Friday, January 9, 2009

January 7th – January 9th, 2009 - San Francisco to Sydney, Australia

Yeah, you read that right. We left at 10:38 pm on Wednesday and a combination of a 14 hour flight and a 19 hour time difference puts us in Sydney at 8:05 am on Friday. Then again, we're traveling with my Mom which means she booked us all business class tickets, and let me tell you, this is not a bad way to spend a Thursday.

Upon arriving at SFO, we checked in with no problems. I mean no problems other than almost having our bags checked all the way to Christchurch instead of staying with us for our two day stopover in Sydney and requiring the baggage handler to climb down the conveyor belt and into the bowels of the airport to retrieve our bags. Nimble little fellow. Any less so and he might have found himself checked to Kualalumpur. That situation averted, as business class travelers – we're on mom's dime here - were treated to the Red Carpet lounge in the International Terminal which lived up to it's name primarily only in the area of floor covering but was a nice place to grab a little wireless and mix unlikely fruit juice concoctions before the flight.

After a boarding call by the lounge concierge, we strolled to the gate just as they were calling the business class passengers. Once onboard, we were directed up a narrow flight of stairs (yup, we were sitting in that little hump you see on the top of big planes) leading to about 10 rows of two seat “pods” with a comfortable looking recliner type seat facing a 17” screen. While settling in, the flight attendant came by with a tray of orange juice and champagne (yes, please) and left us with dinner menus. This was going to work out just fine.

From 2009-01-07 Australia and New Zealand

From 2009-01-07 Australia and New Zealand

Ann opted to switch seats with my mom for takeoff, thinking our backward-facing pod might not get her motion-sensitive stomach off to the right start so I explored the entertainment options with the remote that was tucked into the side of the seat, deliberating between on-demand movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and games. I set a high score on Marble Castle before settling into an episode of Chuck.

Once Ann returned to the home pod, we were served dinner (yep, white table cloths, linen napkins and a metal fork – okay, the knife was gray plastic). To be honest, the smoked salon and genoa salami was delicious, but I didn't care for the mustard chicken with new potatoes and green beans. No matter, I had already filled up on warm nuts and the Victoria Bitter helped me choke it down.

From 2009-01-07 Australia and New Zealand

After dinner, we barely made it through a movie before feeling an oncoming pass out. Did I mention that the seats in our pod folded all the way flat? Yup, just a push of the bed button on the center control panel and down you go. Of course, pop half and Ambien and down you go as well. We each got about 6 ½ hours of good sleep and woke up feeling like it could be morning. Of course, with the time change, it was morning the day after the day after we left SF.


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