August 4, 2011

An Australian Girl In America: Flying High

So we fly to Los Angeles on Sunday night and head straight to our friend Jack's 30th* birthday party. By the time we got to bed it was a conservative 12pm Los Angeles time, but 4am New York time, and I was delirious with exhaustion (and, er, alcohol).

The next day our flight was scheduled to leave at 10.15pm, by which time I was already about four hours past my need to crash*.

We arrived at LAX nice and early for our flight, and attempted to check in with V Australia at Terminal 1. The man behind the counter (labelled with 'Warning: This area contains carcinogenic chemicals' - you know, as it does...) cheerily told us the flight had been cancelled and that we must proceed to Air New Zealand in Terminal 2.

Well, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 may only be adjacent, but they are bloody big terminals, and it was the equivalent of shlepping two ginormous suitcases from Sydney to Newcastle***.

We waited in line at Air New Zealand and were finally served by another man behind another counter which apparently also contained carcinogenic chemicals. He didn't seem fussed by the cancer risk, but he also didn't seem to have any idea where we could sit on the replacement flight or indeed if we were sitting at all.

And then it became a flat bed.....
After protracted exchanges, a clever-looking man in a dapper beard and a 'Team Leader' badge approached and I clung to him like a woman on a trek from Sydney to Newcastle clings to her water bottle.

'Please help to sort this out,' I begged him. 'I'm tired and I need to go home to my kids.'

And then I wept, just a little.

Within five minutes we were all sorted, we were seated on the 11.30pm flight to Sydney, and we were in Business Class, and I hugged my Team Leader like he was Simon Baker. He seemed unfussed.

We started boarding the plane at 10.30pm, except it wasn't a plane, it was a bus driving us to the plane, and I swear it took so long to get there I thought we were actually driving to Australia (though perhaps a ferry would take us over the troublesome water bit).

We finally boarded the actual plane at about 11.15pm, and then sat there for quite a while, during which time I delightedly (and deliriously) examined my Business Class box of goodies, which included cosmetics, toothbrush, eye mask, and some rather fashion-forward candy striped socks.
At 12.15pm we finally took off. I tossed back my complimentary champagne, donned my candy striped socks, converted my enormous seat into a flat bed, slipped on my eye mask, and cuddled under my doona like the Business Class princess I was.

I slept soundly for a bit, then stumbled out in a confused haze to go to the toilet (which was spacious and smelled like roses).

'Can you sell me the dime?' I slurred to the nearest flight attendant.

He looked at his watch. 'It's 2.20am,' he told me.

'Oh, tho we've been in de air for doo hours?' I asked.

'No,' he said carefully, clearly making a mental note not to serve me more alcohol. 'We've been in the air for nine hours.'

And suddenly, I was wide awake and happy as Larry****.

I spent the rest of the flight watching movies (Morning Glory, which was hilarious, and Black Swan, which most definitely was not), eating every course of the magnificent breakfast, and generally feeling delighted.

And we landed in Sydney, where we caught a cab back home to a beautiful Welcome Home sign from my kids, and real life began once more.

And it isn't Business Class. But it's mine.

*using '30th' in the sense of '50th'.
**'crash' as in 'sleep'; not crash as in 'plane crash', I would never have a need for that.
***okay, so perhaps not that bad, but I was exhausted and hungover and really cranky, and it felt very long.
****or at least, happy as my husband, who looked pretty damn comfortable in his flat bed.


  1. Business Class. How devine! But even more devine to be able to hug your kids again. Welcome home Kerri x

  2. Welcome home, hon. You made it! 

    I've been keeping up with your posts. Loved the shoe box...I mean, room in NY. ;)

    Hubby and I were upgraded once to Bus Class many years ago. The lady behind the counter was so dumbfounded as to why we were allocated a BC seat with super-cheap Economy tickets, she triple checked then called her Manager to confirm. She obviously thought we were not worthy at all...which was probably true. We only got the upgrade at the time cos Hubby's cousin had a great relationship with Qantas and asked them for a favour. Lucky. 

    We were paid back though. Peter Cousins - you know...the musical theatre dude - and his kids were seated behind us (we were heading to London), and they were noisy and kept pulling on the back of our seats to get up. Not Peter...just his kids. We didn't have kids at the time ourselves, and since then, I've been paranoid about the boys doing that because IT'S REALLY ANNOYING. 

    AND it was the day before flat beds. Bummer.

    Lucky you. 

    BTW - what did you get me? Let's catch up soon so you can give it all to me, okay? Okay then. Bless.

  3. So THAT'S what it looks like....WOW!

  4. Gee, if that's Business Class, then what's First Class like then?? Welcome home, matey. xx

  5. All your gifts are here. I'm just... er... wearing them...

  6. Way to go, kiddo. Way to come back, as well.....  ;-)

  7. Oh I was upgraded many times in a previous life, which involved copious amounts of travel writing. It has spoiled me for life.
    Thanks for sharing the upgrade secret - tears I can do.
    Welcome home xo

  8. So, I have my flight screwed up and get bumped to the next day and charged double the fare. And I cried too. What is your secret? Please,

  9. After spending 14 hours from LAX to Melb squashed between two friends, I am soooo jealous.

  10. My (doctor) sister got upgraded to Business once between Melbourne and Heathrow. First she had to save someone's life by performing an emergency tracheotomy with a biro though. What did YOU do??

    Welcome back babe :) xxx

  11. Tears. Must remember that next time.  Amazing experience... and pardon... did you say NINE HOURS SLEEP! Unheard of...

  12. Oh I so wish we could get an upgrade on our way to Rome.  I am going to try everything I can ... tears, bribes, flashing ...


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