Somewhere over the Atlantic

Trip Start May 12, 2009
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Trip End May 24, 2009


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Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We got our 7am wake up call, cleaned up, checked out of the Sheraton, and hopped in a cab to pick up JB and Lindsey at their hotel (The Carlton on Madison).  Our flight to Jo'burg wasn't until 11:35, but we decided it was better safe than sorry, so we left for the airport at 8:00.  There was very little traffic and before we knew it we were at the airport.  JB, being the noob that he is, told the driver to take us to the international terminal.  It was quite entertaining to see the puzzling look the driver gave to JB since there are 7 international terminals at JFK.  Luckily for us, SAA leaves out of terminal 4 which is the newest and greatest terminal.  Check in was a breeze and we found out the flight would be empty.  

We proceeded downstairs to have some Au Bon Pain breakfast.  Amy and I got a croissant, yogurt, water, and coffee.  This was our most expensive breakfast of the trip at $11.  Afterward we did a little duty free shopping, and then proceeded to the security line.  There were 2 flights taking off around this time.  The SAA flight to Jo'burg and the El Al flight to Tel Aviv.  This was not the best combination of flights as it was a competition to see which plane would have the stronger body odor.  Of course we picked the wrong line through security as we got stuck behind a family of 9 (with kids ranging in age of 0 to 3).  The Amazing Race jokes were flowing at this point, which kept us entertained.  

Once at the gate, JB and I decided to see what we can pull to try to get business class tickets (yes, we were those guys).  We tried the "we are on our honeymoon" and the "we have lots of miles," but to no avail.  The lady told us we could spend $1050 per ticket to upgrade.  Turns out that this was the best thing to happen to us.  We boarded the plane and just about every row of the middle section was empty.  Our Airbus 340 was a 2-4-2 configuration, so Amy and JB snagged 2 rows of the 4 seats.  This allowed even JB, the gentle (or is it gentile) giant, to stretch his legs out.  

The plane took off on time, and before we knew it we were looking at nothing but ocean for the next 13 hours (14.5 hours of total flight time). I had been dreading this flight since we booked the trip.  Before this, the 8 hour flight from Chicago to Maui had been my longest.  However, South African Airways (SAA) is a little bit more comfortable than American Airlines, so the flight wasn't bad at all.  An hour into the flight they were already passing out lunch/dinner.  The choice was chicken or beef (sorry vegetarians, South Africa isn't very nice to your kind).  Three of us ordered the chicken and JB went with the beef (he loves the beef).  All were very good for airplane food. 

The on-demand in-flight entertainment was pretty good.  The movies were different than those that were listed in the magazine, but we had a choice of about 8 new to dvd films, 20 older films, tv shows, music, and games.  I wasn't ready to watch a movie yet, and I didn't want to turn on my ipod as I didn't have enough juice to last the whole trip, so I listened to the new Brittany Spears album provided by SAA (Womanizer and Circus certainly do get stuck in your head).  At this point the excitement is wearing down, and we are still 13 hours to our destination.  We each decide to start a movie.  Amy selected Madagascar 2 to prepare for Africa.  Lindsey tackled the epic Australia since she had a lot of time to kill.  JB puts on Changeling, because let's be honest, who doesn't like Angelina Jolie.  And I go with Forever Strong (not to be confused with that movie that the nazi Mel Gibson made in the early 90s).  The movie was pretty good considering I had never heard of it.  It's your typical sports movie about a troubled-but talented rugby player who turns good and wins the championship and the girl.  

All of our movies ended (except for Lindsey's, who was only a third of the way through).  We gave our critiques to each other.  Amy decided Madagascar 2 was too much for her (I think the whole plane heard her laughing throughout the movie) so she decided to go to bed.  And who could blame her, it felt like it was 3 in the afternoon at this point.  I decided to watch Madagascar 2 since I wasn't in the mood for a thriller, and Amy gave it such high remarks.  JB watched another movie (neither he nor I remember what that was).  The next round of movies finished (Lindsey was now half way through Australia), and Amy was now waking up.  So we all talked for a while before calling it quits for the night.
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Where I stayed
South African Airways Seat 53A

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