South Korean Second-Timer: Plane Panic and, um, Personal Space Please?


Three months ago, when I booked my flight to Korea, I was looking for the cheapest possible way to get there. As all seasoned plane users know, cheap equals antisocial hours, so at 4am on a Wednesday morning almost four weeks ago, I was up and out of the house on my way to the train station to take the train to Gatwick Airport. On at Bedford and off at Gatwick, the train journey took two hours in total and by some miracle I managed to stay awake for the entire time.
Once I arrived at Gatwick it was pretty plain sailing. The queue at check-in was short and I had no issues at security. When I was in the departures lounge I had a little bit of time to wait for my gate to be announced, so I went to Frankie and Benny’s and got myself some breakfast. Now, at the best of times I am a nervous flyer, but, for some reason, this time I was particularly nervy and I found it impossible to eat more than half of my breakfast (a fact I’m sure you can imagine I was pretty upset about  – it was French toast and it was delicious.)


At 10:05 my plane left a rainy Gatwick, bound for Istanbul. It was my first time sitting so far forward in a plane (row 7) which just so happened to be the emergency exit row. On one hand it was amazing – there was no seat in front of me – I have never had so much leg room (I almost wished I were taller to take advantage of it!). On the other hand, all the noises from the engines freaked me out a ridiculous amount. Luckily, I had a very kind English man sat next to me who was a very experienced flyer and explained all the noises to me, reassured me that the plane wasn’t going to fall out of the sky, and kept me distracted the best he could by asking me about my travel plans and talking about Paris and his recent trip there. Despite his efforts, I still got very stressed and as a result I had a very uncomfortable buzzing sensation in my head, along with a throbbing vein on my temple, but after a while it settled down and I settled in to a film (Kingsman – so good! But a little funny with the strange censorship of swear words with softer curses) and my first of three plane meals which were all surprisingly tasty! Well done, Turkish Airlines!

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Late post: Second leg of my #journey…#Istanbul to #Seoul! #HannahinSK2015 #hannahinternational #flying #trip #holiday #Korea #SouthKorea #passport #TurkishAirlines #travel #travelblog #travelblogger #ukblogger

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Four hours later I was in Istanbul, and another 1.5 hours later I was in the skies again and at the start of my 10.5 hour-long flight to Incheon International Airport. I was a little freaked out again during take off, but not nearly as much as the first time, and I settled down a little quicker. It helped a lot that it was the smoothest flight I’ve ever had!
It would have been nice if I could have properly enjoyed my flight. At the start, it was looking as though I was going to be able to, as when I boarded and when the plane took off there was no-one in the seat next to me (just like the first time I flew to Korea!). Unfortunately and most annoyingly, for no apparent reason whatsoever, a man who was sat in an aisle seat on the bulkhead (which meant lots more legroom for him) decided to sit next to me and spread himself out for the entire journey. He also seemed to have no control of his limbs as every time I was just about to drop off to sleep he would jab me in the arm with his elbow. Needless to say, I was a little bit miffed that my lovely flight was sabotaged by a personal space-invading man with bony arms, but it was all worth it when we started to fly over the familiar islands off the coast of Incheon! It was such a good feeling when we finally landed and I must have walked through the entire airport and onto the train into Seoul with the biggest grin on my face.

This is a post in my South Korea Second-Timer series. Read the rest here!

My Holiday Bucket List
Part 2: Welcome to Busan!
Part 3: Hwamyeong, a Temple and Being Spend Happy
Haedong Yonggungsa 해동용궁사 – The Water Temple
Beomeosa 범어사 – Temple of the Nirvana Fish
Gamecheon Culture Village 부산 감천문화마을
Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁


4 responses to “South Korean Second-Timer: Plane Panic and, um, Personal Space Please?”

  1. Emily Ream says:

    I had a similar experience before my flight to Puerto Rico (french toast as well!) I fly many times a year, and for some reason that day I was a mess of nerves. Always feels good once you conquer the fear 🙂

    • hlou14 says:

      Yes! It was so strange. I’ve made four return flights in the last year before my trip to Korea, so I’ve no idea why I was so horribly nervous that day! Yes haha it was definitely a relief to settle into that flight.

  2. […] POST My Holiday Bucket List Part 1: Plane Panic and, um, Personal Space Please? Part 2: Welcome to Busan! […]

  3. […] POST My Holiday Bucket List Part 1: Plane Panic and, um, Personal Space Please? Part 2: Welcome to Busan! […]

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