Saturday, March 29, 2014

Japan Trip, Part I: A 12-Hour Flight

I scheduled a post about flying, which I believe got posted the day I spent in travel. I didn't really know what I was in for, so I just talked about my past experience with flying.

Now that I'm back, I can give a first-hand account of my experience traveling across the Pacific Ocean in a metal tube.

Our first flight was a much simpler thing: a very short flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles. Such a trip would have taken a mere 6 hours by car, so we were in the air for all of an hour or so.

At LAX I turned off all of my phone's data and calling functions, effectively turning it into the Android equivalent of an iPod Touch. I had no intention of risking any extra charges for using my phone abroad.

Laura and I decided to invest in slightly better seats for the plane ride from Los Angeles to Tokyo-Haneda. Traveling west across the Pacific was definitely the longest leg of the trip: a 12.5 hour flight compared to the 9 hour flight back east. So, we spent an extra $100 or so to upgrade to Economy Plus seating, which meant a few inches more legroom and, I think, more frequent service.

I was doped up on Dramamine, so I'm surprised I spent so little time sleeping on these flights. Instead, I spent hours and hours playing Bravely Default. I had expected to run out of battery during the flight, but there were power outlets available so it was never an issue.

Is that something unique to certain kinds of planes, or is that common and I've just never noticed?

Anyway, there was quite a decent selection of complimentary movies to watch during the flight, but I never even bothered. (I did watch a few movies on the way home, though. Expect a few movie reviews in the next few days.)

Another thing that kept me occupied, before I started Defaulting as Bravely as possible, was the in-flight magazine's puzzles sections. I usually never have time to finish the "hard" Sudoku puzzles, but I managed it during this flight. Also, there was a new thing that was similar to Sudoku but involved actual math. I enjoyed that even more, but it was also way easier.

During the flight we got served, at various times: hot towels, peanuts and pretzels, drinks (including free beer, if that's your thing), dinner, dessert, and breakfast.

I'm not entirely sure what the hot towel is about, so I just kinda pressed it to my face in what I hoped was a knowing, experienced manner until the heat dissipated.

Airplane peanuts and pretzels are pretty much all I need. They're not actually better than regular peanuts and pretzels, but they're just scarce enough to leave you wanting more, which makes them seem much more appealing.

On the way to Japan, I think the only drink I took was water. I would have gone with ginger ale, but they serve Seagrams and, as I've explained before, Seagrams has betrayed me.

For dinner, there was the option of a foul-smelling chicken dish or a foul-smelling beef dish, each with some rather sad salads and other side items. I picked at the "food" absently, wishing they'd just serve more peanuts and pretzels.

The dessert was an ice cream sandwich, which was actually kind of okay except that it was freezer-burned and hard as a rock. Every time I took a bite, I wondered briefly if the *snap* sound was the sandwich cracking apart or my teeth fracturing.

Breakfast was just as bad as dinner, featuring a rather sad fruit bowl as the centerpiece. Or maybe it was yogurt? I dunno. By that point I was actually getting sleepy, so I leaned onto Laura for about an hour before the plane began its decent.

All in all, though, the 12-hour plane ride was actually much better than many of my other plane rides. I'm going to chalk that up to Dramamine and that extra 3 inches of leg room.

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