Everyone thinks of flying across the world, but what about actually doing it? How long does it take? How is the flight? Can I stand that distance in economy?
Flying across the world is no easy task; yet, it’s easier these days. When I say it isn’t easy I’m talking about the countless hours you will spend sitting in cramped quarters with the constant sound of engines.
As for the amount of time, it takes roughly 24 almost 25 hours depending on the route you take. And yes… you can do it in economy! You may hurt by the end, but you have to get up and walk around during the flight. That’s the only way.
I decided to screw myself over a bit when I booked an 8 AM flight. At first, I thought it was perfect. I would get in to Thailand at 9 PM the next day. Perfect for passing out in the hotel once I get there. What I forgot was that I lived 2 hours away from the airport and had to be there 3 hours early. Yeah… that part wasn’t fun.
Fortunately, my parents woke up and made the early drive with me. I’m grateful they did, because I wouldn’t have been able to drive with how sick I was feeling. I felt nauseous, my allergies were going haywire, aches and pains, and I couldn’t breathe. Dad said it was a panic attack. He was partially right, but the cough and sore throat made me realize it was something more, and I wasn’t going to start the trip off right.
To be honest, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make the flight I was feeling so awful. My parents made sure to stay until I got through security and checked in on me. It took a while, but eventually after some medicine and Powerade I started to feel better.
Before all of this getting sick started, the prior day I was already having fun with nothing working right. My tickets seemed impossible to obtain, I couldn’t get my music to work right. My luggage was too heavy. I could barely get the energy to get everything done that I needed to. I felt disparate and to be honest, I partially didn’t want to leave.
I’ve always been one for adventures, but it’s finally hit me that this is going to be a far longer adventure than I imagined. This isn’t going over to Europe for a month; a continent where I feel completely at ease. No… This is a foreign continent where I’m not used to their customs. It’s close to a third world country. I’ve heard a bit about them, but that was long ago back in grade school. Besides, it was the Asian countries. I know it’s sad, but I never really cared for them.
One of the things I’ve learned so far is to never book through Priceline. I’ve always booked through Expedia, and I found a cheaper deal through Priceline so I decided to go with it. Wrong decision! It’s almost impossible to get the tickets, and I seem to have to update them at every single stop. You don’t get all of your good tickets at the beginning.
I tried to check-in early online with Virgin America like it said to do, and I was required to go to the check-in desk at the airport to see customer service. When I saw that, I got a bit nervous. They’re going to say something went wrong. Maybe they overbooked the flight. I had no clue, but it wasn’t helping my nerves.
When I got there, the lady handed me three tickets: 1 for Virgin America and 2 for China Eastern Airlines. I thought, “Okay, cool. I’ve got all my tickets. I’m set.”
Come to find out that when I landed in San Francisco, I had to switch terminals, check-in with China Eastern Airlines, get new tickets, go through security to get back in to the airport, and then find the gate. I understand switching terminals. That’s perfectly fine, but having to get new tickets and check-in again was completely different. Going in and out is going to get old.
I just hope I don’t have to do it for my stop in China to Bangkok. Of course, I will. I’ll most likely miss my flight. Think of it this way. You have to go through customs because you’re entering a new country, get new tickets, check-in, go through security, and find your new gate all in less than an hour and a half. Yeah… This might be one of those times I buy a new ticket.
I feel bad for the people I’m sitting next to. I keep coughing and we’re in tight quarters. Fortunately, I’ve had pleasant people so far.
Flight to Shanghai
For the 14-hour flight to China, I sat next to a Chinese man who works over in Japan for Nikon as one of their engineers. He flies quite often, so he was used to the long hours but still found it difficult. I was grateful he spoke English and helped translate, because I couldn’t understand the Chinese flight attendants.
One neat thing he did mention is a tip he’s learned from traveling. If you’re going to Japan places besides Tokyo or Okawa, fly into China first and then to the one closest to your destination. Japan has an expensive airline tax. He was heading to the southern part of Japan. At first, he was going to head in to Tokyo then fly to the southern airport. This would’ve cost him about $2300 in taxes (at least that what he was saying, but it might include flight ticket). He was having to pay two airline taxes. To combat this, he flew into Shanghai and then will fly to the southern airport. It cost him $1300 which is about half of what he was going to originally pay.
Who knows? Maybe you can spend a day or two in China on your way to Japan? It’s definitely a lot cheaper and breaks up the flight time.
It’s funny. We got talking about different cultures and even he admitted the Chinese are rude. They’re a different culture. To them, this is the way they grew up and that’s all they know. They have the opposite problem of what our generations have in the United States. The older Chinese generation are extremely rude and demand everything while the younger generation is hard working and respectful.
I saw this on the plane very quickly. The older generation were also loud compared to everyone else. There were a couple ladies who seemed to think everything was for their personal use. One of them stood almost the entire flight staring out the window behind my seat and leaning on it watching me and my video screen. Another lady was a handful as well.
This other lady decided to stand up just as the plane’s wheels were touching the ground. The flight attendant behind me started screaming in Chinese. My first reaction was something went wrong with the plane, and I didn’t know what it was. She was yelling at the lady to sit down. The lady did, and then proceeded to stand up again which in turn made the lady yell once more. She continued doing this and one time she even stood up, looked at the lady, and was waiting for her to say something. This woman didn’t give a shit about anything.
We weren’t even stopped and the older Chinese people started to unload their luggage from the top compartments. They really didn’t care about anything. No rules. No space. No respect. Yet, I thought their whole culture was about respect. Guess not.
One positive thing the man said was that Thai people are extremely sweet. The country is gorgeous, clean, and pretty safe from the times he’s visited. He said I’d have no problems walking around at night. That made me feel better.
Not gonna lie, when I saw the California beach it made me long to be on one of the famous Thai beaches. I’ve never really been a beach going person, but I may become one. I should lose a few pounds, but… ah, who cares. I’m going to go out and have fun.
That’s one thing I have to keep in mind. I know me. My work will begin to consume my time, but I’ll have to work on balancing it with other things. Who knows? Since things seem to be a bit cheaper over there I might get pampered a bit more. God, the massages would be nice.
Since the flight to Thailand is going to be so long. I have to make sure that my circulation is good. As of right now, my legs are kind of tingling despite intense fidgeting. Part of it is leg cramps since I’ve been sitting awkwardly.
I did buy some compression socks, but now comes the fun of putting them on with pants. I might just slip them over. Not too long ago, I got up to use the restroom. I did 10 toe touches and squats to get everything flowing again. It felt amazing! I wish I could do more, but I don’t want to bother the man sleeping.
Yes, I may worry too much, but I think I might like it over in Thailand. I’m just sick and don’t have a positive outlook at the moment. Once I get over this bad boy it’ll be better, and hopefully, I don’t lose my voice. That seemed to be going earlier today.
I did meet a couple more interesting people. I think they were husband and wife, but not sure because I met them at different times. The two were from India and they seemed extremely friendly. The lady got talking to me about Houston. Some of her family lived there when Hurricane Harvey hit. One of the people was hospitalized just before the storm. They couldn’t evacuate him and he couldn’t go home. They were told their house was going to flood and everything would be gone. The woman decided to keep her husband in the hospital and stayed with him. She continued to pray and her prayers were answered. The houses on either side of hers were flooded with water and hers wasn’t even touched. It was amazing.
The Indian lady on the plane also started talking about how the tea on the plane was horrible. She complained that it didn’t taste right. I’ve learned never to touch the tea while flying. The taste is always off. But she mentioned that she always had some milk and tea with hers. It’s funny she said that since that’s the way I’ve always had it; the English style. It fits since India was under the Queen’s protection for some time.
I’m surprised she was awake. It sounded like she had been flying quite a bit since two of her children are living in the states. One of them went to college over there and decided to stay. She said it was hard to be apart from her children at first, but that’s why they visit them so often. It’s nice to see families working that far apart.
Flight to Bangkok
At the end of the flight to Shanghai, I was ready to get off and slightly afraid that I got the dreaded blood clot. I’m not sure what it was, but my body didn’t like something. When I sat up, my neck stiffened and pain shot up it and into my head. It was so sharp that I’ve never felt anything like it before. I couldn’t move, and I thought I was going to be sick right there. A few minutes passed and it started to ease up.
The next adventure was to now figure out how to get to my next flight. Go through immigration or not? Heading toward the immigration line I met a man who was going to Thailand as well. He’d been teaching there for three years and found love. He married his partner, but is now thinking about moving back to the states soon to get away from the heat here.
We waded through the changing of flights somewhat together. Fortunately, I met the man I sat next to on the plane and he told me that we didn’t have to go through immigration since we weren’t visiting China. I was so grateful. It saved me a lot of time since I still had to go through security again.
I headed to check my passport and boarding pass, but realized that I had forgotten my wallet at the immigration counter with the empty passes. I started to freak out. I had already shown the lady my ticket and was trying to get back through to go get it. She halted me and refused to let me pass. I tried to tell her I needed to get my wallet, but she couldn’t understand me. Then another lady picked up the phone and called security on me. I was fucked. I thought I was going to get arrested. In the time we spent wasting on me trying to tell them I needed to get my wallet someone could’ve stolen it easily.
She finally let me pass and my wallet was still there. Someone was watching over me. I was grateful. I showed her my wallet and she finally understood. Next came the security line. Of course, I was forced into the longest line for security.
The clock continued to tick and my flight was getting closer. My ticket said it was set for 17:45, an hour earlier than what it originally said. The time came and passed and I knew I had missed it. I just gave up. There was no point in worrying.
Security was a bitch like always, but when I checked the flight schedule I found that the time was moved back to its original departure. It made me wonder if they changed the times on the tickets to ensure people got to their flight on time. Another man said that his departure was changed on his ticket as well and he just missed his flight.
At this point I was sick and tired of everything. I just wanted to get to the hotel and sleep. I was literally sick, tired, and dirty. A nice shower was beckoning me. I needed some good medicine and lots of sleep.
To be honest, flying is becoming quite a hassle these days. I don’t remember it being this hard. You never had to check-in multiple times or get new boarding passes each time you changed a flight. Guess they’ve upped their security. I remember being able to exit the plane and head to the next gate and wait for the flight. No hassle. No going through security again. Just easy, simple, and straight forward.
When I landed in Thailand immigration wasn’t too hard to get through. They needed my passport, boarding ticket, and immigration card I got on the flight. After getting my luggage, I headed out of security and to the meeting area where I met a sweet lady who took me to my hotel. I felt bad for looking disheveled. I started sweating the moment I got off the plane, my makeup was a mess, I felt stinky, and I could barely talk. Such a great impression…
The airport parking lot was double parked. She said that they didn’t have enough room for everyone, so if you got stuck behind someone you had to push the other cars out of the way. It’s crazy to think they actually do that.
The air-conditioning in the car felt amazing. It got to feel that cool breeze for the next two hours. I felt bad that I wasn’t more talkative, but I was losing my voice and could barely breathe. She was kind enough to let me take her NyQuil, which helped drastically that night. I have to remember to get Mom and Dad to send me some more for her. They don’t have that good stuff here.
Overall, the flight to Thailand was a bitch because it took so long, but it’s worth it to finally be here. It’s an adventure. I think the next time I go back to the states, I might visit some other countries along the way to break up the flight. It sure would be easier on my legs.