xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2345 posts, RR: 52 Posted (2 years 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 8928 times:
Round the world in 6 days?
I don't recommend this for anyone. Not even myself.
I am currently sitting in the bowels of the Incheon International Airport. So close to North Korea that I could possibly spit on it.
Not really in the Bowels. I am actually observing people on the departures level as I wait for the Delta counter to open so I can make my way through customs and enjoy myself in one of ICN's pay-in-lounges.
Too bad that we don't have a Sky Club here, or an agreement otherwise. I mean, KE is skyteam, so why not have an agreement with one of their lounges if you hold a membership? I digress.
I have been sitting here for the past hour or so just watching the foot traffic come in thru the multitude of doors. They have trollies available for pax use here at the airport so long I could possibly fit on one comfortably and take a nap.
Most swing by and gander my way. Pretending to be looking at something else, but I know they are looking at me. I have been the only 6'7" american to walk through these airport halls that I have noticed. I must be a marvel of some sort. At least thats what I am saying in my head.
Speaking of being american, I will have to share a story. Remember Bennigans? Well they still have one open here at the ICN airport. I was excited. Thoughts of monte cristo and onion rings danced in my head. But I always make it a rule, regardless of where I am at, I must have at least have one traditional dish native to the country I am visiting. And it just so happened that this particular Bennigans offered a separate korean dish specials menu.
Fantastic. Typical bennigans trash up on the walls, but done very tactfully. Add in the music, 80s horrible slow type music. Think Michael Bolton, Phil Collins, Gloria Estafan, Celiene Dion. Now envision the entire restaurant singing to this music.
Go ahead. Imagine it. Laugh. Ill be right here. Not like I am going anywhere anytime soon.
Something about being patriotic or nationalism, or something. But again, being the only american as far as the eye could see, I was sat first, two other tables sat in succession of about 10-15 mins after me. And I was served last. No worries, I have time to kill.
As I already said, Korean Food was on my mind. And as I am looking my food, which was presented in a stylish, almost bento box style (minus the box part of it), I looked up. Everyone had ordered Monte Cristo's and onion rings and the southwest sampler.
Mine looked tastier.
I paid and headed out to enjoy the scenery. Being on the second floor afforded me views of the check-in area. I must say, this airport is massive.
This is just the check-in lobby...well from either side of the second floor landing...
Check in is about to open. And I cannot wait to get thru customs. This story will get back filled. As soon as I get around to it.
I don't recommend this for anyone. Not even myself.
Amen to that. I've done it in about 8 days, including time spent at a conference in DXB and access to OneWorld first class lounges the whole way, and it screwed up by body clock, and even my health, for well over a week. That was going west to east, which kills me on a normal Trans-Pac flight, let alone RTW.
Still plenty in the world, mate...including the US. Even one on Michigan Ave. in Chicago, as well as other locations in IL, CA, FL, IN, IA, MA, MI, MN, MO, NJ, PA, TX and WI according to their website. Looks like, amazingly, there are 23 (!!) in South Korea...including one I ate at in Changwon about 1.5 years ago. Don't ask me why...sometimes you need that taste from home, right? Even if it does taste like balls.
stratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1614 posts, RR: 3 Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8708 times:
LOL 6' 7" ...How come you're not on a pro basketball team...Man that airport looks immaculate. Yeah RTW is a challenge I wouldn't want to do it now..When I was a 20 something airline employee I was up for stuff like that and even then I never did it..Kinda wish I had now..
xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2345 posts, RR: 52 Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 8620 times:
Its sunday afternoon. Roughly 1530. Just a little under 2 hours prior to my beautiful 777-200ER to haul us back across an international date line and back to my home country.
Don't get me wrong. I really do love visiting other countries. But when you have done as much traveling and as much sightseeing as I have done, your bed would sound just about as comfortable as it does in my head.
Anyways, back to my drivel..
I can’t explain it better than one word, when someone asks how Thailand is: Hot.
When I travel, I usually like to go long haul. It gives me time to reflect on the time that has passed since I last stepped foot on an aircraft and where these travels will take me once I am enroute for the current trip. Non-revenue travel, to me, is a game. One that must be played with precision and a side of luck. Unlike 90%+ of travelers out there, I gauge where I am traveling and where I will end up starting at the very earliest around 5 days out from day of departure. Some times, I will look at where to go once I arrive into a specific city. 10% of you reading this, can no longer continue reading because you are already starting to fidget and worry that something may go awry.
You know who you are. You are the one who consistently checks the flights to make sure the flight time didn’t change. Or your seats haven’t moved since you last looked 7 minutes ago. Or there may be a line at customs that may hinder your MO of a schedule that was carefully crafted and re-read over and over, chiseled down to the very last minute, planning your life on your trip according to a piece of paper (or two or three).
Now, granted, there are some that this may need to apply to as you are going for a conference, or a business meeting set, or doctors appointments, etc. I am not talking about you. I am talking about the once a year traveler who spends more time planning, writing, erasing, re-writing, worrying, and losing sleep because something may happen to delay, cancel, be temporarily closed, etc.
If you fell into the latter category, please don’t travel with me. Why? You would hate my spontaneity.
A couple of months ago, I had about 6 days off. I can hop on an aircraft and just fly somewhere. Some people think I am absolutely off my rocker for doing this. I’d like to think those people are a wee bit jealous. Regardless, I saw that there was an afternoon flight to Atlanta that was wide open. Good start. I proudly held a boarding pass with seat 18A in my hand for this B737-800 aircraft to whisk me, in a short one hour flight, from Raleigh to Atlanta.
One of the many good things about my airline is that we offer Go-Go Wireless Internet at minimal cost so you can be connected to the world wide web even if you are rocketing across the sky at 30,000 feet.
“Asia” I thought to myself as we flew right above the Charlotte airport. Now, how would I get from Atlanta to the west coast to best position myself to get to Asia? Our company’s intranet, which one of the vast available applications does provide passenger load information, was instantly on my screen and reflecting some decent availabilities, seat wise, to get me from our company’s southern hub to somewhere west coast wise. Knowing that I had quite a bit of real estate to cover in order to visit the other side of the world, I ended up flying to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Kansai, and then Guam.
Some people are rolling over in their grave, others I fear just left the room and refuse to finish reading this particular section. My dad hates it. He flew on the now merged Northwest Air Lines and obtained status for quite a number of years. Now granted he just obtained the second lowest rung on the membership rung, meaning that he was on their Silver tier. Basically that gave him free reign to exit rows (reserved for anyone with status with an airline) and occasionally, he would obtain an upgrade to first class. However, considering there were tons of Gold and Platinum level flyers above him, he usually never saw those huge, cushy seats that usually seem unobtainable to the traveling public.
Which couldn’t be further from the truth, at least domestically. 90% of most people you see sitting in those “hard to get” seats at the pointy end of the aircraft are a direct result of airline loyalty. Those folks didn’t have to tap into their trust fund or pull out their Amex Black Card to pay the outrageous fee for those seats. Now the 10% who pay it, do it smartly. In my 9+ years working in this industry, I have seen one of two ways folks pay. Either buy a discounted F seat (they are out there, you just have to know what you are looking for) or using their mileage they accumulated over the years.
But he must have the most interesting love/hate relationship with me. I mean, I know that he really does love me. But when he finds out that I am doing 16 stops just to get to a destination, he loses a little bit of sleep. I know he tracks me to find out how much of a lunatic I have to be in order to get on that many aircraft in succession. If he could fly nonstop from point A to point B regardless of destination, that would be his dream. I told him he would have to live in a major city or charter a corporate jet. Neither ideas of which he would entertain.
By now, I can only imagine you thinking just what the heck I was talking about in the opening line. Go ahead, look. I’ll be patiently waiting…
Thailand = hot.
But in order for me to let you know how the heck I got to Thailand, first one must back up a few days.
While I do tend to ramble, my aforementioned paragraph about my ability to plan and organize travel really can and does happen in under a day.
I finally received authorization to take a week off of work and decided that I would join a few co-workers in a round the world trip. Yes, you read that correctly. I planned to circumnavigate the globe during a weeks worth of travel all within a day’s notice.
xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2345 posts, RR: 52 Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 8534 times:
And for those playing along at home...here is a current copy of the flights that have already been flown:
For those with pens, or who are bored, you can draw the next line from ICN-DTW. But please do it only when I post again. Not only am I supersitious, but apparently MSP airport didn't pay their electric bill. And apparently a rapture of some sort was supposed to happen. Or something.
13.5 hours. I will see you all when I get back to the states.
xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2345 posts, RR: 52 Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7043 times:
This can only end in tears.
12 hours and 37 minutes. At least that is what the captain told us when we were pushing from the beautiful ICN terminal gate 112. And captain's, right alongside of politicians, would never lie to us. Never.
I will give it to the FMS, we must have caught a bit of a tailwind. Because, on a flight that length, I usually give their time estimates a +/- 15 min allowance. And sure enough, at least according to Flight Aware, our flight which took us at an almost polar route, shows us 12 hours and 27 minutes. Not too shabby.
The problem is that I would never make the 530pm flight. Even if I were a sprinter, I still was officially thru customs at 527pm. The aircraft time shows it out of the gate at 525pm. No bueno for me.
There is only one more flight back to RDU and that flight isn't looking too great for me. More like downright pitiful.
But alas, I have a skyclub to indulge my taste buds in the form of both alcohol and snacks. And a Westin if it comes down to it. The problem is that I have no more clean clothes after showering and changing tomorrow night. Oh well.
But in the mean time, I promise there is a lot more coming. Including a 15 bicycle pileup in AMS. or something like that.
xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2345 posts, RR: 52 Reply 10, posted (1 year 11 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5845 times:
Sorry for the week I have been idle in posting. Its been quite hellish at the office. But after recovering from the week and enjoying my first holiday off on the actual holiday, I decided to indulge myself in writing a bit more to this story.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. Ending in tears.
Thankfully it didn't. Turns out, people get lost in airports. Lots of them. I mean, aside from the unusual circumstances/emergencies, thats the only thing I can think of. I can only think of 2 times when it is necessary to use a sheep herder outside of their element. 1: Protests...to keep the people in one area. 2: Airports...to keep the people from wandering astray and herd them to the correct gates/baggage claim/etc
Airports are not hard to navigate. There are signs everywhere. One of the most common questions I get while working a gate is "where is baggage claim?" Now, this question wouldn't seem to err on the stupid side, had the person not just exited the aircraft and came straight to me and asked where it is. However, I get this question after I watch them walk toward the sign that says "Baggage Claim" with an arrow pointing the direction of the baggage claim area. I know they are reading it because I watch their fingers read the sign, point the direction the arrow is pointing them in, and then come right back to me and ask "Where is baggage claim?"
So, people end up missing the flight that i was trying to get on and I end up with a seat and in my bed that night. Again, I said the Westin would have been a last resort type deal. or whatever. I don't know if you all have had the chance to sleep on a Westin bed, but they call it the "Heavenly Bed" for a reason. I am a huge SPG fan, and a loyal customer of the brands that fall under the SPG banner. So if I got stuck in the Westin overnight, I wouldn't have minded too terribly.
777ord From United States of America, joined May 2010, 355 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (1 year 11 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 5234 times:
lol. Brilliant stories!!! Reminds me when I did a trip to Asia (when I worked for AA). ORD-NRT-MNL-BKK-NRT-DFW-ORD. Not in 6 days mind you, but, I was supposed to go from BKK-DEL-ORD. Minor issue with the WRONG visa prevented me... GRRR.
xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2345 posts, RR: 52 Reply 12, posted (1 year 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4382 times:
So. Where did this begin?
Monday night. I worked. Had a few brews at a local pub afterwords. I may or may not have been on the lean side of that particular adjective "few".
I slept right through my alarm. Sadly that wouldn't be the only time I would do that this trip.
It takes roughly 30 minutes for me to head from my house to get to the airport. I say roughly 30 minutes depending on the time of the day it is. North Carolinians have to be the worst drivers I have ever come across. And that comes with someone who lived in Florida. Rush hours start, at least in my area, around 2p and last until 8pm. Not because there are a lot of people on the road at 2pm, but you get the folks in the far right lane who are doing 60-65 mph. And then you have the folks in the middle lane doing 67 mph, and the people who are passing in the left lane doing 70 mph. So no one really quite passes each other in a timely fashion, which causes backups during that time.
I did make it to the airport in "record" time, which to me meant very little traffic on the road. Pulled into the lot and within a few minutes was in the terminal looking somewhat disheartened at the Departures screen noticing that my flight I really wanted to take had somehow managed to give itself a 2.5 hour nap somewhere along the way.
No big deal as I had a back up and a back up for the back up. Fly through DTW and then hop on board one of my least favourite planes to fly internationally. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the A330 (not that I had much of a choice going to AMS), but I hate the international J seat from the old NW days. I feel like every time I put the seat into the full recline mode, I will somehow end up on the floor by sliding out of the seat. It has something to do with angles and fishing rods (fishing joke...just to see if you are paying attention).
I did manage to snag a bulkhead which honestly worked out really well. I think I tried to sleep at one point, but after the captain came on and said welcome aboard DL241 service to Amsterdam's "Skip-ol" airport with an approximate flying time of 6 hours and 22 mins. Great...finish dinner service and be almost half way to Europe. This would be one of the reasons why I am partial to an Asian run, as I have time to have dinner and still get a decent nights sleep.
I watched a few episodes of some tv offerings the IFE had. I enjoyed a few Woodford and Cokes. And I enjoyed a moonlit Atlantic crossing.
Twenty minutes left of the flight, the noise canceling headset was taken from me and I was told rather boorishly to get my seat to the landing position. Whatever, I was almost back in Europe and ready for the adventure of this trip to really get into full swing.
xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2345 posts, RR: 52 Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2161 times:
Quite honestly, I forgot about this report. And frankly, not employed anymore has kept my boredom levels at an all time high. There is only so much TV and internet I can filter through without ripping my hair out. And since I have very little hair left and I started running through my old blog that I wrote which linked me to this particular trip report, I decided to finish it. Just under a year later. Better late than never, eh?
Since it has been a year, I remember this trip more than anything. I mean, how could you forget some of the greatest trips you have taken? Hell, I just went to Vegas a few weeks ago, and I remember being on a few planes and enjoying a jack and coke on a few of them. But pictures need to remind me what happened. Not so with this RTW trip. It's like it happened yesterday. I hope.
I fear I need a few drinks to continue this, so pardon me whilist I indulge my taste buds on the nectar of some freshly opened Woodford. You'll be here I hope. If not, I understand.