Saturday, August 30

The Plane Left on Time

The van picked us up on time at 8:00 AM on 26 August. We had plenty of time to check our baggage even with all the new security measures at DFW airport. Both Debby and Matthew were wearing "tennis shoes," so they were required to remove their shoes before being able to advance through security. The security guards were professional and friendly and did their work with dispatch. Even after making it through security, we still had about an hour left before boarding began. I love traveling, but don't care at all for airports. I don't like the fact that they are so large and it is usually necessary to drag bags around in order to keep them from being lost. Some of that has changed, but I still don't like airports. As it turned out, however, our departure gate was just across from the security gate, so dragging "carry-on" luggage around the airport was not an least not in Dallas.

But The Power Port Was Not Where They Told Me
American Airlines moved us from the seats we originally picked to this row because this row supposedly had power ports. That would give me the opportunity to work on my laptop during the flight. This row did not have the power ports, however. But there was an extra one in the row behind me, so the gentleman that would normally have been using it was kind enough to allow me to stretch my power adapter all the way back to his seat. As a result of his kindness I've been able to get a good bit of study and other preparation done while on the plane. As I write, we have been on the plane for about nine hours and are just about to cross the international date line into tomorrow, just east of the Kamchatka peninsula. Mrs Bacon has been able to get a little more sleep this trip than the last. One reason for that is that this trip has been a little bumpier and so she has taken some Dramamine (or its generic equivalent).

How to Buy Five Seats for Three People

The key is not to be on a "full flight." And that is completely outside the control of the consumer, of course. Our 777 had about 40 or so unsold seats in economy class. The seating in economy class is two seats port, five seats amidship, and two seats starboard in each row. The seats are designated AB, CDEFG, HJ. We reserved seats C, E, and G. On a full flight, someone would have been willing to accept the singles left between us. But on a flight with 40 unsold seats, the likelihood is quite high that nobody will want the two seats designated D and F. That is not a certainty, of course, but it worked for us on this first leg. I've done nearly the same thing on the next leg -- Tokyo to Bangkok. If there are a similar number of unsold seats, then we will have a little extra space for spreading out. If the flight is sold out, well, perhaps we can talk the other passengers into "trading seats" so we can sit together. And that is exactly what happened on the United leg from Tokyo to Bangkok.

I Woke Up Over Danang

An American Airlines attendant met us with a wheelchair for Mrs Bacon when we came into Tokyo. He then managed to set a new land speed record getting us to the United transfer desk. I thanked him after I caught my breath, but by that time he may have been miles away. United was also very kind to Mrs Bacon (she may be the first person to travel half way around the world without having to take more than 10 steps). They used a special bus to allow her to ride to the aircraft (it loaded from the tarmac rather than via jetway), then the bus actually rose in the air and the door opened to form a gangplank onto the aircraft. Coming off the aircraft in Bangkok (where I am writing this paragraph) was a similar experience. But this time the aircraft actually used a jetway so it was not necessary for her to have the special bus. Still there was an attendant who met us at the gate with a wheelchair and took us all the way to the Thai Airways transfer desk. At some point subsequent to that a Thai Air attendant came by with a wheelchair and left it parked next to us for Mrs Bacon to use to get to the aircraft tomorrow. I hope he will also return and show us where the elevator is, because I'm sure our flight will leave from one of the lower level gates (it always does). I had a fairly upset stomach while in Tokyo, I think as much from sleep deprivation as anything else. I slept most of the trip from Tokyo to Bangkok and did not actually wake up over water at all. That seemed to help. When I woke up I was refreshed and my stomach was no longer upset. But I also do not have my days and night reversed yet, so here I sit at 2:30 AM local time feeling like it is mid-afternoon -- which, of course, it is in Dallas.

Bangkok Airport Is Basically One Large Duty Free Shop
Bangkok, Thailand is the SE Asia hub for most of the airlines that service this area. It is very busy during the day and at night those travellers who have been stranded sleep against walls or in "day rooms" that cost dearly. Or some of us go to the airport restaurant and plug the laptop in to charge the battery and wait in nice cushioned chairs and drink Nescafe all night. But for those who love to shop, the second level is just basically one long duty free shop selling mostly Scotch whiskey and cigarettes. Of course, there are also the dried food stands, the internet cafes, and the espresso shops. Bangkok may not be Vanity Fair, but it gives VF a run for the money.


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