After 3 weeks of hard work and some play, Mr. Toutmerde and I are heading home. The past few weeks have been very intensive and productive work-wise, but I was very interested in the work I was doing, so that is always a plus. And it was great to see Olaf and the gang in Hamburg, I have been here enough times over the past few years that it feels a bit like a second home. I am currently at the Hamburg airport awaiting my flight to Oslo, where I will have about a 3 hour layover before flying on to NYC. I supposed it is a good thing I will have that layover time, because the airline I am flying with (Norwegian) refused to check my bags through to New York, even though both my flights (from Hamburg and Oslo) are with them. This is apparently due to the fact that I bought these two tickets separately, but this still seems ridiculous to me. So once in Oslo, I will have to get my bags, then check them in again. Whatever, I will be happy to be back home, it has been non stop travel since October.
As I write this, I am currently less than two hours from my destination, aboard an ANA flight to Japan. This is the first time in my life I have really flown first class. (There were a couple of other times, but they were first class in name only, providing only a larger seat near the front and pretty much nothing else. They were also not on an international route, which makes a big difference.)
Here are some things I have noticed on this trip:
- When I first came on, they asked me if I wanted to change into a set of pajamas they had for me, (which made me slightly uncomfortable).
- The flight crew is all Japanese, and although they are all very nice and speak a bit of English, we often misunderstand each other.
- Perhaps this is a function of being so close to the front (Seat 1K) of a large plane (777), but it seems a lot bumpier that previous times I have ridden a similar plane back in economy, especially side to side.
- I could get used to this amazing menu. One of the highlights was the delicious ramen.
- And the way they set the table for you is beautiful
- The way the mini cabins are setup in first, you can’t really look out the window directly, which is a bit of a shame
- Likewise, I know these are all setup for maximum privacy, but it is a bit difficult to have any friendly interactions with people sitting near you since everyone is so enclosed in their own capsule
- Speaking of the capsules, they are very swank and nicely built. And converted to a bed was very comfortable indeed.
- I have never washed my hands and face with hot towels more often in such a short time.
- The movies are censored in strange ways. For example, a scene that showed two women kissing had their faces blurred, and subtitles with certain words were blurred out.
- We have two bathrooms just for us and the crew, and one of them is quite large and nice.
- The swag (dopp kit, blankets, pajamas) are all super luxe.
- As you might imagine, the 11 hours have flown by. Between my 4 hour nap and reading about Japan and luxuriating in all the perks, it has really gone by quickly.
After taking this trip it is fairly obvious why some people don’t mind air travel. Pretty fantastic way to go, and yet I can’t imagine anyone paying full fare for something like this.