A very special flight

I can’t let our homecoming pass without saying a few words about our flight back: DH was ‘driving’, and while I’ve been his passenger a few times now, it was the first time he’s flown our fledglings in a commercial airliner.

And, yes, it was a great flight, not least because the bribe potential in telling the children that if they didn’t behave, Daddy would ‘land this plane right now’ or put them ‘outside on the wing’ was HUGE. (Sipping celebratory Champagne and nibbling on Godiva chocolates helped too, of course.)

But, if the truth be told, the boys were as good as gold. At the gate, they squished their noses against the terminal window, trying to see through the darkened glass of the cockpit. They (and about 10 other little boys also lined up) were rewarded when DH stuck a sun-tanned arm out his window to wave.

You could tell each awe-struck boy thought the wave was directed at him and when I got talking to an Australia-bound Dad on the full flight later on, we agreed not to burst his son’s bubble. Pilots should wave more, they really should. It makes people so happy.

DH in his office
Airbus A380: DH in his office

On board, we waited patiently for DH to make an announcement (it sounded nothing like him!), and, while I’d instructed Son1 not to go telling everyone, his excitement bubbled over every now and then. “My Daddy’s flying this plane,” he told a flight attendant, *beaming with pride*.

We arrived in Dubai (nice landing, DH!) and were invited to come forward to see what to me looks like the Starship Enterprise. “Just don’t touch anything,” I urged them, as we climbed the stairs to the flight deck. “If you feel like you want to press something, JUST DON’T,” I pleaded, paranoid that they’d set off the emergency slides or a million-dollar fire-hydrant system.

I needn’t have worried; they were awed into silence by the countless screens and switches, and could barely breathe they were so impressed. (Too bad my work doesn’t have the same effect; I swear they think my sole purpose in life is to fetch them things from the supermarket.)

All too soon, it was time to deplane and make our way into Dubai’s cavernous, gleaming airport, where taking the new train triggered fresh excitement. It was well past midnight when the children and I joined the taxi queue. “We don’t want a pink taxi. We want a red one,” they chanted, in unison, demonstrating to me once again that, while my boys will never be interested in any of the girlie things that make me tick, I adore their transport-mad ways.

15 thoughts on “A very special flight

  1. I think I would have been just as excited as the boys! Of course, I guess you must be used to it as a pilot’s wife, but it seems like a big deal to a civilian like me. I would probably want to tell everyone that my husband was flying the plane! I always listen for the pilots’ names when we board just on the off-chance that an old flight school buddy of MrL’s is ‘in command of the aircraft.’ Most of them (like him) are in an entirely different field now. but we think there are still a couple of them out there working as commercial pilots. We lost touch with most of them years ago, but It would be so much fun to run across one of them again!

  2. April says:

    That is so cool that your DH was flying the plane home! I AM confused, though…did you fly from the US, or from the UK (as I read your previous posts, it sounded like you were in UK.

  3. When my oldest was little, he was fascinated with aeroplanes, and wanted to be a pilot. It was remarkably hard to feed the interest (we’re talking 10 or more years ago). Toy shops were full of cars, trains, diggers, but never planes. Or if they did have planes, they were fighter jets; my son was only interested in commercial airliners. I used to have to ask friends who were travelling, to pick up those little die-cast metal ones from airport shops. He would use some DIY ear protectors that Husband had got free with an electric drill as headphones, and I remember selotaping a bendy straw onto them as the mouthpiece. We did eventually get an airport mat from somewhere, but we quite often built a runway and a terminal building out of books or video cases.

    When I saw the Playmobil aeroplane, years later, I could have wept. He would have LOVED it, but it came out years after he needed it.

    Anyway, (and I’m getting to my point here), I once took a friend to Edinburgh airport, and then parked outside the perimeter wire with my son. We stood at the wire, at the end of the runway, and waved at all the pilots as they taxied off towards the terminal. Every single one of them waved, except one (can’t remember which airline!). Every single one. It made our day. So yes, tell your husband to wave at children. And tell him to look out for children at perimeter fences – though these days I expect it’s harder to get within view of an airport runway; my experience dates back ten years.

    My son does (sort of) still want to be a pilot. Would you/your husband recommend it as a career? He’s not very science-orientated. Struggles with physics.

    • Hi Iota, love that all the pilots waved while taxi-ing! I did notice at Heathrow the other day that they’d made it harder to look at the runway – there was a solid strip running along the length of the fence, right at eye-level – spoilsports! I talked to DH and asked him his up-to-the-minute advice and he says, YES, he does recommend aviation, despite there being some challenges to get through (the cost obviously being a big one). He says if it’s something your son really wants to do, then, yes, he should go for it! There are various routes – we know the US system better (cheaper training in Florida, then working as a flight instructor on small planes, then getting that first job with the regionals). But in the UK, I believe some options include the RAF, the low-cost carriers might offer apprentice schemes, and flight schools (Oxford, I think, is a biggie). My husband didn’t do science – he did biology, but mostly pond life (lol!), along with history and I think English for A-levels, then a political-science-type degree in US. So, not being science-orientated shouldn’t be a problem 🙂 Do drop me a line if you have any aviation Qs!

  4. sandinmytoestk says:

    I can only imagine how exciting it was for them to have Daddy ‘drive’ the plane! Hope you had a good holiday.

Comments are closed.