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   Eurotrip '96

The All Nite Flight

Sooner or later you have to get past all the planning, worrying and anticipation and actually travel. The idiots who planned our rapid transit system didn't have the brains to put a station at Atlanta Stadium, but at least they figured out the airport would need one. No problems at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. Even with Olympic construction going on all around the terminal, its a breeze all the way thru boarding. Today's machine of terror is a Boeing 767. We have an aisle and a center seat and since I outweigh Carol by 150 pounds, she defaults and allows me the aisle seat. After biting thru my tongue on takeoff, the flight is smooth and uneventful. Across the aisle from me are several teenage girls, on spring break from their finishing school, who are valley girl clones. Like really, like you're kidding, like get real, like far out.

The meal is actually not only edible but very tasty. A great improvement over what I remember from last time. I don't know if it is the difference between USAir and Delta or the difference between flying to Germany and France. Some people actually go to sleep and I just cannot figure how they do it. I know that I am in for 9 hours of wide eyed fear and apprehension over when, not if, we will crash headfirst into the icy Atlantic.

The movie is made for women about women and probably by women (aren't they all now). A semi tear jerker called 'American Quilt'. I watch it out of boredom and the hope that Winona Ryder will at some point get nekkid. Never happens. In retrospect, it seems the moral of the story is that no matter what mistakes women make during their early years, they will outlive all the men and eventually all become friends and sit around quilting or some such, feeling very content about how they handled the whole mess.

The one thing that occupies my attention most of the flight is this new (for me, anyway) service Delta offers on the cabin video screens when the movie is not showing, which is about 7 hours. They continually flash updates about the trip on the screen showing you maps of where the plane is at all times, such as eight million miles out to sea and over nothing but water. It all displays a countdown of the mileage you have covered and keeps reminding you of how unbelievably much longer you will be confined to your seat before landing. The screen flashes the frightening speed you are travelling at and other useful info such as the outside air temperature. It was usually something like -43 F and I don't understand why you would possibly need this fact and what good it could do for you. With nothing else to occupy your mind, you end up watching this screen like a zombie. Its sort of like watching the Weather Channel. You know, once you've seen the forecast, why are you still watching? But there you are. Go figure.

We land at around 10:00 A.M. Paris time at Orly South Terminal. We are about a half hour late because we departed Atlanta a half hour late. The pilot makes a very smooth landing and the flight was much better than I had been prepared to endure. And geez, doesn't that warm towel feel great? So we've been up for about 24 hours with no sleep and should crash and burn, but this is Paris, and we did pay all this good money to get here, and it is not even lunch time here, so get ready Paris, because as soon as we can stow our gear, we will start pounding the pavement for real.

By the way, ever read that article in Newsweek about the great effects of Melatonin on helping you sleep on an overnite flight and overcoming the effects of jet lag? It is total horse hockey. I followed the directions all the way on taking that stuff. Didn't get one wink of sleep on the plane and I was jet lagged big time the next couple of days. Another ten bucks down the drain.

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