Long Haul Flight Newbie

By Cher Cabula-Mendoza - Saturday, November 03, 2018

US 2018 Trip Diary Post 001

It’s been a month or so since we’ve gotten back from the US and between setting up a new business and getting work done in between, it’s been frantically busy since we’ve gotten back. So forgive me dear readers if I haven’t really gotten around to blogging about my US trip. Now that it’s a long weekend and I’ve successfully gotten ahead of my to-do list, I finally have some time alone to sit with my coffee, my laptop and just type away. So here goes...

Me and my hypothyroid puffy face

Before July of this year, the only trips I’ve taken out of the country are to Hong Kong and Singapore. Those are really short flights and I’ve never really experienced a long haul flight before. Our trip to the US had us flying for more than 14 hours straight and back then I could only imagine how being in an airplane for that long felt like. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that I would get the opportunity to take a trip to the US but life really can surprise you huh?

They keep saying we have the worst airport in the world but I was really liking the nice coffer ceilings.

We were in the US for more than 2 months, so you can just imagine the packing frenzy I went through. Not only was I packing for myself, I was also packing my husband’s suitcase as well. More importantly, I wasn’t going on a 2 month-long trip without my precious art materials. I had planned to get so much art pieces done to make up for all the months I stopped.

We didn’t book a straight flight because that would be overkill but we chose the one with a 3 hour stopover at Korea and while there, I didn’t even notice the time whizzing by.

Incheon airport was beautiful and it was filled with a LOT of shops including the ones selling Korean cosmetics which are taking the world by storm. I didn’t make any purchase yet because I figured I could buy some on the way back home.

We ate an early dinner here with soups that we don’t know the names of. That was the problem here, there weren’t enough English translations and it wasn’t a smooth sailing pass through. By the time we were back in the plane again, I couldn’t wait to settle in for the long flight.

I did learn a lot from my first long haul flight, check them out:

· Wear ultra comfy clothes. Something that you can see yourself lounging around in at home and binge-watching Netflix.
· Wear compression socks. You will be sitting for long hours and that tiny cramped space is no good for the veins in your legs. For fear of varicose veins, I bought myself a pair.
· Make it a point to move around. Your muscles will thank you even if you walk just a few minutes up and down the aisle. This will get the blood in your legs circulating and prevent cramps.
· If it’s not a health risk, take a sleeping pill. They will pull down the shades and dim all the lights inside the passenger cabin to simulate the sensation of night time and force you to sleep even if your body is screaming wide awake. Trust me, since you’ll be going somewhere with a different timezone, the sooner your body adjusts, the better your adjustment to jetlag will be.
· Bring a book or a kindle to read. Yes, there’s some inflight entertainment available to you but if you cannot choose a movie to watch, read a book instead.
· Bring only the essentials in your carry-on bag. I made the mistake of thinking that I could paint or doodle while I was on board the plane but since it was dark and I didn’t want to bother anyone sleeping beside me, I wasn’t able to bring out my art stuff from my bag and they only added extra weight to my shoulders that tired me out more quickly.
· Hydrate. Yes, you’ll be going to the restroom more often but it will save you from getting an unnecessary headache.
· Have the sense not to sit close to the restrooms. Trust me, I couldn’t get that much sleep because the light turns on every time someone needs to use the restroom. Check in early (or days before) so that you can have your pick of the seats.
· Choose a connecting flight that has ample time in between to compensate for flight delays.

We flew on the ASEANA A380 Airbus and it was pretty good. The inflight meals were pretty tasty. I had the bibimbap and the cutleries were really different, an upgrade from the cheap plastic spoon and fork that I was used to. The seats were also enough to accommodate large passengers like my 6’1” husband, which was a relief. They also gave us small pillows, blankets and slippers to make us more comfortable during the flight.

Long haul flights aren’t easy to endure especially for beginners and they can be really tiring but with the right companions and some positive attitude, they can be fun. We arrived in LA close to evening and the moment we breathe that LA air, you can tell the difference, that you’re not in ASIA anymore.

What’s next? The first meal I had in the US.

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