March 2007


The Trip Home

I cannot say that I am wholly impressed with Air France.

Three out of four flights were late, the check-in agent at JFK enforced a rule I had never heard of (forcing me to check my bags, and, consequently, almost missing my train in Leipzig), and the flight attendants on my scheduled 22:55 (actual 23:45) departure some how missed the obvious clue that I wanted to be left alone—evidenced by the fact that I was asleep when they dropped crap on my lap, and by the fact that when the FA asked me “Beef or Chicken” I answered “still water” and he repeated his question, “What do you want for dinner, beef or chicken?”

Did he think I didn’t understand the question?

I mean, who eats dinner at 1 in the morning (New York Time), or even 7 am (Paris time)? I think the Spanish might come closest to eating dinner at 1am, but even then I’m thinking they are at the dessert stage by that time.

All I wanted, desperately was a small sip of water before going back to sleep—later somebody tapped me on the shoulder—repeatedly. I managed to ignore that one, never finding out what they wanted.

Why do they even bother to serve dinner on the 11pm departure? It would be much nicer if they didn’t bother at all—the flight was estimated to be six hours and fifteen minutes, take off to touch down—and taking off past midnight meant that all I wanted to do was sleep and sleep and sleep.

Which I managed to do quite well. In fact, this was, despite interruptions, the most sleep I have gotten on a red-eye flight in years. While I wouldn’t say that I arrived in Paris feeling like I had spent the night in bed, I would say my only concern was my stomach.

Air France had served “breakfast” which consisted of yogurt (something I avoid on airplanes in case of a negative reaction), orange juice (something I am definitely allergic to), and a pastry so disgusting that I am sure the French Pastry Chefs Association would ask them to substitute the thing with a Burger King “Croissant” to better represent French pastry achievements. I ate a bite of the “pastry” substance before feeling ill to my stomach thinking that surely in my scheduled 2 hour layover that the airport could serve up something to take care of my hunger.

Pain returned when I remembered that the two hours was likely to be a whole lot less—in fact, from the time I deplaned onto a bus, I had something like 30 minutes to do the whole immigration/customs/terminal-shuffle thing.

I made it, still hungry.

I didn’t actually get anything to eat until I got home, at 6; roughly 26 hours after having checked out of my hotel, and 24 hours after my last real meal: I had eaten lunch at a Brazilian-Italian buffet at 105th and 2nd Avenue in New York City.

3 comments to The Trip Home

  • Sounds like you should have answered with chicken instead of still water.

  • Actually, I have no idea what the second choice was. I remember that the first was beef, because of how it sounds in French.

    One of the things dropped on my lap while I slept was the menu which I never really looked at because I wanted to sleep so much. At the same time, somebody stole the second blanket from the empty seat next to me. The plane was freezing at that point and I really wanted a second blanket, something the Flight Attendant was never able to provide me.

  • disenchanted

    Ugh! It’s already hard enough to sleep on a plane without people pestering you!