Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seoul to Atlanta

I had to leave at 7 am on my last day in Seoul to get to the airport on time. Do; Fortunately, there's an express train from the station closest to my hostel that runs directly to the airport! It could have been worse than 7 am. ;oP

I always have to check in at the airport counter when returning from an overseas trip. I always seem to forget that part! It was fine, particularly since I only had carry-on luggage. I swear, half the stress I get from international travel is from checking luggage. It still takes me a while to figure out where and when I need to re-check my luggage. -____-" I might only take carry-ons from now on!

I had two layovers on the return flight, one through Tokyo's Narita Airport and the other through Detroit again. I have never been to Japan, so I guess I can say I've been there, technically speaking. I had a fabulous seat assignment from Seoul to Tokyo and from Tokyo to Detroit - all thanks to my friend at Delta!

Funny story about my time in Tokyo's Narita Airport: Once I arrived in Tokyo, I made my way through security to the appropriate gate for my flight from Tokyo to Detroit. I got extremely lucky with security in two ways: (1) The line was split between economy passengers and premier passengers. The economy line was ridiculously long and comprised of older mainland Chinese tourists who surely do not travel often, so they would take longer getting through security because they are unfamiliar with the procedures. I told one of the employees that I was on a standby ticket, and he allowed me to go through the premier passenger security line, which was significantly shorter. Score! (2) When my carry-ons went through the scanner, I was stopped and asked to open my purse. The female employee specifically wanted to see my manicure set, in particular the small scissors within. OMG, these scissors were a replacement for the scissors that were confiscated from the Cairns Airport (Queensland, Australia) from last year's trip to Australia. I was relieved to see that they weren't confiscating them nor anything else from the manicure set. :oD I've never had any issues with this set going through airport security  - I take it everywhere! Cairns was the only bump in the road. I was glad I didn't have to worry about Tokyo. This manicure set was given to me by my paternal grandmother a number of years ago; she passed away earlier this year, so it has extra meaning to me now.

Another short story about my time in Tokyo's Narita Airport: I fell asleep at the gate! I didn't set an alarm or ask anyone to wake me up - I just thought I would take a short nap. O_o Fortunately, !!!!, I woke up exactly when the plane was boarding. Since I was flying standby, I needed to get a seat assignment from the gate agent. So, I hightailed it to the gate agent, got my seat assignment, and boarded. PHEW!!

One last story, this time about the in-flight food menu. So, we had a Japanese selection and a Western selection for dinner. I could not figure out which one I wanted. The Japanese selection had several interesting seafood appetizers but chicken as the main entree while the Western selection had okay-sounding appetizers with a few main entree options, one of which was red snapper. I waffled a bit and decided to order the snapper. Unfortunately, by the time I decided to place my order, the red snapper had been snapped up (pun intended). I was resigned to getting the beef tenderloin entree until my seat partner spoke up. As soon as we got situated in our seats, he was ready to knock out and go to sleep, so I was surprised to hear him say something. [To be completely honest, I had already overheard him order the snapper but with the caveat that, if he were sleeping at dinnertime, he should not be disturbed and the snapper should be given to someone else.] But, just as a reminder, I was going to go with the beef tenderloin instead. He freely offered his snapper to me, which I accepted. And, yes, he did end up sleeping through dinner service. He was an older gentleman who, I gathered, had been awake for most of his business travels, so he was in desperate need of sleep. He was also kind enough to get my luggage out of the overhead bin for me when we landed in Detroit.

The flight from Detroit to Atlanta was full, so I got bumped to the next outbound flight, which was two hours later. I was so fortunate to get on the plane; that flight allowed me to get home at a semi-decent hour. PLUS, even though I was randomly assigned an economy seat in the last row of the plane, there was no one sitting in the middle seat. Ha! Someone was watching over me throughout all my flights, I swear. So lucky!

I'm glad to be back in Atlanta! I did have jet lag on my return - it's always worse coming back from, rather than going to, my destination. I wouldn't have it any other way, really. I'm so grateful for my friend at Delta who allowed me to have the best flight experience ever! I've never felt so spoiled. :oD And an even bigger thanks to my sister for showing me around Seoul amid her hectic school schedule and without the use of a phone for communicating! I rediscovered what life was like pre-cell phone. :oD Hope you enjoyed the stories and pictures!

 Incheon Airport

Aisle seat from Seoul to Tokyo; empty window seat beside me and empty seat behind me during the flight

Dak Galbi - Roasted chicken thigh with assorted vegetables and steamed rice

New York Cheesecake with blueberry sauce 

Gate at Tokyo's Narita Airport

Window seat from Tokyo to Detroit. The seat does not lie flat but the head reclines significantly and the feet can come up.

Top: Butter (L), Cream of onion soup (R)
Bottom: Tofu spring roll and salmon 

Fresh Mesclun Salad with sweet peppers, radishes, and walnuts 

Red Snapper with tarragon cream sauce, sauteed vegetables, and penne pasta with creamed mushrooms 

Chocolate tart 

I know it's blurry. :o\ Sorry!
Spinach and feta cheese omelet with pork sausage, potato cake, and grilled tomato and seasonal fresh fruit 

Can someone please tell me how parents can afford to get these seats for their families? I'd love to know! Or maybe they have friends at Delta, too. :o)

Flying over Detroit 

At the gate in Atlanta 

International trip for the year 2012, done! :oD

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