I Over the Pole

The last time I flew on an A-380 was in business class returning to Dubai from Munich. Today I am flying economy and the aircraft is configured for maximum capacity in a 3-4-3 configuration. The flight is completely full. I am on the aisle and suffer pushes, knocks, bumps and bruises inflicted.by everyone who walks by. Though I have an aisle seat on my left there is an elderly Iranian couple who believe themselves to be on mask compliance and control, they reported me to a flight attendant when I removed my mask to blow my nose.

I thought that we would fly the northern route over the Atlantic but this is not the case. Instead, we flew north from Dubai, passing Dubai and flying over central Russia. Six hours later we cleared theRussian land mass and were heading over the North Pole. We will enter North America when we clear the polar area. I know what time it is at the destination, local time isn’t helpful because of all the time zone changes. Perhaps the time as shown on my wrist, the time aboard the aircraft.

I must have fallen asleep for take-off; next thing I recall was our nearing Azerbaijan on the map. My SAVAK seat mates were the last to board; all during the boarding process I tried not to let myself get too excited about the possibility of having two empty seats next to me all the way to Los Angeles.

The passengers are all a motley crew. The global reduction in air traffic means that few have flown much in the past two years, it is as if all of them have forgotten civility and the protocols of flight. Everyone is a special case, everyone believes that they are entitled and so seek special treatment. At least a third of the passengers of this flight are Desi; Dubai is an Indian city,Mumbai and the rest of the subcontinent is only three and a half hours away by air.

India was one of the hotspots for the Delta variant and many countries simply closed their borders to India for much of the pandemic. This group is making up for their exclusion with a vengeance. I have never heard anyone ask for an “extra” meal during a flight before; now I have.

This nightmare torture flight will be over in nine hours or so and I will be happy to have save one or two thousand dollars. I think. Actually, if I do return to the Middle East I will risk penury by upgrading to premium economy. Or business.

I have a feeling that Omicron might complicate my return. Cases are surging world-wide and there is no general consensus concerning whether or not it is as lethal as the other variants.