I am shocked by the four-letter f-word uttered by the woman at check-in. The plane is “full”. So much for our strategy of not paying for a seat for our daughter and instead relying on our technique of putting her in the seat between us in the certain knowledge that a lively toddler will frighten off most sane passengers.
But when we board, we get to feel how lottery winners must when their sixth number pops out of the machine. Not only do we have a row of four seats to ourselves, there are plenty of spare seats throughout the plane. If Lola decides to be a little bit loud on the flight, then at least they will have somewhere else to move. With this noise potential in mind, our daughter’s guardians – who are joining us on part of this trip – take seats in a completely different part of the plane.
Our daughter has her own seat and works out how the control in the armrest works within a few seconds, turning the light on and off several times in quick enough succession to make me worry about the epileptics on board.
Then she starts shrieking “aeroplane” at the top of her voice several times and our neighbouring passengers start exchanging nervous glances thinking that she seems far too awake so late at night.
In the event, we needn’t have worried. Although she stayed awake till midnight – four and a half hours after her usual bedtime – she eventually sank into a deep sleep, spending four hours on my knee and four on my wife’s.
As we stand up to get off the plane, a girl in the row next to us says how well behaved our daughter has been throughout the flight – “a real angel”. One flight down, nine more to go.