We are finally en-route to Mumbai. Me, my fancy camera (with new zoom lens) plus my trusted travel companion (as well as my flight calmer) Dipali.
We managed to board in good time on our British Airways flight. I am a complete bag of nerves! It really doesn’t matter how many times I fly I always start regretting it! I ask myself each time “Why am I doing this?” Well it is simple, I either suck it up and see life outside of Edgware or be afraid all my life and try to convince you that my weekend shop to Sainsburys was life changing.
We have pre booked our seats on the exit row which is perfect, for once I’m not being crushed by the person in front of me who insists on reclining their seat throughout the flight. Seriously! They recline so closely that I could offer a comforting head massage! The only drawback for me on the exit row is that I do not have my own clear window to look out of which usually offers me some weird comfort when I feel nervous.
During turbulence I like to look out of the window just to make sure the wings are not on fire. It’s weird I know, but sadly that is the truth of it. We are ready to take off and now the panic has started to set in. I have another double check that my seat belt is on and then grip onto the seat rest. The fear must be spread across my face as we are taking off, as I can feel eyes on me. I look up and see a very concerned looking flight attendant sat across from me who is called Tony.
He picked up on my uneasiness and got me to speak to him during take-off, trying to divert my attention from the fear. He made a few jokes and made me laugh, he then asked what I am afraid of on the flight, so I told him what I disliked. Tony then started to describe and explain what it is that is happening and why we feel some of the turbulence. Weirdly Tony’s descriptions started to have me so interested in what he was saying that my discomfort was starting to ease off.
We are now up in the air and Tony was getting ready to get up and get on with his work, he told me that if I feel afraid at any point on this flight then come and find him and he will talk me through it. I Love Tony, I have never had a flight attendant look after me and he has really helped me out. We had a brief chat before he had to leave and when I told Tony that I work in Travel he could not stop laughing; he couldn’t believe someone who is afraid of flying has a career in Travel. He also told me that he thought we were a little crazy because we are leaving the UK where the weather has started to improve to land in Mumbai where they are currently in the midst of the monsoon season. We have been told this morning before boarding this flight that there has been flooding in Mumbai.
After a fairly uneventful 10 ½ hour flight, I am happy to say “WE ARE HERE”. It hasn’t been too bad as we are just over an hour delayed because of the Monsoon, I really thought we would have a severe delay in landing. There was a rumour that we would have to re-route to Delhi because of the flooding, but we are luckily in Mumbai. The other worry for me was the landing, I thought it would be rough coming through that kind of weather but the captain gave us a very smooth landing which equals a very happy me.
Mumbai airport is very modern; it is quite new; they have invested some money into. We made it through security very quickly which was impressive and just what you want after being on a flight for so long.
Where we had the main delay, which happens in any country, was the baggage reclaim, but Mumbai has got to be the slowest one I have seen so far! It felt like they had hundreds of bags and only one man loading it on the belt. The belt seems extremely slow as well. Here we are, with a crowd of people from our flight watching one bag at a time whiz around at a snail’s pace. As luck would have it, mine and Dipali’s bags are the very last ones to arrive, “Brilliant!”.
After a painful wait we are on our way (although slightly traumatised, at the possibility of having two weeks in India without my under crackers). As soon as we exit the airport, our rep is waiting patiently to greet us and direct us to our transfer. He assists us with our bags to the car, and we are off to the hotel. WooHoo!!
Now let me explain the monsoon. I see rain all the time, I am British, rain is our thing. This is extreme! I half hoped that our car would turn into a boat and sail us to the hotel. Our driver is completely un-phased, as is all the Mumbai traffic this evening. We arrived at the hotel within 40 minutes which is excellent timing thanks to the water rally driving by our driver.
The Oberoi Mumbai is our home for the next two nights, as we enter the lobby it is very late so the hotel is quiet. This makes the check in process very quick for us. My ground agent director Manan has come to meet us from Delhi, I thought at this time he may have gone to bed and would meet us tomorrow but he is loyally sat in the lobby waiting to greet us. We ventured over to the Trident Nariman Point which is inter-linked to the Oberoi by a corridor. We try a late night coffee shop that is still open at the Trident as it is a 24-hour café and have a brief catch up with Manan.
As we head back over to the Oberoi I take a look around at our surroundings because the hotel is stunning. I don’t take it in that much this evening as it is 3am and we are shattered. We bid goodnight to Manan and agree to meet in the morning for breakfast.