Up Up and Away


Off I go again on another flight , on another airplane, again dreading the entire experience.

I try, I really do try, to convince myself each time how fortunate I am to be able to travel from one coast to the other several times a year. I berate myself  – (you’re so spoiled, unappreciative, ungrateful) – as I regretfully hand over my boarding pass after waiting until the last possible moment to board.

Then I hold my breath and walk the gangplank, um, entryway into the plane.

My book of choice this trip.

My book of choice this trip.

I fake smile as I pretend that I’m entering my own family room to read a good book.

Once belted, and with one cursory nod of pleasant acknowledgment to my seatmate, I pick up whatever escape I’ve chosen for the day, ie, whatever book I’ve brought, and I push my nose into it while pretending that I’m sitting in my easy chair at home.

gum, flying, airplaneBut then the plane begins to taxi on the runway, and my next routine begins. I open the pack of gum that’s sitting on my lap, and I finger the smooth square surface of the Chicklet package. Wait….Wait… Wait… until the wheels begin to feel air. Then I simultaneously pop the gum into my mouth and begin to (silently) sing the first verse of Up Up and Away.

Three Times.

Yes, it’s embarrassing, but over the years I’ve discovered that if I sing this tune as we lift off, the plane will not crash.

So I’ve never not sung the ditty to find out if it’s just a quirk of mine.

In my easy chair.

In my easy chair.

Ah, the plane is up, so I push in my tiny ear buds while punching the button for the classical music. Strains of Beethoven and Bach soothe me into my book of escapism, and soon, I’m almost in my easy chair.

Uh oh. The poor attendants are lugging the heavy noisy cart down the tiny aisle. I squeeze my legs together so I’m not legitated (as opposed to capitated) and order something I drink nowhere else but on an airplane.

“Tomato juice, please, with a squeeze of lime.”

The last time I flew, the attendant apologized that they had no lime. She must have seen the panic in my eyes, because she ran back to the galley and brought me a little squeeze packet that said, “concentrated lime.”

lime, flying, tomato juiceThis time, I’m bringing my own slice of green gold, just to be certain.

Please, please tell me that you also have a routine that helps you get Up Up and Awaayyyyyyy.


48 thoughts on “Up Up and Away

    • You made me puff up my chest and laugh at the same time (I hope you don’t sing up up and away in the bus!). But I hadn’t thought of the fact that it does take courage to get on the plane each time. Thanks for that…

  1. It’s been so long since I’ve been on a plane, I forget. As I recall…just get through the day. Wear shoes I can slip off easily. Socks with no holes. A good book is a necessity. Drink lots of water. Leave the knives at home.

    • Leave the knives at home. Hahaha. Oh, um, you were kidding, right? 🙂 Love your sense of humor. The problem with hydrating TOO much is having to use those bathrooms. Yucky.

  2. Are we moving yet?? Ah, finally moving…now the end-of-the-taxi-way runup…and the turn onto the active runway. Hit that throttle!! Get that bird off the ground…out of the way of whatever is just about to be cleared to land…ah…everything’s getting smaller. Gear is up (I heard the clunk) WE’RE FREE!
    I LOVE flying…just don’t like all the airport security idiocy, sitting with somebody’s head in my lap and my long legs immobile for 5 hours (6 if I’m going west).

    • Great litany of the beginning of your flight, and wonderful to feel your sense of freedom once the plane embarks. But I agree, not so cool having the stranger’s snoring face in your lap. Worse, to me, is having a stranger talk NON STOP during the flight. I’m usually very friendly, but not on a plane.

  3. I love the i.d.e.a. of flying and think it’s exciting, but getting on the plane, my heart stops. I find my seat and flop into it after stowing my carry-on. I try not to think we’re off the ground and any unusual bumps have me singing la la la la la in my head. Does the engine sound right. I know it didn’t sound like that a minute ago. Do you hear a weird noise too? Aaaaaaa

  4. I am sorry. No routine to offer you, because I quit flying years ago. The reasons were legion; added together I finally said, “I’m done”. Never looked back. I do think your song is perfect, though!

    • I gratefully thank you for not telling me your reasons for never flying again. I’m afraid those reasons would encourage me to go the same route, but it takes DAYS to take the train from the left coast to the right.

  5. My routine has changed over the years. These days I alwears wear a scarf to keep me warm. I take an Ambien to sleep , most of my flights are to Germany ( 10 hours) . I’m happy when nobody around me stinks ( yes, I had some very odiferous people next to me ) and they don’t take half of my seat because one seat is not enough for them. Watching movies also helps.

    • Wow, I’ve had it easy compared to you, with the stinky people and those who take over your seat with the other half of their body. I have had people in front of me try to lean their seat back (WHY, when they know they’re hitting knees and making the person behind hate them??). I make it clear that they are NOT to do that with me, and so far it’s worked.

  6. I really laughed at this bit “over the years I’ve discovered that if I sing this tune as we lift off, the plane will not crash.” We all have our funny quirks or routines don’t we! And it doesn’t matter how much we tell ourselves that we’re just being silly, and it doesn’t make any difference, we still do it, just in case. I love flying, I do get slightly nervous with it, but it’s that kind of slightly pleasant nervous that is closer to excitement than fear!

    • Why can’t I be more like you, and just be pleasantly nervous? The weird thing is that I’m really not that nervous, I just take my responsibility of keeping the plane up in the air quite seriously. 🙂

  7. Glad I’m not the only one! As the plane’s wheels leave the earth, I catch myself saying a prayer of sorts, imagining the whole contraption surrounded by white light. I must have started this during my Shirley-Maclaine-Out-on-a-Limb phase. Somehow, it stuck. And it does calm me down.

  8. I put my hand on the outside of the plane just before entering and give it a blessing of sorts – then always look into the pilots cabin and say a quick little prayer for them to be able to use their skills to handle any emergency that arises 🙂

  9. Ah yes! It was much better when I was younger and the flying experience was different. There was an aura of excitement. Now, the seats are smaller, leg room for my longish legs is non-existent.

    I hate the way the plane goes slightly sideways as it races down the runway. I hate the bumpiness associated with landings.

    For a couple of years i used to fly into the Columbus, OH in a small Dash-8 turbo-prop, rain, snow, ice or shine, every Monday and fly back for the weekend. Columbus has a very bumpy approach, even more than Toronto, so learned to play solitaire in a frenzied manner….

    • “Playing solitaire in a frenzied manner…” How I enjoy that image. I would try it too, but I can’t imagine how all the cards wouldn’t be swung all over the seat/floor/neighbor’s lap. This last flight I did see a passenger playing solitaire on his cell almost 5 hours straight. Perhaps now I know why.

  10. I just hope that there are no children close by! Enjoy your trip! Clever to take your own slice of lime. Yes, you are fortunate to be able to travel. Thanks for the recent visit to my blog and commenting. It is always a pleasure to have you stop by.

    • The crying children throughout the plane just adds to my empathy and caring concern for ALL of us on that metal tube. In my mind, we’d ALL be crying if we weren’t trying to be grown ups about the ‘flying thing.’

  11. Oh dear – I’m exactly the same and I absolutely hate flying (but there are times when I need to). The last few times I’ve flown I’ve taken my earphones and listened to music to get my mind off the terror. My hubby jokes when he sees the Pope kissing the ground after a flight and always refers to me doing the same thing 😀

    My favourite ‘landing song’ is “Let Me Down Easy” by Sheppard.

      • I just went into Youtube, copied the URL link and pasted it on my comment (I hope I’m allowed to do that) LOL 😉

        The band is a relatively new Australian band but I believe they may be hitting the US soon. When people say ‘have you heard that song?’ you can say, ‘yeah, I’ve known about it for ages,’ 😀

        I also put it on when I’m doing my housework (it’s just one of those songs!)

        • Definitely okay, and thanks for telling me how you do this thing. When I copy and paste the URL in my blog post, it doesn’t seem to come up with the actual video photo. I’ll keep working on that. I’m going to share this song with my (all younger) co-workers and act very cool.

  12. I actually love to fly and find it very relaxing. I always take a book or two and a note pad. I’ve written parts of my books while flying. I often fall asleep before the plane takes off. It is the only time I really relax as there is nothing else I can do. I trust I am in good hands. Much more relaxing than driving in rush hour traffic which I do 5 days a week!

    • I so appreciate your attitude about flying, and yes, I agree, I DO enjoy the fact that for 5 hours + I can do nothing but read or write and don’t have to feel guilty that I’m not doing something ‘productive.’ I realize during these ‘off’ hours that our society has become much too frenzied, and learning to STOP is an important lesson.
      ….while singing up up and away. 🙂

  13. I don’t mind takeoffs or landings, But I hate just being up in the air….I talk myself into semi-calmness (after taking a little yellow prescription pill!) by saying “how egotistical are you to think the one plane you are on out of thousands of flights around the world today would crash?” Bruce helped me, too, by saying that turbulence – my least favorite thing while flying – is just potholes in the sky
    cb….I put a book on my iPad that I know I’ll love and if I’m lucky it will keep my full attention. And, I change the time on my watch to whatever the new time zone is and I check the time constantly! I wish there was a “beam me up, Scotty” and we could just be at our destination…

  14. I have no fear of flying. I don’t like to fly though. It is a convenient way to travel, but I don’t like to travel as much as I used to. Which is interesting because it seems like I am always gone! I really wish they could invent the “Energizer from Star Trek” wouldn’t that be cool?? 🙂

    • When you think about it, isn’t is a bit hard to believe that a ‘beam up energizer’ HASN’T been invented yet? My guess is that the airline industry has hidden the device, just to keep us in their own unfriendly skies.

  15. Living on an island I have to fly now and again. I hate it with a passion. The best I can do is (1) avoid bad weather flying where possible and (2) go through relaxation mantras once aloft. If I lived in the States (or any mainland) I’d simply go overland, never mind the time/distance.

    • Yes, I’ve become a friend of the US’s Amtrak, a great train system. Takes me double the time to travel from, say, Boston to Philadelphia, but that’s okay. And yes, “watching the weather” is an obsession before a flight. Sigh. I suppose I’ll have to blog about that sometime, too.
      I think I hear you ommming out there: relax, relaaaaaxxxxx. 🙂

  16. It has been a while since I’ve flown but my routine was a simple one…one stiff drink in the airport bar and I was good to go! With the way air travel is these days, I may require more than one.

  17. I don’t have a problem flying but when I am skiing and I come across a steep decline, I always, always, always sing “Eight Days a Week” to myself. I have no idea why I sing that song, but it seems innate, nice piece, xo LMA

    • What’s been helpful is finding out how many of us are feeling like this, as we sit closed up and tight in our airplane. Perhaps we should ALL sing up up and away out loud!

  18. I am glad you still fly. For years I used to touch the plane and bless it while entering. Then, one day, I did not. The plane did not crash. At least it hasn’t thus far.

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