Friday, May 9, 2014

Beijing and Tokyo

Segment 1

Departed on AA 2419 DFW 08:50AM arrived 10:00AM LAX on a Boeing 737-800 3 hrs 10 min and 1,235 flight miles.

First class upgrade.

Quiche, asparagus, tomato, fresh fruit.  Sorry I ate it, then realized I had not taken a picture.  Sorry.




Segment 2

Departed AA 1452 LAX 11:55AM arrived 06:05PM ORD Boeing 737-800 4 hrs 10 min and 1,745 flight miles

This flight went over Palmdale, CA, then over Las Vegas, Lake Meade, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, then directly over Garden of the Gods in Colorado, just west of Colorado Springs.  This is where we went on our summer vacation. 
Please note Garden of the Gods and that I am flying over this spot from south-west to north-east.  I will fly over this on Segment 5 from north-west to south-east.  What an interesting coincidence.

Lake Mead outside Las Vegas
Lake Mead outside Las Vegas
Grand Canyon is beyond the haze
You might be scrolling through these pictures and thinking how boring, why would he take so many boring pictures.... 
Well, to each their own. 
You might prefer reading a book than looking out the window.
You might prefer to listen to music and close your eyes.
You might prefer to sleep.
I prefer to see the majesty of the world around me.  That is me.  I feel incredibly privileged and honored to be able to fly, to be able to fly first class, to be able to look out and see the world, to see the ground below and marvel.  How did it get there.  It has been like this for years and years and years.  I am seeing time almost standing still.  Like I am going back in a time machine.  For free.  I am going back in time for free without any physical harm.  I am seeing what people saw a long time ago and it is still pretty much the same as it was back then.
That to me is incredible.  Water flowed here.  Why did it stop.  Where did it go.  What was the climate doing then.  What made the climate change.  How did the our ancestors down below cope.  All that disease.  All that hardship.  All that sleeping on the ground. Sleeping in caves.  No drinking water out of a bottle or tap.  No toilets.  They survived.  Down there. 
That is just PART of what I marvel at when I look out the window.
I have flown over this 50 to 100 times and still take pictures every time
Lake Powell
Colorado River
Colorado River
Colorado River
Colorado River
Colorado River - look closely at the pictures and you can see the third dimension of height of the canyon walls and the steepness

The desert soon gives way to snow

Snow in Colorado

The tiny town at the foot of the mountains could be Aspen, CO

Garden of the Gods
Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Airport

First class upgrade. 

This is a safe bet for airplane food.  Three pieces of nice soft steak plus pretzel bread stick on the side<<< my favorite is the pretzel bread stick

Sorry I ate it, then realized I had not taken a picture.  Sorry.

Segment 3

I arrived at 6:05 PM, so I didn't have that much time in ORD.
Departed on AA 187 ORD TUE-22-OCT 07:20PM arrived WED-23-OCT 09:45PM PEK (8:45AM CST) on a 777-200 (not the new 777-300ER) 13 hrs 25min 6,580 flight miles

Look at the size difference between my 777-200 and a MD-80

Admirals Club is located at ORD but there is also a Flagship Lounge which is just for international first class and for Executive Platinum Business Class (me)
Free drinks but too bad I don't drink

I stayed in the Flagship Lounge only about 10 minutes. 
Had to eat and run.
No showers in here.  Only in the other Admirals Club. 
Other club is very large.  This is very small.

I did not fly coach.  If you fly coach on a 777-200, row 20 is a good row.  You get a pillow and a blanket and somewhat more leg room.  It is just behind business class where I sat.  The TV monitors come up between the seats.

Row 20 is a good coach row, lots of leg room

Notice one drawback is there is a window missing

Business class overheads pretty empty as most people check bags

Lots of leg room.  That is a fold down table.  This table folds down and then can attach to the table you can lift up from your arm rest, and make one large surface. Push the oval latch UP (on the right side of the picture) and the table will drop down.  The oval above it is a coat hanger. 

You can see to the left are two compartments, one for the person to my left and one for me.  It contains a little amenity kit, with toothbrush, comb, slippers, eye shades, ear plugs. 

The TV monitor tilts up or down

Big fluffy pillow and a very nice large very soft duvet
Also a drop-down compartment for a few magazines.
I have my toothpaste in there, you can see it sticking out.
Left of my knee is the tray table.  You can also see the controls for the seat, to have it move in any direction all the way to almost flat.  This is a 777-200 so it does NOT lie flat.  It is almost flat.

This is my seat number 12J, it is a window seat.  Pro is I get to see out, but con is if the guy next to me lying flat and asleep, I have to jump over him to get to the bathroom.  This arm rest goes all the way down.

Each business class seat has 3 windows.

Don't take row 11 as it is missing one window, the window closest to your face, the one you want to look out of.

Anybody read Chinese?  We actually go very close to the north pole. 

Kilometers to go, current outside temperature in C and current time in Beijing

Night time in ORD but morning the next day in Beijing

Finally we took off

This is my favorite dessert.  Vanilla ice-cream.  Hot fudge.  Nuts.  Whipped cream. 

Then put the seat down in a lay flat position, and fell asleep for eight hours.  Pretty good sleep.

Once you get over there, everything is so close, take look at the map

I woke and saw were only four hours away

Flying over cold Siberia

and for those that can read Chinese or want to practice their Chinese:

So of course, the seats are always or mostly broken on all American Airlines flights.  Yes, really.  In this case, my entertainment console did not work.  It is no use sending a complaint email to AA, they will NEVER do anything about it. 

The TV monitor tilts up or down but did not work in my seat.

So they managed to find me a Samsung Galaxy Tab 12 inch tablet loaded with movies and games on it, it looks like this

Log on screen

Yes, I did fill out the survey and complain, but you know what, it went in to a black hole.