One of the unexpected consequences of moving to Berlin is the amount of time I spend inside the cabins of Easy Jet planes. Since the move in February, I estimate my Sleazy Jet flying time has breached the twenty-hour mark, plus the same again queued up waiting like sheep in a pen for the free-for-all boarding call. That’s two whole days of my life I will never get back, like ITIL training or that afternoon I once spent in Swindon.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Among the long and varied list of bargaining points on the deal I made with husband to get him to move to Berlin, one was that we would return to the Cotswolds for a weekend every month. To break him in, I agreed to once every two weeks to start. And just when I thought I had weaned him down to a compromise agreement of once every three weeks, I somehow find him spending the entire month of May there – admittedly the nicest month of the year to be in the Cotswolds—while I fly back every weekend to see him.
As such, I have become something of an expert Easy Jet flyer. I have learned, for example, to head straight for the stairs at the back of the plane after several catfights with parents and other entitled types over trying to get the bulkhead seat. I didn’t mind the catfight part (kind of like it, actually), I just realized that you can exit as fast from the last row as the first, while avoiding the discomfort of the front row where you face the Easy Jet flight attendants head on and feel obligated to engage in small talk. And I do feel obligated because I can’t help feeling sorry for them. They never seem to get to spend the night anywhere they fly—surely the main perq of being a flight attendant—but rather just do a couple of out-and-back short hauls each day. I am pretty convinced they get commission for the tat they peddle on the plane (scratch cards for gods sake!), which makes the job more or less the equivalent of working in a 7-Eleven in the sky.
My father was an airline pilot so as a kid, standby gods willing, I got to fly Pan Am first class, complete with cloth napkins, mini salt and pepper shakers, and multi-course meals. Things are different now. Next time you fly Easy Jet from Berlin to Bristol, turn around and see who’s sitting in the back row. If it’s a woman eating Mini Cheddars and drinking a mini plastic bottle of South African rosé on the rocks, chances are that’s me.