When I booked my one-way ticket to New York five years ago, I remember the exact airline that I flew with. You see I couldn’t pronounce it, and when asking my father about the German airline name, he laughed in my face, and has made fun of me ever since.
Five years on, and I never believed that I would be taking part in the first ever runway show, on a plane, yes that’s right, with Lufthansa airline. Frankfurt to New York. On board with an army of press, bloggers, camera crews and models. Whose idea was this?
Frau Kempner. The name badge given to me, I clip it onto my cashmere coat, and am handed a chic fluorescent yellow safety jacket, as we cross the huge runway, and straight back onto the plane for a full dress rehearsal, only hours after stepping off a nine hour flight that same morning into cloudy Frankfurt.
Fasten seatbelt whilst seated. Mentally mine was, tight. Especially when we board, and two camera crews have “hi-jacked’ the plane to wire up the aircraft and test out the cameras. Women shouting German to me as they try to pass down the narrow aisles as they clean the plane, with huge garbage bags dragging behind them. The models, all in their heels, practice walking down the aisles at the same time this is all going on. Absolutely exhausted, and I sit in the front row of business class, trying to keep up with the madness that is going on around me. And I am quickly mesmerized by the cute production manager Simone that is conducting the whole thing, and the buzz of excitement from him and the crew. With the plane firmly on the ground, I am all of a sudden on some sort of high.
I find it comical when I step off the plane, do I get an email from Lufthansa telling me I am now ready to check in for my flight back to New York first thing tomorrow morning. Are you kidding me. I just got here.
A night of exploring Frankfurt, with little to no sleep, and early the following morning my engine is running on only adrenaline, and well, German coffee.
Please prepare for take off.
Soaring above the clouds, I was closer to heaven than ever before, and yet I was feeling far from it. An hour before show time, and I climb the stairs to the upper level of the plane. Passing all the lounging bloggers as they take photos with their selfie sticks , choosing their Instagram filters, and drink champagne with their good looking boyfriends in their Abercrombie effortless sweatpants.
I reach for the clothes that are stored away hidden in the cabinet by where the food is served in the back, and take them to “back stage”, which consists of five rows of business class at the front of the plane. The clothes are all so wrinkled and we are in desperate need of a steamer. Which at that moment we find out that the steamer was not taken onto the plane, and did not in fact pass security.
Taking short breaths, and I half expect the oxygen masks to fall from up above us and hit me on the head, just like in the safety videos. I could really do with some right now. Thinking fast, and I rip off all the plastic bags from the clothes, and start to hang them up along the overhead compartments, making a wall of clothes around the cabin to let them breath.
30,000ft up in the air, and I wasn’t sure if it was the cabin pressure, but I was starting to feel light headed, with a hint of traumatic claustrophobia. Half an hour to show time, and we were surrounded by half naked model getting dressed, at the same time hair and make up fussing over them, spraying goodness- knows- how- did- that- get- on- the- plane, and camera crews conducting interviews, sound booms banging into the over head compartments, and well, clothes just everywhere. It was the chaos of a back stage fashion show, X100.
A mountain of high heels, bras, coat hangers, clothing, everywhere in the cabin. The cheesy 50s music in the background as the show starts, and once the girls leave the backstage curtain to “fly” down the runway, suddenly all the pressure was lifted, and there was a sense of elegance, magic, fantasy as I see them walk down the aisle. Bright red lipstick, and I get a high of that excitement of flying, the exotic side of being on a plane. The glamour, the sexiness. Which I guess I had forgotten all about.
Is now a good time to mention that I don’t enjoy flying? Never have. And I don’t think this experience exactly helped that. However, experience was exactly what it was. And something I won’t be forgetting for a long time.
And as I put my seat back into the up right position, and stow my tray table in front of me, never have I ever been so happy to hear the words…
“Cabin crew, prepare for landing.”