Made it home safely! Such a long trip. This time I went from Raleigh -> St Louis -> Los Angeles -> Melbourne and, door to door, it was about 28 hours (around 22 hours flying time).
Raleigh -> St Louis was a little tight. The flight was over an hour late (not what you want at the start of a trip like that!) and, to make things worse, the pilot messed up the approach coming into St Louis; we were within metres of touching down when he made the decision to apply thrust and try again. Thankfully the second time ’round he nailed it. I had just enough time to get off the plane, run to the next terminal (fortunately very close) and board. Amazingly my baggage also made it…
St Louis -> Los Angeles was one of the best flights I’ve had. I had scored an exit row seat and, even better, the whole row was empty. So much better when you can spread out!
I got a crappy seat on the LA -> Melbourne flight though. 59C. One seat behind the exit row, right opposite the galley but the worst part was that my footwell space was halved due to some part of the entertainment system sharing the space. I’m not tall but I have size 11 feet and I couldn’t fit them both in there at the same time. The positives were that the QANTAS staff were friendly, food was better than average for plane fare and the entertainment system worked flawlessly – a first in my experience.
I had used SeatGuru to select decent seats for the domestic US flights but, because it was international, I wasn’t able to choose the seat for the final leg. SeatGuru is highly recommended, take a look at it before you travel next and request the ‘green’ seats if you have the chance.
I watched just one movie, Into The Wild, during the LA->Melbourne leg. Really enjoyed it. Directed by Sean Penn and with superb acting all round – particularly from the primary actor Emile Hirsch – it tells the real tale of Christopher McCandless who abandoned his regular life to hike to Alaska and live in the wilderness. Somewhat slow in parts (2 1/2 hours long!) it was nonetheless a touching tale. 4/5.
Looking forward to catching up with you all when jetlag wears off!