Heavy breathing under a mask and wearing a visor. I’m now feeling like Darth Vader on a flight.
I’m off to India to see my mum who I haven’t seen in 3 years but I was late to the gate at Heathrow because the girl at the Sunglasses Hut was trying to to upsell me a pair of Raybans. They looked cool and could take voice-activated videos but as I’m not into espionage or voyeurism I declined and opted for something simpler. (Model: Rayban Wayfairer, non-perv.)
I was so late I decided to avoid the travelators glancing at the screen’s long list of departures, my one flashing ‘BOARDING’ in red.
The departure screens always make you feel it’s later than it actually is. I made a dash for it when the screen said ‘Flight boarding’ but when I got to the gate I realised the screen should have just said ‘Now a huge queue.’
Come to think of it, it should have just said ‘Come NOW and feel like a SHEEP’ with little Emojis of sheep line dancing across screen.
An member of staff pointed a gun at my wrist and gave me a temperature check. It beeped a couple of times. I started to worry.
He stared intently at the LED display. Was I too hot? I’m usually feeling hot; my wife calls me her favourite hot water bottle. She once saw my slippers together in the middle of the corridor at home and thought I had spontaneously human combusted.
A couple of beeps later, I realised I had passed the check. A wave of relief overcame me. It was low enough to board and he stamped my boarding pass and gave me a pack that contained some santizer swabs and a visor. Watch out India, here I come!
‘The visor is compulsory to board the flight,’ said a voice up ahead by the desk. In the queue some people were wearing white coats.
But why were they wearing white coats? To take anti-vaxxers to padded cells? Perhaps not. Umpires? No, impractical at terminal 2. Free Gelato ? No. (this is economy class).
Perhaps they were Doctors? Could be. I put on my visor and adjusted it but couldn’t see through it. It was like looking through water in a swimming pool, blurry with a blue tint.
God I hope the pilot’s not wearing one of these.
I stumbled in to a trolley bag in front of me. A voice from the blur said, “please make sure you remove the blue protective film from the visor”
I did that. A bit better but still very blurry.
“Please note the protective file is on both sides.”
I boarded the flight feeling like a cross between Darth Vader and a beekeeper. The inflight entertainment system wasn’t working. Typical hey. Got to last 9 hours, breathing like a chain smoker. seeing through ashtrays. Just me doing darth vader but i’m albino.
The flight attendants were in visors wearing blue jumpsuits that looked like hazmat suits for a nuclear experiment. When someone hands you food wearing a blue hazmat your instinctive reaction is to wonder what level of radioactivity is in the food .
Next to me a guy was wearing one of the white suits. Are you here to supervise me? He replied anyone sitting in the middle seat has to wear one. In theory viral particles can transmit when clothing touches.
When I was off the flight I did my Covid test, dry-heaved (luckily) and was negative.
So maybe my nine hours dressed like that was worth it after all.