up above the streets and houses

Whenever an urban sketcher flies he or she is compelled to sketch the plane. You’re sat there for hours inside this huge metal perspective trick, usually with little else to occupy your mind than movies you don’t really want to see. Our flight to London was mostly ‘night-time’ (lights out for sleeping, though daytime outside), but I did get the sketch in, while my son coloured in a superhero colouring book that I drew for him. This year, trans-Atlantic flights are a LOT more expensive than they’ve been since I moved out here, so we flew Virgin Atlantic, who are slightly more expensive than United, but are about a million miles more worth it. The flight itself was smooth and pleasant, the cabin crew helpful and amiable, and the entertainment system, as always with Virgin, was top quality, though I didn’t watch anything myself other than an Alan Partridge special. The food was very tasty, and plentiful. It was cramped of course, as all these flights are (I love how at the end they make you walk through first class, to show you what you could have enjoyed if you had just been a little richer). As you land, the Virgin crew come around and give you sweets, and not just any sweets, but Love Hearts. Virgin is the best.

Compare that to our United experience in 2012. Ouch. I vowed never to fly United again – rude, uncomfortable, poor entertainment (tiny screens, terrible movies), lack of food (by which I mean they ran out of everything except beef, which I cannot eat), rude (by which I mean the cabin staff slammed the beef dish onto my tray and told me I had to have it, and had no right to complain – all I had said was “no chicken or vegetarian?”), the plane felt like it was falling apart, rude, the obnoxious smell of the toilets wafting through the cabin and – most of all – rude. I don’t like flying at the best of times, but Grrr, United. I don’t want no beef. I put their rudeness down to the fact that City had just pipped them to the League. At least it got my drawing energy fired up, as you can see from last year’s sketches.

United SFO-LHR
United LHR-SFO

In a review of transatlantic airlines, here is all you need to know: United give you beef, Virgin give you Love Hearts.

4 thoughts on “up above the streets and houses

  1. jenniferappel says:

    You can see the difference in stress level in these sketches ;) Glad to see that you had a good trip and have enjoyed seeing your sketches. (I’ll be doing my own plane sketching soon.)

  2. helen says:

    sadly i’m flying home from the US on United in a few weeks. In the last year and a bit my LOOOONG distance flying has far exceeded in my previous life, and I’ve had the experience of Air France (horrid horrid horrid), Air New Zealand (great safety brief, lots of free kiwi wine, lots of water, felt well looked after but planes felt a bit old) Emirates (feels like luxury even in cattle class, would love to try their ‘better’ ranges) and United (tired out; they also ran out of food choices although I got vegetarian for my first meal despite not ordering it; tiny screens which only worked if you jabbed at them really persistently; rubbish choice of films/tv; lousy tray tables which didn’t offer much flexibility of position; had to pay for drinks. I’ll not pick United in a hurry. Will keep Virgin on the good list though!

  3. quirkyartist says:

    I will be flying around a lot soon, but I don’t feel any obligation to sketch the aircraft cabin. I will do what I did on my Bali flight and sketch the drink of the country. Whoops. First leg is Qantas. Do I have to have a Fosters?

  4. Myra Handsaker says:

    It’s obvious which airline you prefer by looking at your sketches:-) At least you didn’t have a Taylor guitar for them to break. Cheers!

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