international flight living room

Image via Twitter / Kirsty Russell

Without being too flippant about COVID-19, it has to be said: this shutdown is boring as hell. The experience is not entirely dissimilar to a long-haul flight: drifting through endless tedium punctuated only by random bouts of turbulence; all of us being repeatedly asked to just stay in our seats, put on another movie, have another nap, and wait until this terrible thing runs its course.

For one Australian family, though, lockdown wasn’t similar enough. Kirsty and Nathan Russell were meant to embark on a 15-hour flight to Europe with their children before coronavirus put their plans on hold. And so, apparently discontent with sitting idly in lockdown when they should have been sitting idly on a plane, they staged a full recreation of the flight from Sydney to Munich in their living room.

“It started as a joke but it has actually been quite fun,” said Kirsty, in an interview with Guardian Australia. “We thought the kids would not be into it at all. But they have embraced it.”

The simulated flight—which saw the family sitting down on the Wednesday and “landing” on the Thursday afternoon—included security checks, flight attendants, and custom-printed boarding passes. Kirsty’s 16-year-old son acted as a security officer, her 9-year-old daughter checked everyone’s bags, and the 14-year-old welcomed the family aboard after they were given boarding passes from the fictional airline Lounge Chair Air. Nathan later wheeled inflight meals through the living room on a trolley.

Kirsty explained that their ill-fated holiday, five years in the making, was supposed to be a multi-week European tour taking in Germany, France, Italy, and the UK. But as the pandemic spread, borders closed, and travel restrictions tightened, the dream of an international vacation became less and less likely.

“We would literally be on this trip right now,” she said. “We thought, well, instead of moping about and being upset our trip wasn’t happening, we would take it to the nth degree and do it iso-style … It’s been disappointing, but because we worked so hard with the kids we wanted to give them some kind of experience.”

Upon “landing”, the Russells intend to recreate as much of their planned holiday as possible—eating schnitzel, pretzels, and black forest cake when in Germany; doing a virtual tour of the Louvre when in France.

“My husband put together an amazing itinerary,” Kirsty said. “So we still want to use that.”

“It’s no different to what we’d normally be doing but this is the longest we’ve been together in one room for ages,” she added. “It’s a really nice way to bring everybody together.”

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