31 hours. I don't think I have ever done anything for 31 hours straight before, and yet my trip from Detroit to Darwin took just over 31 hours. And that's just from the time my flight took off in Detroit, not including the 2 hours I was at the airport prior. Needless to say, it was a grueling journey. Each flight served a meal, or two, or three. And each flight had such a constant flow of snacks and drinks that it's no wonder airfare is so expensive. On each leg I had a window seat. The first I sat next to an adorable, kicking 3-year old girl. The second I sat next to a quiet, drowsy middle-aged man. The third I sat with an empty seat in the middle. Some highlights of the journey:
- The flight attendant almost had to kick a Detroit man off the plane because the flight was overbooked, there were too many people who purchased Comfort seats and not enough Comfort seats to go around. Because one of the men had health problems that made it crucial that he sit in the aisle, another man had to move to the middle seat of another row. He was not budging, and the flight attendant just kept smiling and pointing to the new seat.
- My dinner in LA (a burger, fries, and a glass of wine) cost me $34. It was delicious.
- About 2 hours into our flight across the Pacific, there was an announcement, "All medical professionals or doctors please make yourself known to a flight attendant right now." Unfortunately it was too awkward for me to stare, twisting and turning to see around about six rows of people behind me, but someone needed medical attention. Luckily everything must have turned out ok because there was no emergency landing in the middle of the ocean.
- The options for dinner included a "stuffed" chicken breast with mashed potatoes or ravioli. I asked what was in the ravioli, and the man said kale in the ravioli, cheese in the chicken. So I went for the chicken. He was wrong.
- We landed 30 minutes early in Sydney--yay!
- In the 1 hour and 20 minutes that I had to make my connecting flight, I barely made it through customs because the camera did not recognize my face with my passport. My luggage was next to the last 6 coming off the plane. I raced around the (unbeknownst to me) wrong terminal for 15 minutes before finding someone who could help me find Virgin Australia. She pointed me down the stairs and said "go out the door and you basically go into another door to a new building--you need to be in the domestic terminal. You are in the international one." Once outside, there was nothing in sight. Eventually some men told me to keep walking and the terminal would be on my left. 5 minutes later when I still hadn't found any sign of a building on my left, I asked another man who told me I needed to buy a bus ticket. I thought he was joking and that he thought I was going into the city. Nope. I did indeed need to buy a $6 bus ticket to go to the domestic terminal. Once finally arriving there, with my two suitcases and two carry-on bags dragging behind me, the line at the ticket counter was a mile long AND the computer check-in told me my flight was closed for check-in. A wonderful, beautiful, kind Australian, Virgin Australia Airlines worker guided me right to the front of the line where I got my boarding pass and entered another mile long security line. Upon finally making it through the metal detector, all of my things were clumsily shoved in my hands, and I was ready to race to my gate. 15 minutes until take off. But this beeping sound starting going off and apparently that is sign for random explosives checks. And guess who was chosen? Yours truly. The security guy kept asking me if I wanted to put my things in my bag and I kept making it very clear that I was about to miss my flight. Only after checking me for explosives did he give me directions to my gate, where I made it on the plane, the last passenger to board, with nearly 5 minutes to spare.
- On this last 4-hour leg of my journey, I ate a pumpkin, spinach quiche on the plane with a side of apricot yogurt.