Friday, January 18, 2019

Away for the holidays - Brisbane to Vancouver - 1

There's no doubt about it, traveling is stressful.  Usually, we have someone take us to the airport, but the last time we orders a chauffeur service and it was so good, we did the same this time.

One good thing, or bad depending on your attitude to hanging around airports, is that they get you to the airport with plenty of time to get what needs to be done, then get an overly expensive coffee and sandwich while you de-stress before getting on the plane.

Of course, if the departure is delayed then the stress levels start to ramp up again, but for us this time, so far the plane will be leaving on time.

Also, this time, it is a first to be flying China Eastern Airlines, but not the first time in an Airbus A330-200, specifically an A332.  The plane took on passengers very quickly and what seemed to be a much more organized manner.

Then, without much fuss, we're pushing back, and on our way.  Unusual for Brisbane airport where long taxiing to the start of the runway is normal we seemed to be on the runway the moment we left the stand.  Equally unusual, we left on time.

Something I didn't realize about the A330 is it has the same characteristics as the A380 in that there is not a lot of noise when it takes off, that is from inside the plane.  Perhaps that was what was so surprising about the take-off, no exceeding loud howl from the engines ramping up to take off.  Of course, if you are down the back of the plane it is noisier, if not noisier than most small jet takeoffs.

Inside the front, the take off to cruising speed was very smooth, and in flight, equally so, and so far, four hours into the flight, there's been no real turbulence.

As for seating in Economy, we are in a two-four-two arrangement and I'm sitting in an aisle seat down the right side of the plane, facing forward.  I'm not sure what the seat pitch is but it is almost enough to not make you feel like a sardine when the seat in front is reclined, but I can assure you the passenger will feel the full effect if I have to get out of my seat, and I will not be sorry if I wake them.

The seat itself is reasonably comfortable, but I doubt sleeping in it would leave me in any shape at the other end, especially when I have difficulty sitting for any length of time.  With old age comes the usual back problems and airline seats and bad backs are a bad combination.

For entertainment, which I rarely use, there is a large screen, and I have it on the flight tracker and follow the plane.  Of course, you sometimes get fixated on the time to destination, which on long flights can seem like an eternity.

What I hate especially about these timers is that before you go to asleep or nod off depending on how much of a light a sleeper you are, it says 12 hours 45 minutes, and when you wake up bleary-eyed, it says 12 hours and 25 minutes.

And then you can't go back to sleep.

Let's see how this goes.

Ok, so that was a prophetic statement I just made because the PA system just announced that we are experiencing some turbulence.  The plane as I suspected has ridden it well.

Plaudits, so far, to Airbus.

There are numerous areas where we fly through varying degrees of turbulence but for the best part of the flight, it is very smooth.  Somewhere around 3 hours and 20 minutes to go, I drift off for short nap and when I wake up, it was only for about 50 minutes.

Looking at the flight map it seems very odd because we seem to be heading anywhere but Shanghai.  I guess we'll have to wait and see where we finish up.  At the moment we are over the South China Sea, so let's hope President Trump doesn't decide to take on the Chinese navy while we are up here.

We survive, today.

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