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I have decided that I either have to start travelling a lot more or never again. Tomorrow I am getting on a plane for the first time since 2019 and, yep, am stressed AF. The goodish news is that Spain has decided to end the public transport mask mandate on February 8th (instead of the previously threatened Feb 1st date) so at least this trip is covered. So to speak. After this, no idea.

But I have to say… I have always hated flying. Everything about it, and not just the gut-clenching fear upon taking off that we are all going to crash and burn. It’s all the fucking lost time it takes. Sure, this flight is only 1 hour 25 minutes, but then there’s getting to the airport two hours ahead of time, and upon landing (if there are no delays) another hour or so until finally arriving at the hotel. So I will have to leave home about 10.45 in the morning to (hopefully) open my hotel room door at 3.30 pm. I have planned for this. Got my ear buds charged, got my music, etc. And of course I have already started packing.

Can I tell you? For the first time ever IN MY LIFE I am travelling on a plane with just a carry-on. Apparently I was allowed an under-the-seat eensy bag no charge but had to pay extra for the carry-on (and would have had to pay WAY MORE extra for a proper suitcase) so there it was. Me and a carry-on (and the under-seat bag). For 20€ extra each way. Whatevs.

So I am getting nervous packing. What if I don’t want to wear what I’ve packed? What if I haven’t packed enough? What if my nice shoes aren’t up to walking 8 hours a day? And omg all the liquids… having to put everything liquid into accepted travel-sized recipients of 100 ml or less and have them ready to display in clear plastic zip-lock bags when you go through security control. I’ve actually never had to do this before because I’ve never not checked the biggest possible bag on every flight I’ve ever taken ever. But not this time. It’s three nights, two full days, two half days. Even for me it seemed excessive to pack a massive bag.

And then there was the question of where we were going to sit. Just any old where? Like fuck. Last thing I need or want is to be stuck shoulder-to-shoulder in a middle seat between two total strangers who will use any excuse to not wear their masks. Which brings me to… why the fuck do people on a flight that is less than 1.5 hours HAVE TO EAT AND DRINK? And so we paid extra to get seats together near the front of the plane. Then we got insurance in case we test positive for Covid the morning of the flight (yes, we’ll be testing) so that was extra. In the end the initial budget price of 58€ was suddenly 145€. WHATEVER.

Then yesterday I got an email from Vueling saying my flight may not have enough available seats and would I be willing to change my flight to another day for a voucher “gift” to use on a different flight. And they left this very passive-aggressive threat…

“We advise you to choose this option to avoid the possibility of being placed on the next available flight when you arrive at the airport”

I mean… that very morning I had just finalised all my Bilbao meetings and visits (this is a business trip!), after having had to switch some around until it all fit into the itinerary. Plus the hotel was booked. So there was NO EFFING WAY I was going to voluntarily change my flight because Vueling had overbooked. A quick WTF IS GOING ON tweet to Vueling surprisingly resulted in them getting back to me and saying I had nothing to worry about as I’d paid for seats and had already checked in online. You are my witnesses! This better happen.

And so… here I am on the day before my first time on a plane in almost four years and YES I KNOW that I am going to enjoy myself once I get to Bilbao. But today… it’s not easy being me. Also, this wouldn’t be happening at all without my lovely friend Mar who has offered to come over while I’m gone to check in on the cats. Mar is not only lovely but has a couple of dogs and a cat of her own and so I feel very comfortable leaving her “in charge” of the beasts while I’m away. Thank you Mar!

See you guys on the other side! Gotta finish packing now.