Written at XX:XX AM or PM from Thai Airlines flight 911 in seat 1A:
Six hours and 30 minutes until I arrive in Bangkok. The cabin of out plane is dark; the crew is simulating night even though only 4.5 hours ago we were boarding a plane around the same time you’d grab a late breakfast. It is dark outside, and everyone around me is sleeping. According to my phone it’s 4:30PM in London; my laptop says that it’s 12:30PM on the east coast. In six hours and thirty minutes when we land it’ll be roughly 6AM in Bangkok. After continuously flying east for what I think is about 14 hours, I’m starting to feel a little bit like Amelia Earhart
I’ve always heard that the “international” airlines have a better first class service than any of the American ones. Today I was going to put that to the test – needless to say I was not disappointed.
As I walked onto the plane, an Airbus A340 with two aisles, there was a woman working the door looking at tickets to help direct you down the correct aisle for your seat. This is standard operating procedure for any larger airplane. When she looked at my ticket – stating that I was in First class, not just Business class – she immediately called over someone to greet me and take my bag. I was escorted to my seat in the first class cabin. The cabin itself seats eight people in seats that fully recline, offer massages, come with a personal entertainment center with what seemed like about 120 movies in addition to TV shows and music, and has a fold-out table that was roughly 3’ x 3’. While my United flight was a 777 with eight diagonally arranged seats (that also fully reclined) and storage for more crap than anyone could get through a poorly trained gate agent, the cabin on this flight had a much more luxurious feel. Oh, and then the man who escorted me to my seat asked me if I would like a glass of Dom Perignon champagne. “Yes!”
This one word response should ultimately serve as my life motto for the rest of the trip. (Within reason …some of these countries have a death penalty for selling drugs or transporting them into the country.) During the rest of my morning (and it was the morning to me – I had stayed awake for nearly the entire flight from DC to London finishing World War Z and listening to music so that I would be tired for this flight), I was offered and ate various cheeses, meats, breads, shrimp, duck liver pâté, wines, and caviar served with more cheese, onions, lemon, crackers, and egg whites. It was at the exact moment with the caviar when I was finally able to be as excited and dumbfounded about this trip as everyone expected me to be. Up until this point I had been doing what I’ve always done – get a visa, hop on a plane, go explore a random country or two. This was different though – as I stared at my plate of fish eggs and crackers, and then over at the person sitting across the aisle looking for something to emulate, I was overcome with a feeling of absolute emphatic happiness caused by the feeling you can only get when you realize you are a fish completely out of water. Since I didn’t want to let this feeling get to my head, I did the only thing that made sense at the time – finished my glass of Dom and asked for a refill.
Lastly, I put up more of these when I have time – I’m just in the first class lounge between flights – but here are a few pictures of this ridiculousness.