Two years to almost the day, I deboarded an aircraft and not set a foot on one again. Me and thousands around the world.
So it is really uplifting to sit today in the airport lounge again and look forward to an, albeit short, flight.
After having travelled all my life as part of my work and partly to explore the world, it was really difficult to adjust to a grounded life. Not because of an accident, illness or retirement, but because of a virus. Of smoething we can not see with our naked eye, but which impact can be devastating.
I suddenly felt with the many airline captains I flew with, when the cabin crew upon landing, announced “ladies and gentlemen, this was captian so and so’s last flight today and he goes into retirrement, we wish him well” or similar and the applause by the passengers that must have been heard through the closed cockpit door.
How must this capatin have felt, when standing at the front cabin door during deboarding and greeted the passengers farewell. Knowing that he would probably never see the clouds from up front, the runway appearing out of fog, the elated feeling after climbing through the thick cloud layer and suddenly seeing the blue sky or be able to contemplate in the shine of the cockpit lights the star filled sky ahead during a long flight, in a way we passengers will never be able to see, even with the best forward facing camera system.
How the feeling of having the responsibility for the life of hundres of passengers and crews and a million dollar aircraft.
Sometimes I can meet these captains at HARS, the Histropric Aicraft Restauration Society near Sydney, where they are engaging with aircraft on display, act as tour guides or, if possible, even fly aircraft.
So being in the airline lounge today the first time after two years, hearing above the noise of playing children, the clinking of coffee cups and the clacking of keyboards the departure announcements, it makes me feel greatfull being able to enjoy this again, irrespective knowing of being crammped in to a tight economy class seat for some time in an hour or so. It is a great deal better than sitting behind a computer screen, peering outside and whishing……. .