First of all, it would be wrong of me to conclude this series of blog posts related to our trip to Australia without mentioning that Jenni was not only never late, in Australia she was often early! If you know Jenni and her penchant for operating on “Jenni time” you would understand how truly impressive this was. If you knew me and how I am horribly frustrated when I’m not on time, you’d understand how much I appreciated that! That’s just one of the reasons I was really excited for her when her global upgrade certificate got approved and she’d been moved up to business class for the journey home. Having flown over there in coach, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, let alone my best friend! And she totally deserved it for not keeping me waiting. Ever!
So the day started with a quick breakfast in Jenni’s room before our cab arrived. We got to the airport pretty quickly and Jenni found out she was number two on the list for upgrades. There were two seats available. After passing through security, I went scouting to find the Delta lounge. They apparently operate through the New Zealand airline lounge and I was turned away because only those sitting in business or first class are able to enjoy their comfort and amenities. I wandered aimlessly back to the terminal and picked up a few more packs of Tim Tams, you know, for the family… Jenni also got denied entrance to the lounge, since her upgrade wasn’t yet official, she was technically still in coach with me.
Our flight from Sydney was delayed because the inbound flight couldn’t land due to fog. We went over to the gate to wait. Not long after we got there they kicked everyone out. Apparently they do this so they can check passports as people enter the gate area. Jenni and I went to get a drink and when we got back we went through passport control and then found a place to wait.
Jenni finally got her upgrade and was even subtle about how excited she was. Once boarding began I lost sight of her but I quickly found her again when I took my seat. There’s a little window in the bulkhead. So the rest of us can see how much fun it is up there, I suppose.
My seat was on the aisle in economy comfort. On the flight out I was in a regular coach seat but by the window. It’s kind of hard to tell the difference between the economy seat and economy comfort. To be frank, there isn’t anything comfortable about it! But it was definitely better to be on the aisle in a flight that lasts over 10 hours. The girl next to me had an inflatable seat cushion and an inflatable foot rest. I’m totally going to google those, she slept like a baby…
I got up to check on Jenni and she was all settled in.
My plan to avoid jet lag was to stay awake for the first seven hours and then try to sleep the rest of the way. I started by watching Only Lovers Left Alive. Two thumbs up. It was entertaining. Tilda Swinson was great and her vampire husband was hot.
Jenni had told me that shortly after boarding she’d made her dinner selection. She was having a sushi appetizer
And the shrimp with soba noodles.
They brought our dinner out. I asked the flight attendant what my options were. She said beef or spaghetti. I asked what kind of beef. She gave me a blank look, peeled the top off of one and said “it’s just beef”. I took the beef. She was right it was just beef. Cubes of beef swimming in a lumpy gravy with what may have been couscous and green beans and a mushy orange substance that may or may not have been carrots. The green beans were the only things I was sure of so I ate those.
I also ordered a glass of wine. I asked what the wine selection was. I was told I had two choices, red or white. Red wine in coach is poured from a box.
I noticed the bar trolley in business had actual glass bottles. And more than one kind. It’s too bad Jenni doesn’t drink…
The next movie I watched was Veronica Mars. Very cute. I wasn’t feeling terribly sleepy yet so I took some of my nighttime cold medicine and turned on a movie about Wolverine of the X men. I must have gotten all caught up in it and missed my sleep window because when it was over I was wide awake and ready for another movie. I decided to watch the original X Men movie. it looked like it was going to be a long day, so why not make it an X Men Marathon?
When it was over I turned the TV off and really tried to sleep. A few minutes later they turned all the lights on and the flight attendants came down the aisle with their boxes of wine. They also provided a snack which was a bag with a sandwich and an apple. I actually got stuck with the vegan bag because the dad and his daughter next to me were vegans and somehow I got associated with them. I slammed down another glass of red wine and then tried again to get some sleep. It didn’t work so I watched another X Men movie.
We finally arrived in LA and I hadn’t had any sleep at all. I realized as we landed that I only had 30 minutes to make it through customs, find my bag, drop my bag off, and go through security to catch my flight. Jenni was one of the first off, so I texted her goodbye and made my way down to Customs. There was a flight from Japan that had arrived at the same time we did, so they held us up at the top of the escalator since they didn’t have enough room for everyone from both flights to go through at once. Thankfully, they let those of us with the Global Pass go through and I zipped through customs in less than 5 minutes. That’s when things broke down. I had to wait for my bag to arrive so I could pick it up and drop it back off. Jenni’s bag was the first one off the plane. I texted her to let her know, but she’d been placed in a holding pen. My bag was one of the last to arrive. I grabbed it and ran to the exit but then got held up in line waiting for everyone else to declare whatever it was they were declaring.
I finally made it through and dropped my bag right outside the customs area but then I was outside of security and had to go upstairs and wait in anther line. For some reason my TSA pre check had not been included on the printed ticket they’d given me, so I had to wait in line, and then remove my Uggs and laptop. By the time I’d made it through my flight had left. The worst part was that I’d been upgraded to first class for the flight to Atlanta and the flight to DC and was counting on that for some quality napping.
I decided I’d have better luck getting rebooked in the Delta Lounge. But that’s because I forgot how busy the LAX Delta Lounge is. I’m sure that’s why the agent working there didn’t care that I was hot and tired! She said I’d already been rebooked on Alaska Airlines. I asked if I was going to be upgraded and she said I was on the list but that it would never happen. I asked her to check if there were any other routes to DC that I could take where I would be upgraded. She said first class was full on every route. She told me I would need to walk through the tunnel to get to Alaska and that I should leave by 11:30. It was already 11 so I decided to head over because I had a seat request card and needed to check in at the gate to get my seat assignment . Jenni was still in the holding pen.
When I got to Alaska and asked about the upgrade, she laughed at me. Then I asked if I could have a window seat. She said they were out. I sat down to wait for boarding to begin. Jenni finally made it out of the holding pen and went to the Delta lounge to pass the time.
My flight finally boarded. The entire row next to me was empty. I asked the flight attendant if I could move. She said she’d already promised the seat to little girl two rows up because she was in a window seat with no window. She offered me that seat. Good enough!
As soon as I settled in my new seat, the plane fired up and we pulled away from the gate. The middle seat in my row was empty so I stretched out and put on my sleep mask. Next thing I knew we were landing. Can’t wait to do it all again…