The flight to Darwin

“People share far too much information in public, these days”, I thought to myself tonight, as I sat and waited for the flight to Darwin.

To my immediate right, there was a bloke having a deeply personal conversation. I tried not to listen.

To my immediate left, there was a woman offering “mentoring advice” to another. I disagreed strongly with the advice she was offering, which seemed built more on her own experiences, rather than offering anything of direct value to the younger woman she was sharing with. The mentor seemed to spend more time talking and offering advice, than listening, as far as I could see.

The one time I shared anything significant in public was on a bus about a decade ago a couple of days before Gloria’s death. It was those once-in-a-lifetime conversations that couldn’t wait for a more private place. It was then or never.

But as I sat and listened to the people in the lounge tonight, I wondered if they couldn’t have waited for somewhere more private to air their “dirty laundry”.

Or maybe I’m just a sticky-beak who listens too closely to other people’s conversations?

On the four-and-a-half-hour flight to Darwin, I spent a lot of time listening and observing what was going on around me.

I was seated in the fourth row, just behind Business Class.  I always prefer aisle seats on long-haul, so you don’t have to worry about getting up to go to the toilet.

Of the twelve people in front of me, I noticed only two in Business Class were drinking alcohol. “Oh no, just a still water” was the most recurrent response I overhead to the waiter’s polite questioning. A couple of them also refused meals, and not one person took up the offer of a bread roll.

“What’s wrong with these people?”, I thought to myself. If I was in business class, I would have taken everything on offer, and likely asked for more.

Even the woman next to me in Economy declined a meal and an alcoholic drink. “Oh no, just a still water,” she said.

She spent almost all the flight scrolling through Instagram. At first, she had two phones going through social media. Later, she watched a movie on one and scrolled through Instagram on the other. Despite the hours and effort that had gone into creating the posts, she scrolled through them at a rate of knots—a word of warning for anyone who posts on social media.

It was about then that I decided Business Class is a waste of money. I’ve only ever flown Business Class once, thanks to a couple of friends who “upgraded me” as a gift. Every other time I have decided it wasn’t worth the money. I often get those offers to upgrade points, but decline, because I can never justify the extra $200-$300 it costs.

Looking ahead to Business Class, there was definitely more attention paid to the passengers. The waiter, who bore a remarkable resemblance to NSW Premier, Dominic Perrotet was more inclined to say “Is there something I can interest you in?”, than “Do you want the chicken or the rice”? The food looked better than ours in the paper boxes. And the wine was flowing. But since most people are more inclined to say, “No, just still water”, I wondered what’s the point.

The early morning arrival at Darwin Airport took me quite by surprise. It was about 1.30am local time. In contrast to Sydney Airport which would have been almost empty at that time of night, Darwin Airport was a hive of activity. But yikes, the taxi queue!

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