Dreams on a Dreamliner

Please turn off all personal electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones. Smoking is prohibited for the duration of the flight.
no smoking” by Martin Abegglen on Flickr.

I always stare at my phone wondering if I really need to turn it off. I mostly do it just so that I don’t have to deal with the flight attendant.

It’s also kind of funny how they still tell you smoking is prohibited. I’ve never been on a flight that allowed smoking. It must be from before my time. I imagine there are kids today who would think it sounds ridiculous to ask for the non-smoking section of a restaurant.

Then there’s nothing to do. Waiting with a bunch of other people in a mix of fear and excitement and boredom as the plane taxis down the tarmac.

Then the plane takes off.

The scale outside changes from human to toys to specs of dirt, and as the specs become mundane, it’s time to find something to do. Watch a few movies, listen to music, wait for food.

One hour

Two hours

Three hours

I can never really sleep on planes so I try to keep myself occupied. Watch more movies, play some games, anything to keep time moving.

The meal is a nice break. Choosing chicken or pasta while I try to find the pause button distracts me from how much I wasn’t enjoying the movie.

Four hours

Five hours

Six hours

I didn’t get any sleep the night before. I get anxious before flying, especially before very long flights. Not because I’m afraid of flying, but because of all the stress that comes with traveling.

Did I pack everything? Do I have my passport? Is my alarm set? Do I still want to go?

That lack of sleep is starting to become apparent. I can barely hold on to my thoughts. I’m awkwardly flirting with sleep.

I think there is something amazing about being in a plane for so long. The isolation is relaxing. Here on this plane, the only expectation of me is to sit in my seat and not annoy the other passengers. It’s a welcome change of pace from feeling like I’m a day late and a dollar short.

Seven hours

Eight hours

Nine hours

I take bathroom breaks as an excuse to get up and walk around. It’s the main reason I chose an aisle seat. I’ve been trying to pretend to sleep, wondering how best to position my blanket while in a seat, but comfort isn’t always easy in economy class.

The relaxing hum of the jet engines broken up with the occasional ding dong warning of turbulence is blissful. The monotonous noise churning along, keeping us in the air.

If only I could sleep.

Ten hours

Eleven hours

Twelve hours

I think I fell asleep? I can’t tell anymore.

I’m so tired I’ve drifted off into a strange state. It feels like what once existed before I got on the plane was only a dream. My reality is now this flight with the humming engines chanting their song as my mind slips away.

Then the captain speaks.

Attention all passengers, we will soon be arriving at your destination.

A shot of adrenaline as that magical word is said.


All those thoughts of where I’m about to be, what I’m about to do, and who I’m about to meet wake me up. I try to check for all my things, double and triple checking for my passport. We still have more than an hour in the air, but the dream of sitting in my seat slowly fades away as all the excitement of finally arriving sets in.

I guess sleep will have to wait.

Listen to the Episode 104 — Shores, Bruce Springsteen, and Amelia Earhart:

Written by John Bauer of Comatose.

Comatose is a weekly series of amusing anecdotes, insightful commentary, and pithy stories. Every week three contributors are featured in short segments. The segments, though often unrelated, are tied together using music and narration to set the scene. Relax and enjoy the ride while listening to topics as varied as love, birthdays, and reciprocity.

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