Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Traveling Steerage Class

My journey from Fort Campbell, KY to Afghanistan gave me new insight into how many people you can shove into a commercial aircraft. After almost getting to sit in the front with few others (because of weight issues, most of the weight had to be in the back of the aircraft), I was ultimately kicked to the middle section last minute. This of course meant that I had last choice on seats; that's right middle aisle with a person on each side of me and the people in front of and behind had already put things under the seat in front of me as well as the one I was sitting on. My carry on had to go at my feet along with all of the airline pillows that were on my seat when I got there.

The trip to Ireland was 7 hours long, and my legs were wedged in the whole time. I tried to give my rear end relief by shifting, but near the end of that flight I was changing position every two-three minutes. In Ireland we were allowed to go to the terminal for the three hours it took to refuel the plane. We were able to stretch our legs a bit before cramping back into the plane.

From Ireland we flew 4 hours to Romania. We all sat in the same seats, but at least I was able to stash some of the pillows in other places. When we arrived in Romania we were all ready to get out and stretch some more. We waited 20 minutes for the airport officials to let us know the rules before entering the terminal, however we were then told that the only way we could get down would be with a visa, which of course none of us had. We stayed in the plane just shy of three hours waiting for refuel before we took off again for another 4 hour trip to Manas Air Base in Kyrgyztan. The whole trip was about 23 hours long, all but about two hours of it was in the cramped airplane.

We spent a few days there before a three hour "roomy" flight in a military aircraft to our final destination of Kandahar, Afhganistan. No wonder the airlines are struggling.