What a great way to start my trip; a taxi to Norwich airport and within minutes I'm checking in for my flight to Costa Rica. Although in reality this will involve no less than three flights, first to Amsterdam then to Panama City before finally touching down in San Jose. At check in I'm given the bad news that I've been put on standby for the main flight - this despite having bought my tickets months previously and being at check in well within the time limits! I even remember selecting specific seats and booking a veggie meal so I don't get why it's ME they're picking on. The girl behind the desk assures me I'll almost certainly get on the flight as there are always loads of no shows. I find this weird. Who books and pays for an expensive long haul flight then on the day just doesn't turn up? It must happen a lot or the airlines wouldn't keep over bookng flights in this way. I decide it's not worth worrying about until something actually goes wrong and so board my packed flight for Schipol airport. I'm always amazed how quick flying is. Literally within about five minutes we are at the coast and I spot the red and white stripes of Happisburgh lighthouse below. For those who don't know, Happisburgh is actually pronounced Haysborough. It's Norfolk! What can I say!
We land at Schipol and I don't get to see the crazy Dutch airport in all its eccentric glory as I have to rush straight to my departure gate to lodge my standby ticket request. After a nervous wait in a holding pen with about 15 or so other unlucky people waiting for the KLM flight attendent to decide our fate, I eventually get handed my magic seat number. Fortunately the sniffer dog I'd been watching had left so I didn't have to have to suffer a slavering hound sniffing about my crotch area like earlier passengers had. Instead I board the huge plane and glare as I squeeze past the self-absorbed, selfish and probably Tory business class passengers and look for seat 30C. I don't hold out much hope for the quality of seat 30C it has to be said, but the C bit does at least promise an aisle seat. I'm therefore amazed to find that THE most spacious seat on the entire plane - including those occupied by the tossers in business class - is in fact seat 30C! There is at least 4 metres of leg room! I kid you not. Boom! Result. I try not to look too smug, avoid the envious glares of fellow economy class passengers in my section and settle myself in for the 10 hour flight.
Food when it arrives is actually pretty good - a far cry from in-flight meals of years gone by. There is cheesecake! "Would you like a Baileys to finish your meal?" asks the shiny headed flight attendent! Need I say more.