People, please turn off your phones!

Having landed in Dallas after a very long flight, we rechecked our luggage and went through security. I wonder if all British people look as comedic as us in the process – we smiled inanely at everyone in uniform (with or without a gun), in the hope of persuading them that we are a normal couple from Hertfordshire, there for a holiday while posing absolutely no threat to Homeland Security (every time I see that on a sign I think of Jack Bauer in 24!) As the guard (with a gun) at security asked us the purpose of our visit, I said “holiday” then immediately think I should have said “vacation” so as to appear as Americanized as possible. We have our fingerprints scanned and photos taken, Other Half is first and I can see him twitching at the camera wondering whether a smile is appropriate or not – he decided to plump for his serious-in-a-non-threatening-way face. My turn and I opted for the half-smile-no-teeth pose that I managed to get away with on my passport photo – the woman at the Post Office said it might not get accepted but someone must have been in a good mood that day and approved me. Coincidentally, I had also spent 2 hours and £75 getting my hair cut and coloured for that picture, as I was determined to look half decent on my passport for the next 10 years and, my efforts were rewarded!

It was 8.20 pm and we still had four hours to kill before we left for Palm Springs, so we roamed like nomads through shops in our terminal before discovering there was a skylink train which led to a whole world of other terminals. We headed for Terminal A, which was our departure point, and to our delight, discovered a huge array of shops and eating places that were previously unavailable in the last building. After walking miles we settled for a quick meal in Taco Bell followed by a cinnamon / sugar Auntie Anne’s warm, soft pretzel… this is always my favourite first real taste of America. I have a loyalty card from last year’s holiday that I got stamped, and great news, I only need to buy four more pretzels before I get one free! My heart screams “what a bargain” whilst my head reminds me that the scales would rather I pick up my reward within the next two years. Oh well, despite my love for forward planning, I will leave this one to fate!


Waiting to board in Dallas...

At 12.20 am we get on our second flight and I am tired and potentially cranky. Although we have been asked to buckle up and turn off all electronic devices, the woman opposite me is merrily playing away on her phone. This is not some rebellious teenager messing about, but a lady who looks to be in her 70’s and is flaunting the rules without a second thought. Now I don’t know if the pilot tells us to do these things simply as a precautionary measure or if it’s to stop the plane falling out of the sky, but I don’t want to find out by becoming a tragic news story! I am getting more and more agitated as we sit on the runway, and although I sit and stare at her in a disapproving manner, she never looks up to notice. I promise myself that as soon as we move an inch, I am going to lean over for a quiet yet firm word but hallelujah, she finally sees sense and turns it off. Relieved, I settle back and look out at the night’s sky only to notice sheet lightening in the distance and emergency vehicles, lights blazing, hurrying to the other end of the runway. The pilot announces that there will be a short delay with take off but just to sit tight and keep all electronic devices turned off. The woman then leans over to me and says, “should I sneak my phone on to tell people I will be late?” Is she kidding me? “NO YOU CRAZY OLD BAT, WE DON’T WANT TO DIE!” I shriek inside my head, but outwardly, I quietly tell her there is no need as it seems to be only a short delay. A minute later the Captain announces that adverse weather conditions in the East have caused planes to be diverted to this airfield and we are now in a very long queue for a take off time slot. BING! Woman’s phone is turned straight back on…

Palm Springs Concourse

Palm Springs Sonny Bono open air concourse

One hour late, we finally take off for the 3-hour journey to Palm Springs. We are both really tired at this point, but Other Half is always the gentleman – as my head keeps tipping forward off his shoulder, he sticks his finger in the middle of my forehead to keep me upright – now that’s love! Due to the crazy nature of time differences, it is 4.30 am our time yet somehow only 8.30 pm local time. As we step off the plane into the part open air Sonny Bono concourse, Palm Springs welcomes us with its warm open arms…

So, have you ever been on a plane with someone really annoying you? Have you ever witnessed any strange behaviour? (I once saw a man brushing his eyebrows and hair with a plastic knife!) Let me know what winds you up when you are on your travels! 😮


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