Tuesday, April 10, 2012

There's an elevator to the US Mainland?

This sign greets travelers as they exit US Customs in Honolulu, Hawaii.  If I had known about the elevator, I wouldn't have sat in four different airplanes for 20 hours.  Why don't they tell you about these things?

It is 5:14 AM and I am in the throes of jet lag.  I got about four hours of sleep in, but was wide awake at 2:30 AM.  Four hours is enough to get me through the work day.  The real challenge will be to stay awake into the late evening.

My flights were uneventful.  The flight from Saipan to Guam was packed, but thankfully short.  I ran into John Weller and Michael Ramsey in the Guam airport, and they gave me a sneak peek at a movie they just wrapped filming.  More on that in future posts, possibly.

The flight from Guam to Hawaii was also packed, but I managed to score a row with three empty seats.  Hello, nap time.  Did I mention my flight out of Saipan left at 4:50 AM and that I hadn't slept?  Yes, sleep was good.  I woke up just in time for the Guam to Hawaii mid-flight snack.  Rock solid ice cream sandwiches are the best part of that route.

In Hawaii, transit passengers have to go through US Customs, leave the secure area of the airport, and go through TSA screening again.  Why this is necessary coming from Guam is an affront to freedom, but never mind.  As I was getting in line at security I heard the announcement, "Now boarding all rows for United flight 2 to Houston."  While I was putting my belongings through the x-ray machine, the announcement changed to, "Final call for United flight 2 to Houston."  Dang it.  I was hungry.  I wasn't going to be able to get airport food.  And the Honolulu to Houston flight is a domestic flight, so I was going to have to pay for gross airplane food.  Bummer.

I rushed to my gate, and as I handed my boarding pass to the gate agent, he handed me back a different boarding pass.  Seat 5L.  Business class upgrade!  Thank you!

Flying business class is a completely different experience from flying coach.  They offer you drinks as soon as you sit down, dinner is served like you were in a restaurant, with drinks and several courses, and at the end of the meal, they bring out the dessert cart.  A cart of desserts!  On an airplane!  After I ate my hot fudge sunday with strawberries, whipped cream, and a cherry on top, I read some, watched a movie, and then took another nap.

Before I knew it I was in Houston, then I was on a plane to Dulles Airport, then a taxi to my house, and then I was in a hot shower.  It was an amazing five week trip, but it feels good to be back.

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