The first time you step on a plane is a milestone that you never forget. We asked some of our staff to tell us all about their first flight
Bence Nagy – “I didn’t know if I could talk to the person beside me”
My first flight was when I was 19, three months after starting my first job (in the travel industry, no less) when it dawned on me that I’m finally an actual adult and I can just decide to spend my money on flying somewhere. Unlike a “true adult” however, I chose to visit my online gaming friends in Istanbul, whom I had never met before, with no plans on where to even sleep at night.
Either way, being a technology enthusiast I was most excited about getting to experience flying. I ended up stumbling through the whole process. Packing toothpaste in my carry-on bag, getting lost around the gates, being scared I missed some crucial step and not being allowed to board (why did everyone else have some weird tag on their carry-on?).
I was rather unsure if it’s socially acceptable to strike up a conversation with those sitting next to me like they do in the movies.
But I forgot about it all when we finally took off. I was just clenching my fist while being ecstatic about the whole rollercoaster-like feeling, with my face pressed up against the airplane window.
And for a moment during the flight, I even got to be super-pretentious and felt superior. People around me were spending money on food while I had the foresight to eat before the two-hour flight. Right after we landed, I honestly looked forward to going back home just to get to experience a take-off again.
Issis Castro – “I hugged my little sisters and father with tears in my eyes”
In Honduras, travelling seems like an expensive hobby regular people cannot afford. Therefore, I’d never travelled until I was 20 years old. I was lucky, or smart enough, to receive a scholarship grant to travel and study for six months in the U.S. To live such a dream, I had to get used to the fact that I was about to leave home for the first time, which terrified me.
To prepare myself, I gathered advice from everybody – pack only the “essentials”, as if anyone knows what that means, place all your documents in your neck bag, and chew gum when the plane takes off to avoid ear pressure.
I was confident that is all I needed to have a good trip until my family and I arrived at the airport where all my friends waited to say goodbye. I went around for one hour repeating my father’s old jokes to get rid of the farewell feeling.
When the boarding call came, I said bye to each of my friends with a big hug and smile. I hugged my little sisters and my father last with teary eyes and ended up sobbing in my old lover’s arms saying: “I will be back soon, I promise.” We kissed quickly so I didn’t miss the plane.
I composed myself. I went into the immigration aisle waving my hand with another big smile through the window to all my people while I boarded the plane with my stomach full of butterflies. On board, I was excited I got a window seat, so I could see the sky. Not that it mattered as there were only around ten people on the plane.
I kept the windows closed according to the cabin crew instructions, fully concentrated on what to do in case the plane overran the runway. A similar accident that took place in Honduras in 2008 made me paranoid. I fastened my seatbelt, grabbed a piece of gum and closed my eyes.
After the rollercoaster-like feeling, I thought the piece of gum really helped. I opened the window and saw the sky. With no explanation, I felt in paradise. I imagined myself as Wendy in Peter Pan being able to jump from cloud to cloud.
But I was not Wendy. I had become a grown up who left her house to enjoy the beauty of the sky and the unknown adventure.
Carlo Bernardis – “We met a group of Irish rugby supporters and drank wine from beer glasses”
To be honest, this was not my first flight, but my first “adult” flight. It was February 2005, my 24th birthday. My three best friends and I had won a weekend in Barcelona donated by a club where we had spent the previous New Year’s Eve as the “heaviest drinking” group.
It was a morning flight from Venice. We were all dressed up as businessmen – we wore ties – just for fun. At the airport, we met a group of Irish rugby supporters, which was the beginning of the end. We spent two hours drinking wine from beer (i.e. big) glasses. Then we headed towards the security control.
Each one of us had a full packet of chewing gums in his mouth to try to cover the smell. A policeman gently asked me to take off the belt to pass through the metal detector. I said no because my jeans would fall down since I had lost some weight the previous months, and I had no money to buy new clothes.
Then the policeman, very patiently but firmly, told me: “That was not a question.” So, I replied: “Ok I will do that, but if my jeans fall down I will consider you responsible!” Luckily, they didn’t.
Once on the plane, we had to get more drinks. Given that it was a low-cost carrier the only option that made sense was the Happy Hour Menu. When the stewardess came to us, after we called her garçon, she asked: “Would you like beer or wine?” We looked at her and replied: “Beer AND wine!”
So, she brought a total of eight happy hour menus, and told us: “Guys, no one ever made such an order …” What a great flight!