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Long haul back to Hong Kong via Anchorage


View The one trip where I spent more nights on a plane than in hotels on NT01's travel map.

Flight details: CX881 J A340 Dep 2345 Arr 0215+1YYZANCDep 0335 Arr 0640ANCHKGtotal 7,796 miles

Cathay Pacific had one of the longest non-stop flights back in 1997 - the HKGYYZ sector, which was flown nonstop on an Airbus A340-200. But because returning to Hong Kong involved flying against the jetstream, they have to refuel at Anchorage [Anchorage-travel-guide-4276] (ANC). This was a flight not as pleasant because there was wailing all night from a baby in the front cabin of the economy class section, despite me being in the last row of business class (seat 17K if I recall right). That was one time I remember I was clearly awake, and having difficulty getting sleep. Was it jetlag? Maybe. But definitely the crying baby had something to do with it.

They managed to open the door in Anchorage and I recall peering out into the cold Alaskan darkness in spring. Not much to see in an airport if your plane is parked for refueling. We weren't asked to deplane anymore since we took off within an hour after landing.

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The shrove room in JFK


View The one trip where I spent more nights on a plane than in hotels on NT01's travel map.

Flight details: UA800 C 1720 1655 747-400 NRTJFK6,737 miles

This is one experience I was not particularly fond of - transiting New York without a visa (TWOV). Almost all of my routing options had to either pass through the United States and fly south to Buenos Aires. If I chose the European options, I am faced with longer connections and flights. Same thing with Malaysia Airlines, still three stopovers. So I chose the least inconvenient route (still with 3 stopovers), and the US stopover was in JFK Airport.

Since I don't technically have to clear immigration and customs in the US (since I wasn't leaving the terminal), I thought I could just hang out at the United Airlines business class lounge. But for some reason, the immigration staff did not have enough people to "accompany" me if I went around the terminal, so I was relegated to the "shrove" room. This is their euphemism for a holding area with a combination lock at the entrance/exit doors. I asked for some time to look around, and I was accompanied by a African-American gentleman who was telling me minor-horror stories at the Shrove lounge - an example mentioned was the parents (who had US visas) of a foreign born child (who was too young to have gotten a visa) were forced to stay with the baby in the shrove room, simply because the infant didn't have a visa. Period. Talk about respect for human rights, pre-9/11, eh?

But I was unflappable. I didn't complain much (since I waited only about 2 hours during my 4 hour layover), and tried to strike up a conversation with the other "guest" of the shroveroom - not sure what was his nationality but he looked like a Chinese from the mainland (or probably a Mongolian) - he couldn't speak English much, so that was it.

Finally, once the waiting time was up, it was the last leg of my one way journey, an overnight flight into Buenos Aires - or so I thought.

Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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