I guess all parties have to end SOME time, right?
I’m thankful that I was able to take two weeks off, but in the end, you always have to go back to work. I came back on January 4th, so I’ve been back for awhile. Before I even started the trip, I was casually talking to a coworker of mine and we realized we were going to be on the same flight together. He ended up upgrading to sit near me, and we figured we could mess with the seats when the time came near.
Landing in SFO is always a joke, especially in the morning, because you never get an open gate, you are always forced to wait on the tarmac. Oh well. Plus it was a dreary day, I was tired… I’m not really complaining, I’m just explaining as I like to say.
(That’s grape juice)
So an interesting thing happened right about then. This motley looking group of people came in and sat down a few tables away from us. I didn’t think anything of it until they passed by me again and two guys were talking to each other, talking about which camera they’re getting, where they’re going to shoot from, etc. The lounge is a great place to shoot planes from, it’s the best airside view in the airport. I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until afterwards, but I think I’m following these guys on Instagram. It sounds funny, but I follow a number of aviation pages on Instagram and I think these guys were planespotting, because United’s Charter 747 was out on the tarmac and I saw a picture of it on Instagram with the tag #KSFO so I’m pretty sure it’s these guys! Not that e-fame matters but I thought it was interesting.
Time to board! I checked the seating chart that morning and Don had moved seats for some weird reason and was across from me instead of in front of me, so when I checked the chart the seat next to him was empty. I had already checked in so I couldn’t switch seats, so I figured I’ll just sit there when I get on the plane. Sounds like a good plan right? Well we’ll see. As we walked to board the plane I heard someone call my name, and what do you know… Another coworker was on our same flight! Small world. The boarding area was uncharacteristically uncrowded, and there was no huge line waiting to board unlike two weeks prior, so we pretty much… walked on.
So originally I had a window seat across the aisle. I moved to Don’s side and wanted to keep my window seat, so we “switched” and he took the aisle and I took what was his seat next to the window. When I boarded there was someone already sitting in the seat I was supposed to sit in, who I can only assume was supposed to be my seat mate. I chalked it up to the fact that he just wanted to sit by the window, and he called someone and told them excitedly that he was sitting “upstairs” so let the guy have some fun right?
Cue who I will call “Crazy Lady.” She walks up, looks at Don’s seat (the supposedly empty one) and has this confused look on her face, so we ask where her seat was. She said Don’s seat, so we politely asked her if we could switch and she could sit in the aisle across from us in a forward facing seat. Everyone likes forward facing seats right? Her response? “Well that’s your choice, not MY choice. I didn’t choose that.” I sort of stammer out a response and she cuts me off and says “It’s fine. It’s fine. Whatever.” Off to a great start right?
Then the stewardess comes by to take our food order and calls me Mr. Stewart and calls Don by the woman’s name, so we attempt to clarify with her who was who. So I told her I wanted to sit by my friend, I was supposed to be across the aisle at the window, but switched to the other window seat, Don moved over one taking the woman’s spot, who took the other guy’s spot who took my spot. Make sense? Yeah she was confused. Don got mad at me because the lady gave him grief about taking her seat when I forced him to give me his seat, but in the end I think I did him a favor and here’s why.
We hadn’t even taken off yet when this lady tries to readjust herself in her seat and knocks her orange juice in the lap of the guy next to her. A huge fuss ensues and she’s mortified, the dude is pissed, and Don’s laughing. I told him not to laugh. The poor guy cleans himself up and they all go on their merry way. It turns out this woman is really obnoxious because she sat talking to this guy for practically the entire flight and from what I could see she was doing 99% of the talking so I’m sure he was annoyed. I would have been anyway. She was also I guess trying to flirt with the purser and bought $650 worth of junk from SkyMall Magazine and had the most obnoxious laugh I’ve ever heard in my life. The ace in the hole in this whole thing? The dude sitting next to her gets up to go to the bathroom and spills red wine on her lap. She gets pissed because “red wine is worse than orange juice” and Don laughed because well… He’s Don, and the entire time he’s talking smack about the poor woman and I had to keep telling him to shut up because she could hear him.
The captain made a big deal about Channel 9 (from the flight deck) and it has to be the coolest feature ever on United, so we made sure to listen to it. It was really cool because as we were on approach into Incheon I could see an Asiana 777 off to the side and I heard him talking to ATC. Pretty cool! Anyway so we’re listening to channel 9 and then they went into the safety video, but when the safety video ended it came back on in the middle of them talking to the tower about maintenance issues. But I need to back up a bit- we were supposed to push back at 10:45, but it got delayed because they had to load black tar heroine or something, so we push back 11:04 and disconnect from the tug. While we’re pushing back the safety video mumbo jumbo goes on. When it stops it cuts back into channel 9, and they’re talking to the tower. Basically they had *some issue* and were having trouble getting engine #2 started and weren’t able to continue through their checklist, and were calling their maintenance hanger. I turn to Don and we both had heard it, and then they immediately shut down channel 9. What a bummer. We sat waiting for a good 30 minutes until we finally moved. I was afraid we were going to have to deplane and figure something else out. Glad that didn’t happen!
A 787-8 was next to us, I think they’re cool, but I think the 777 does a better job, especially with the rollout of the 777x, plus it seats more passengers… Nonetheless, 787’s are fun to look at. The -8 was too short, I’m surprised United didn’t wait until the -9 came out….
And we’re off finally!
Don has an old friend that worked as a stewardess for a million years for United, and our stewardess knew her so her and Don were pretty chatty about it. Maybe I’ll “know Debbie Brown” and see what kind of perks it gets me on my next flight.
Peace out SF.
On to the meal, which is I guess a main part of the flight and what not. If you think about it you’re only paying for two things – the seat you sit in and the fact that it reclines, and the food. The food is supposedly curated by some famous chef, but that’s probably the funniest joke I’ve ever heard in my life. I know that the GateGourmet place makes it, along with all the food for every other flight ever, and they suck. End of story.
They start you off with nuts, and lead into the salad appetizer and a side dish of melon and chilled meat of some sort, I really can’t remember at this point. Prosciutto? Then the main course, which I choose the seafood medley, cheese and crackers, and then dessert. Dessert is probably the best part, and it’s a “create your own sundae” and it is literally, seriously amazing.
They make it so dark that everyone looks at you as if you are extremely evil if you open your shade, so I would barely poke it up, take a pic, then drop it like a hot potato so people wouldn’t get too mad. Eh, I chose a window seat for a reason, so I could, you guessed it, LOOK OUT THE WINDOW.
Then came “breakfast.”
Yogurt was good though.
We landed, went through customs, then got on the bus. I knew I was going to be tired for the 2 hr bus ride, but I didn’t know I was going to be miserable too. The bus driver decided that the best thing to do, since it was cold outside, was to set the heater at 100 degrees and roast everyone inside alive. I practically stripped all my clothes off when I got on because it was so hot, then lamented the fact that I couldn’t strip down further because I was already stripped. The air was so thick I felt I couldn’t breathe, meanwhile the man next to me STILL HAD HIS PARKA ON! Finally after an hour someone asked the bus driver to turn it down, and I instantly felt a sense of relief…
Then I got off the bus and walked a few blocks home!
Now I’m back in Korea, blog-officially!