Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Now boarding...

I just realized that I was on 8 flights this past trip to Thailand/Taiwan, one more than the 7 flights during the June trip. For some reason, the Bradley international terminal at LAX seems to be the most chaotic and disorganized out of all the airports I visited this trip. Even the little single-runway airport in Udon Thani was more orderly. On the day of departure, it took me over an hour to get my one piece of luggage scanned and check-in at the EVA Air counter. I'm not sure why but everyone seems to spend a long time at the counter. Were they haggling for seat upgrades? It only took me about three minutes to check-in and I even got aisle seats all the way to Bangkok. Waiting for the flight was crazy too. My flight to Taipei was departing at 1:20am at gate 101. For some reason, China Airlines had a flight to Taipei at 1:15am departing from gate 102. Why would you fly basically the same route 5 minutes apart? Even worse, I knew that there was also a Singapore Airlines flight from LAX to Taipei leaving at 1:05am. To make the waiting area even more crowded, there was a Korean Airlines flight to Seoul at gate 103 leaving at about the same time. Lots of people...

Picture of the waiting area taken with the Treo

View from seat 54H (it was a completely full flight)

I sat next to a 70-year old woman from Jakarta and a younger woman from Vietnam. The flight attendents kept speaking Chinese to all of us in my row even though I was the only one that could understand. I had to "translate" for the Indonesian woman (from Chinese to slow English) so much that they thought she was travelling with me. I guess on EVA Air, if you look remotely Asian, they're going to speak Chinese to you. When I flew EVA Air business class back in June, I wasn't very impressed. Well, I'm even less impressed with their economy class service. The seats were really small (34" - I should check with other airlines) and the food was not very good at all. In hindsight, maybe I should have spent $200 extra for "deluxe" economy class where the food was still bad but the seats are much wider. I ended up watching almost every movie shown and getting my customary 30 minute nap on the 13+ hour flight to Taipei. I also tried taking notes on my Treo during the flight but was told that I had to turn off PDA phones during flight. I explained patiently that I turned off the cellular/wireless radio but in the end, I had to "turn off" the Treo (it doesn't really turn off, it only goes into standby mode) to avoid getting into an argument about FAA rules with the flight attendent.

Anyway, my entire flight path this time was:
Los Angeles -> Taipei -> Bangkok
Bangkok -> Udon Thani
Udon Thani -> Bangkok -> Phuket
Phuket -> Bangkok
Bangkok -> Taipei
Taipei -> Los Angeles

Total mileage: >18,000 miles (per Google Earth)

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