Saturday, April 18, 2009

In The Air

Our second attempt to get out of town was successful. Our good friend, and neighbor, Carlos Galaviz followed us out to where I work at the airport. I parked my car in the employee parking there, and he drove us the last few miles over to the international departure terminal. This time all really went as planned, as we finally had our documents in order. After clearing the security checkpoint, and a nice breakfast at T.G.I. Fridays, we headed over to our departure gate to wait on the loading process. American Airlines Flight 175 was on a Boeing 777 jumbo jet. This was my first flight on a 777. I had been on 747's a few times in the past, and the 777 looks almost the same inside. It's a big wide body aircraft, and the coach seating is two seats at each of the outside walls by the windows, with five seats separating them in the center section. Our assigned seats were in the center section, but as the flight was not full, we were free to sit anywhere there was an empty seat. We hesitated too long, and missed out on getting two of the empty window seats. I missed the view of taking off, but the empty center seats came in very handy later in the flight. We knew we were in for a very long flight to Tokyo. I had estimated it at eleven to twelve hours, based on our last flight to Incheon eight years ago. The captain came on the P.A. and announced that the flight to Tokyo would be approximately thirteen hours. Better get comfortable. Ok Hwa quickly took advantage of the empty center seats around us. You can fold up the arm rests to create a long sofa-like section, which allows you to fully recline. Perfect for snoozing away the long, boring hours with nothing to see. I never was able to really fall asleep, so I spent the time listening to my mp3 player, reading, and browsing through the in-flight video selections. Everyone in the window seats had pulled down the window shades, and the cabin stayed dark the whole trip. When we arrived at Tokyo's Narita Airport, we did not have to retrieve our checked bags, but we did have to clear the security checkpoint again. I still think that's odd, but the Japanese are nothing if not thorough, and very, very polite. Japan Airlines Flight 953 from Tokyo to Incheon was a bright, sunny affair. Again, the flight was not full, and that helped with the overall comfort level. I must have missed the announcement about not taking pictures during take-off, and was able to video this footage of our take-off from Narita: The two hour flight to Incheon seemed like a walk in the park compared with the thirteen hours of numbness coming over the Pacific. What a relief to land in Korea, and finally be rid of airplanes for a while. As I suspected, none of her family was there to meet us at the airport. It was 18:30 Monday, April 6, and we were on our own in Incheon.

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