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Flying Helmut

'Origins' Through the Helmut-Cam: Flying Helmut’s ‘Origins’ Odyssey - June 2023

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Part III

Flying – For Real!

I had no interest in buying anything in the myriad shops along my route to the departure Gates; aside from being forewarned by various online articles about the grossly inflated prices of all commodities on sale at airports, I had no wish to add any extra items to my carry-on luggage. If I was to buy anything extra on this trip, it would be to bring back home, not to export to the U.S.A!

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Arriving at the indicated Departure Gate, I settled back with my Kindle, and resumed my recent re-reading of “Shattered Sword”. I had the great majority of this superb tome still ahead of me, so lots of material with which to fill all my various layover spells.

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Please forgive the mundane Airport photographs – I don’t fly very often, and the process is still a bit of a novelty for me. One or two interesting subjects caught my attention at the various airports I visited on this trip; one of them being seen here at London Heathrow. Not my plane, but one parked at the adjacent Gate; I was pleased to see that nose art had not died out entirely, as indicated by the nice motif on this “Virgin Airlines” aircraft.

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The two hours or so remaining sped by, and boarding the plane was smooth and routine. I was really happy to discover that no one had booked the seat next to me (the central seat of the three) and no one had booked the seat behind me either! So, I had room to spread out a bit, no battle for control of the armrest, and no “seat kicker”; you know, that annoying individual who follows me to EVERY SINGLE cinema screening I attend, and insists on crossing and uncrossing their legs about fifty times throughout the duration of the movie, shunting my seat every time!

The only cloud on this particular seating silver lining was an annoying small child in the seat in front of me. His mother, who was in the central seat, showed no interest in exercising any control over him whatsoever, and the father, who was seated across the aisle to my left (one row back from them) was equally useless.

Useless, that is, until he asked a Flight Attendant to upgrade them, so that they could all sit together. She politely informed him that there was no way that she could upgrade a disruptive loud child into a quiet cabin (snigger, snigger!) but that she would check around for any three-seat availability. She returned to inform him that there was indeed a triple seat block available, right at the very back of the aircraft; the family upped-sticks and moved aft, happy to be able to sit together (but not nearly as happy as I was to see them go!).

So, no one in front, no one alongside, and no one behind – bliss!

They fed us not long after take-off; the fare wasn’t bad at all! I had been warned-off in-flight ice cubes (they come from a water tank which is not sterilised!) so I partook of a rather nice white wine…

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Never having flown long-haul before, I was totally unfamiliar with the in-flight Entertainment system, and it took me quite a while to navigate through it.

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Eventually, while searching the Movies section, I stumbled across “John Wick 4” – joy! I settled back to enjoy three hours of mindless violence…

After the movie was over, I settled back and tried to sleep, but just couldn’t, even though the cabin crew closed the blinds and reduced the lighting.

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I ended up fiddling with the displays on the screen, especially the Flight Information display.

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Six hours into the flight, the cabin crew opened the blinds and served vittles again – just a snack this time around. The ‘Bud Light’ was part of my pattern of always trying “local” food and drink wherever possible; this was, I think, my first ever ‘Bud Light’.

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Shortly after this, the plane commenced its descent into Philadelphia.

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I found an information page on the display screen which included a map of Philadelphia Airport, so I familiarised myself with the basic layout, and where I needed to go in order to catch my connecting flight to Dayton.

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