The concept of ‘me time’ has been with us for a while, but as life gets busier and we get more connected it is increasingly hard to find.
No matter how hard one chases solitude, there is almost nowhere that you won’t get interrupted by a ping, or a buzz, or a vibration in your pocket.
For we are all busy people, in fact we are too busy, and it’s not good for us.
The harder we work, and the higher we rise, the more time for ourselves slips away.
And I not talking time with the family or the spouse, because we always make time for that, I mean those occasions where we get a few precious moments to be just us.
Not the work version of us, not the parent, or the partner or the son, brother, or best friend, just us, time to remember what we like rather than what all the people we cram into our lives want.
Let me clear, I love all of those people dearly and I’m happy they want my time, but there are times you just need ‘me’ time.
But finally I’ve found it, the ultimate place to relax, unwind and just be you. It’s not a retreat, or a spa, or a five-star hotel, it’s thousands of feet up in the air.
That secret space is flying business class, preferably five to seven hours (time for one movie, one meal, one nap, and a few glasses of something bubbling).
And few offer me that haven of peace like Qatar Airways, as I found on a recent journey from Muscat to Manchester, an especially civilised flight for those seeking a little time to themselves.
*Editor’s note – this flight pre-dated the most recent events, but they only make me more determined to fly to the wonderful city of Manchester and enjoy myself!! My thoughts, like many across the world, are with the families of those affected. We don’t stop travelling, we don’t stop living life.
The first leg of course a short hop from Muscat to Hamad International Airport in Qatar. A relatively enjoyable experience now that Muscat airport has introduced a dedicated security lane for business class passengers to speed you through the formalities and into the acceptable Premium Plaza Lounge.
The transfer time in airports can sometimes be laborious, but with Qatar it means you get to enjoy the business class lounge at Hamad airport, and it’s simply beautiful, it’s like visiting some modern art installation.
Especially so if you’ve got that golden amount of transfer time, not too little that you’re sprinting across the airport to make the connection, but not too much. Muscat to Manchester is such as a window, and as you sitting at the bar sipping the chilled glass of bubbles you begin to relax, make pleasant chit chat with those around you, no pretense, no one asking you for anything, just you enjoying the ambience.
And then, at leisure, you wander down to the gate for boarding, happily it’s two minutes from the lounge, stroll straight onto the flight where smiling staff greet you like a returning hotel guest.
You take your spacious seat, the proffered glass, the hot towel to refresh yourself, and then sit back and exhale deeply, for soon you’ll be in the air, and then the phone goes off (of course you can connect if you want, this is business class after all, but seriously why would you?).
It’s now you have to deal with oh so complicated matters like what to order off the mouth-watering menu and what drink should accompany each course. But hey, this is ‘me time’ so there’s no wrong answer.
Scheduling is also something you can loosen up on too.
Should I watch a movie then nap, or nap then watch a movie? Whatever you fancy.
And what should I watch, the latest rom-com? If you want old chum but equally if you want to watch that Marvel movie or Casablanca, because you’ve always wanted to but your wife has no interest in it, then go for it.
For this is ‘me time’, the ultimate ‘me time’ at that. The on-board crew are judgement-free, they just want to make you feel at ease, and they do. So watch whatever you want, eat whatever you want, in a word indulge.
And if there is an ultimate indulgence in this 24-7, ‘always on’ world isn’t time it?
A famous poet (WH Davies) once wrote a poem called Leisure that began ‘What is this life if, full of care. We have no time to stand and stare’, in Qatar’s business class you time to stand, sit, sleep, relax.
It’s worth noting that when (and if) you do want to catch a few winks, not only does the B788 flight feature 180 degree fully flat beds, but you’ll also get pajamas, how cosy is that?
But if you want to stay awake and enjoy the entertainment and the hospitality then Qatar have you covered, you’ll be especially comfortable in your 22 inch width / 80 inch long seat. And while you are not using your phone you can have it fully charged with plenty of power point for your sockets.
In his poem Davies continued ‘No time to turn at Beauty’s glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance.’
A shame he never got to fly Qatar’s business class, I think the service, the comfort and the view of the sky above cloud level could have changed his mind and cheered him up.