It’s funny what sleep deprivation can do to you.
Recently, Saffy and Amanda and I took a holiday to London. It will go down as one of the worst in recorded history. The calendar said we were in April, but the weather insisted it was early January. Grey skies, rain and cold. It was so miserable. Then one day, it started snowing.
“Isn’t it meant to be sunny?” Amanda complained.
Saffy shivered. “I’m so cold. I only packed tee-shirts!”
“Let’s get out of here and go somewhere warmer,” I said.
Which is how we found ourselves at the airport one early morning waiting for a plane to Greece. It was one of those really weird continental flights on a super cheap budget airline that takes off at 7 a.m. You know the one. It’s not quite nighttime but it also doesn’t feel like morning, so everybody is very confused, not sure whether to go back to sleep or have breakfast.
So, we decided to eat since Amanda said that it had taken her an hour to get her hair just right and she couldn’t afford to mess it up.
“You know what would be a brilliant idea?” Saffy suddenly said in the middle of chewing an awful, stale muffin she’d bought from the airport café.
“I think they should convert the front half of the plane into an activity room!” she declared and sat back in triumph, sipping her cappuccino and waiting for the songs of praise to begin.
I put down my scone. “Well, first of all,” I said, “who are they?”
“The airplane people, of course!” Saffy said. “The ones who control what’s going on. I think they have an office up in that tower where they spend a lot of time blinking at radar screens and saying things like, ‘Flight Niner one Foxtrot, you’re clear for descent on runway two. Tractor beams are engaged on my count. Three, two, one. Welcome home, Galactica!’”
I stared at her for a while. “Thank god you’re pretty!” I said eventually. “I don’t think you should drink so much coffee before sunrise.”
“But not as pretty as me, of course,” Amanda added, not wanting to be left out of the conversation.
Saffy ignored the barb. “No, really, listen to me! If they got rid of First and Business Class – no one sits in them anyway, they’re always half empty – and moved the rest of us up, you’d have at least half a plane worth of space. Just think about it, you could put in a gym. You could arrive at your destination toned and ripped!”
Sometimes, great ideas come from such unexpected quarters.
“Or a library,” I said slowly, a whole new world of frequent flyer activity opening up before me.
“There you go!” Saffy said, beaming. “I would install a spa. Light a few aromatherapy candles, put in a few massage beds and have hunky Swedish masseurs called Lars on standby.”
“Or a lap pool,” I said.
“Then where am I going to sit?” Amanda said eventually. “You know I can’t travel Economy!”
“You should stay home more, Amanda,” Saffy said gently.
But I think Saffy is onto something. There’s no end to what you could do. With some very clever planning, you could even put in a golf driving range, though of course you wouldn’t want Tiger Woods to be playing, since he’d probably drive a hole right through the rear of the plane.
“Oh, don’t be silly!” Saffy said. “Tiger Woods has his own plane. He would probably put in a tennis court on his. It’s like how Michael Jordan plays baseball and golf in his spare time. Tiger Woods probably practises forehands in his. Anyway, we don’t care what he does in his own plane. I want a dance-floor with strobe lights.”
Later, on the flight to Greece, Saffy said that we could also put in bedrooms which make the Mile High Club more comfortable. “Not to mention so much more sanitary. Imagine having to do it in that little toilet!”
“I’m not sure why anyone would want to do it anywhere!” said Amanda, who is currently single and therefore insanely jealous of anyone who is in a relationship.
The options for all that extra space are endless. You could put in a Jacuzzi and steam room. Or a restaurant. Or a full sized movie screen, so you never again have to squint at the tiny screen. And those big-assed A380s? Waste of space – has anyone you know ever gone upstairs? You could rip up the upper deck floor and turn the whole thing into a bungee jump.
Now, wouldn’t that be something?