Flying from New Delhi to Madrid

If you gaze out the window of the Air India flight from Delhi to Madrid, there’s some truly wonderful landscape to behold. There’s an area (in particular) to the north of Baku headed towards Tbilisi, where the snow capped mountains, combined with rolling clouds, had me entranced.

Though my preferred seats are generally aisle-side, I also love window seats when they afford you views of an area you’ve never seen before. To this day, I still vividly remember aged seventeen, travelling over the Middle East, seeing the oil rigs, and then travelling over The Alps, and being amazed at how tall they were, and how close we got to them.

Generally, though I prefer aisle seats, so you can avoid having to excuse yourself everytime you want to go to the bathroom.

As dramatic as those views were, the day started more mundanely with breakfast in the Holiday Inn Express transit hotel at Indira Ghandi International Airport. As I’d read online, the hotel’s breakfast was, it’s fair to say, underwhelming. A couple of boiled eggs, a couple of pancakes, and a few potato dishes was pretty much all that was on offer. Then, as I went up to get my second coffee, the machine suddenly stopped working. When it was clear no one seemed able to fix it, I quickly realised, “That was the end of breakfast”.

So, with a few hours to spare until I had to check out, I went back to bed to relax, read, listen to some music and grab a few more minutes of sleep. While asleep, I had one of those lucid dream moments where reality matched what was occuring in my surroundings. As I was being squirted with a water pistol in my dream, I awoke to a couple of blokes washing the windows and looking in at me. Awkward.

After taking in a few of the airport terminal sights, including satisfying my curiosity for what they served at McDonalds, I had a couple of beers at the airport’s sports bar, named in honour of the Delhi Daredevils cricket team (part of the Indian Premier League).

Then it was time to board the flight which was probably only half-full. And just as well, as I immediately encountered my two two worst airline hates: the recliners and the rockers.

And on this flight there was a couple who I knew instantly were “recliners”. As soon as they sat down in three seats in front of me, the first thing they did was see how far they could recline their seats. Of all the things I really hate on planes is when people recline their seats without first turning around to check with you. “Excuse me, can you wait until after the meal, and when everyone is ready to sleep before reclining your seat”, I’ve said to more than one person. This time, I couldn’t be bothered, and besides there were lots of free seats I could move to. Although the flight wasn’t yet closed, I took my chances and moved to the three vacant seats on the right hand side of the plane.

Starting to enjoy the flight, about ten minutes later, I suddenly felt my seat shaking. “Is the girl behind me kicking the seat?”, I thought to myself. If she had been a three or four year old, I might have forgiven her, but she was a thirteen or fourteen year old playing one of the inflight video-games. I gave her my best “Julie Bishop Stare”. When she failed to take the hint, I moved to one of the other free seats, where, unfortunately the same was happening.

Thankfully, these were only minor annoyances for an otherwise enjoyable flight, where I had three seats to myself and wonderful views.

As I write this, the aircraft map and the ground below tells me we’ve started flying over Spain. Next stop: Madrid.