Monday, February 12, 2001

Classes of Service

Because of the length of the flight to Korea, my employer sprung for a business class ticket for me. This expenditure seemed fairly extravagant.

This judgement did not pervent me from resolving to enjoy the hell out of the experience. With almost 48 hours in transit and less than 90 on the ground in Cheju (yeah, I'm a nut), flying was going to be a significant portion of this trip.

Perhaps due to the lack of business class on the Dulles to San Francisco leg, I ended up in first class. Woo hoo. Of course, I had gotten about 3 hours of sleep the night before, so I was not awake to enjoy most of the flight. Still, I slept in a really comfy chair instead of the cramped chair I would otherwise be subject to. And the meal service was comparable to being in a restaurant instead of...I don't know; the guest of a bad cook who doesn't like you. As I was warned by a colleage who has more experience with United, they offered teh meal service in order of number of frequent flier miles, which meant when they got to me, I was pretty hungry, and they were out of the fruit.

I arrived in San Francisco and hustled to Gate 102 for my flight to Seoul. I turned on my cell phone only to receive a message from the alarm company saying that a fire alarm had gone off at my house. Oh, crap. I called them back, and all they could tell me was that they had called the fire department and hadn't heard back. Nice. I asked them to check into things and call me back. I made a few frantic calls to get someone out to the house to look into things. ADT then called back to let me know that the fire department hadn't seen any signs of a fire, and had thus not broken into the house. I felt a little better, but ultimately I had to get on the plane without knowing the fate of my worldly goods.

The San Francisco to Seoul segment had me in business class. I'm not quite sure if international business class is inferior to domestic first class. The flight attendants may be a tad less obsequious. The chair, on the other hand, is quite amazing. (Go ahead, click on that link to see it.) It comes with 7 pages of instructions. The most notable feature is the leg rest, which comes out of the chair in La-Z-Boy-like fashion. There's also an individual video screen, which I had permanently tuned to the map channel. As I was writing a draft of this entry, we crossed the International Date Line and entered Russian airspace. (Is this such a great idea?)

I was somewhat bothered to be in the front row -- it's the dreaded lack of a seat in front of you for storage purposes -- until I discovered the seat next to me was empty. Wow. A place to pile all my junk!

So after a bit of napping, I resolved to stay wawake and try to adjust myself to Korean time. Let's see, if it's 10:45 AM there, that means it's...8:45 PM yesterday back home. Weird.

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