After a wonderful Christmas at home, filled with family, friends, food and a lot of prosecco, it was time for me to make the journey all the way back to Adelaide. I used to love to fly, but after three years of back and forth on the cheapest possible flights, I now view these journeys with dread rather than excitement. I can’t ever sleep on a plane, and the long layovers (nine hours in Kuala Lumpur airport on the way to Ireland, and seven hours on the way back) don’t help.
My flight to Amsterdam was delayed for 30 minutes, so when we arrived at Schiphol Airport, people started to frantically run through the airport, like they were the Mc Callisters from Home Alone.
I thought they were being a bit dramatic and I settled for power walking. I thought I knew Amsterdam airport well, so I figured I had plenty of time, but I was wrong. It turns out that the gate was literally at the furthest edge of the airport, somewhere I had never been anywhere near before. I kept thinking I had to be almost there, but the signs just kept pointing me further and further away.
I was very hot and bothered when I finally I made it to the gate, and there was no time to pee, let alone get the coffee I had been longing for. I reluctantly boarded the flight to Kuala Lumpur and hoped it would go by fast.
After ten long hours I arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport, feeling sleep deprived and stiff. I grabbed one of those little trolleys for hand luggage (seriously, the best invention ever!) and unloaded my heavy bag. Then I walked around the airport for a while, to try to get my blood moving again. I always try to do this right after getting off the flight, because if I leave it too long, tiredness will kick in and even standing up seems like way too much effort.
I headed up to Starbucks and was lucky enough to find a comfy leather seat in the corner. I settled down with a large caramel frappuccino and my book and waited for the frap to do its magic. After a happy couple of hours reading and sipping caramelly goodness, tiredness started to kick in, despite my best efforts to fight it. I could feel my eyes start to droop and could no longer absorb what I was reading. I still had a few hours left and I was worried I would fall into a deep sleep and miss my flight.
On my way to Ireland, Sean had put money into my account so that I could go into the Plaza Premier Lounge during my nine hour wait. I didn’t end up going because by the time I decided to do it, the place was jam-packed. I figured that paying to go in there wouldn’t make sense as there didn’t even seem to be any free seats.
But this time, it was calling to me. I was struggling to keep my eyes open, and I reasoned that the prospect of a shower alone was worth the money (I had to sit next to a really, really smelly guy on the last fight, who, aside from emitting a terrible smell, also radiated heat like an oven, so a shower sounded like bliss!), as well as the peace of mind that I wouldn’t miss my flight.
And so I headed into the Plaza Lounge. I paid for a two hour stay, and headed straight to the showers, almost giddy at the thought of being clean. There was a wait, so I sat in the quiet and luxurious lobby in a cream velvety armchair and flicked through a magazine, feeling like a dirty backpacker who shouldn’t be there. When it was my turn, I entered the private shower room and did a little dance of joy. There were thick fluffy white towels, a sparkling personal toilet, a beautiful shower, and shower gel, conditioner, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste! It was heaven.
After a shower, I felt like a new woman. I changed into my clean clothes (something I really recommend for long haul flights – having fresh clothes to change into halfway through really helps you feel human again.) and brushed my teeth before leaving my private boudoir feeling clean and presentable.
I found a seat overlooking the runway and then went to check out the food. Unfortunately, due to being overtired, I wasn’t hungry at all, but the food looked nice. I went to the bar and ordered my free glass of wine. I took a little plate of peanuts and went back to my seat.
Halfway through my glass, a woman came over to me and said it was time for my massage. I was so excited! I followed her through sliding doors to a dark room with two massage chairs. I sat on one with my head resting on the doughnut-like cushion and relaxed. The massage was very firm and at times a little sore, but in a good way. After a few minutes, another masseuse came in with a woman and started to massage her. That was a little weird, especially when mine started to slap me up and down. The sound of her hands whacking off my skin was pretty loud. I had to hold in a snort of laughter when she moved from my back to my ass and hips and the sound of her slaps changed. It must have been distracting for the woman next to me, hearing what was in store for her.
It was over way too soon, and I left the room feeling very relaxed and a little woozy. I hoped my face wasn’t red with the imprint of the hole on my face. I found another seat and charged up my laptop and phone. I went up to the bar and ordered a latte and a cute little lemon cupcake, and sat back with a magazine.
People all around me were eating and drinking lots of lovely looking food, and I couldn’t help but think maybe I wasn’t making the most out of my experience. I had no appetite, but I wandered back up to the food again and picked up a couple of little bite-sized snacks.
All too soon, it was time for me to head to my gate. I left feeling relaxed and happy, and strangely, not tired anymore. Funnily enough, I managed to sleep for a while on the flight to Adelaide, without even taking a sleeping pill or drinking any wine, which is unheard of for me! It could be a coincidence, but I think it was because of my pampering session.
I highly recommend this to anyone with a long layover. My only fear is that I may never be content to spend a long wait in an airport without indulging in an airport lounge!
I paid 30 euro for two hours in the Plaza Lounge, which included one alcoholic drink, a massage, use of the shower facilities, a variety of food and drink, magazines, and pleasant surroundings.