Never Drink When You Fly

I had a great job that involved visiting our offices in Asia on a frequent basis so I became very familiar with the Trans-Pacific Business and occasionally First Class routine. Others in my office had shared all of the do’s and don’ts of long haul travel and now, after several years on the circuit I was one of the contributors to the best hotels, jet lag rules, how to best get from Airport A to Hotel B, etc.

On the subject of alcohol there was general agreement that it was to be avoided but lots of water was a must. I could never really nail down the alcohol thing. Sometimes it helped me sleep and sometimes it kept me awake. Even if I overindulged on the way to Asia I usually had a Sunday off to recuperate but over time I decided avoiding the alcohol was the safest bet. Except for return trips when I did not have to fear being incapacitated for work as I almost always arrived back on the East Coast late on a Friday.

So it was that on this particular trip, returning from three weeks in Asia and Australia I readily took the invitation for a pre-dinner drink, then wine with the meal and then I got into the Grand Marnier just before my weariness took over and I had a great sleep on the plane. There was just enough time to wolf down a quick breakfast before our first stop in the US in LA. Finding my loafers I found I had a hard time getting them on, presumably from having them off for about eight hours in a low pressure environment and from maybe the drinking. But this time they were extra hard to get on so I resorted to my old trick of using a credit card in place of a shoe horn and I finally forced them on just as we touched down. I was in real pain as we taxied but previous experience had told me that the swelling would subside quickly now that we were at normal pressure and I had my shoes on. But for some reason it was not working this time.

Feeling woozy from the booze, I stumbled out on to the concourse on the way to immigration. I had never felt such pain in my feet. It was getting worse and it felt as though I had put someone else’s shoes on. I was waddling down the concourse in excruciating pain and not at the head of the line for immigration where I usually am when I figured, This ain’t workin’, I gotta sit down and do this again. Finding a bench and dropping the carry-on back and laptop, I quickly kicked off my loafers to great relief. As the blood returned to my feet I looked down and thought, What kind of socks did I put on this morning? I think others passing by saw them before I did. There they were, the sockettes that they give you on the plane when you remove your shoes.

New rule: Never drink while flying.


Category: Airplanes

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