilty though, of doing the 11th hour throw in of random stuff though. You know the “Oh I better just throw in an EXTRA this that or the other, just incase I might need it on my trip away.” – which I never do. Note to self, I need to impose a bag curfew that after a certain time slot, the bags are closed and stay closed!

The next thing is getting to the airport on time. Not only will I allow plenty of time to get to the airport, I will even leave extra, imageextra time up my sleeve. I left so much time up my sleeve on a recent domestic flight from Melbourne to Sydney, I had 2 hours to kill after checking in and going through security. Not that I’m complaining, as people watching in airports is one of my favourite pastimes. If this was a career path, I’d be CEO of some huge people watching company. It is just a shame that during outbound airport transfers I usually spend more time looking at my watch than enjoying the scenery outside…

Following on from that, I panic when I can’t immediately locate an item once at the airport. Passport, I KNOW I have it but where is it? Next a frantic dig throughout the handbag, ahhh there it is. Mobile phone, I have it but where is it, ahhh there it is. Boarding pass, I have it but where is it, ahhh there it is. Etc etc. I’ve decided that I need to invest in a see-through coat with lots of pockets, so I can put all these super important traveling items in it and I can see where they are at a glance.

imageAlso the food, I hate purchasing pre fabricated sandwiches and wraps that stand at attention at every food outlet waiting, hoping, that the next person will choose them and that they can finally escape the confines of the chiller. And the likes of McDonalds, well let’s not even go there shall we, yuk. So, I take all my food with me. I don’t care how soggy my smoked salmon, mayo and lettuce wrap gets 8 hours after I prepared it, I will still eat it and think of it as the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten, yum. Then there is the endless stream of muesli bar and nuts that spill forth from my hand bag like a vending machine. Of course I never end up eating all the food I bring and half the time I have to toss it out into the quarantine amnesty bin upon arrival, but I don’t care, because you know, I might starve otherwise.

These are all fears I have when I’m just travelling normally, shall we now throw in the extra stress of taking 2 bikes and the associated paraphernalia of bike touring with us on a plane as well, aaaaaaargggggghhhhhhhh!

In just under a month we will be heading off on our next tour when we will be flying from Melbourne to Hobart with our imagebikes. This flight is not even an hour long, but it might as well be half way around the world as far as I’m concerned. It involves deflating tyres, taking racks, handlebars, seat posts and wheels off, zip tying the whole lot together, then packing them up into cardboard boxes and checking them in as oversized sports equipment. Our panniers will be shoved into ‘white striped bags’ and checked in as regular luggage. This as sounds pretty straight forward and as long as the boxes don’t split open, all should be ok.

We also plan to take our little hiking stove and fuel bottle, mmmmm airlines are not too keen on flammable things like that. So we have to make sure everything is empty and scrupulously clean, because as soon as there is even the smallest whiff of fuel it won’t be allowed on.

I’m sure everything will be ok and perhaps it’s just that it is my first time flying with bikes that has me all worked up, I hope so.

Confidence is preparation.  Everything else is beyond your control.  ~Richard Kline


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