Boring Logistics and then: Home

Trip Start Nov 10, 2010
1
17
18
Trip End Nov 26, 2010


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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, November 25, 2010

During my list of things to be thankful for, I forgot to add safe airline flights. Duh.

At Charles De Gaulle, I have access to the Air France Business Class lounge during my six hour and 15 minute layover. Sure, I could clear immigration and then customs, find something to do with and or place to put my baggage, grab a train and head into Paris and see the Eiffel Tower again or whatever but, you know what? I am not going to do that. That's a bit of stress that I don't need. I am simply going to wait right here, take a nice hot shower and read. I have been to France twice (or is it three times?) and a whirlwind dash in and out of the City, beautiful though it is, is more than I want to attempt. What about a traffic jam? What about a wildcat train conductors' strike--as the French love to do? What about...

After arriving back home, I get to rest up until Tuesday morning when I fly to New York for a couple of days. That's Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I'll be fit as a fiddle by Tuesday. Just watch.

For those who have inquired about logistics, I think this is all correct:

Event                                       Local Time       in KC                   Elapsed Time


Arrive Mauritus Airport                 5:35pm             7:35am 11/25            0:00 hours

Flight leaves Mauritius               10:35pm           12:35pm                     5:00 hours

Flight arrives Paris                      7:35am           12:35am  11/26          17:00 hours

Flight leaves Paris                      1:50pm             7:50am                     23:25 hours

Flight arrives Detroit                    4:35pm             3:35pm                     32:10 hours

Flight leaves Detroit                    7:50pm             6:50pm                     35:35 hours

Flight arrives Kansas City            8:55pm             8:55pm                     37:40 hours

In airline parlance, in business class (and in first class where it still exists) there are "lie flat" seats and “flat bed” seats.

A “flat bed” seat is one that, when you push a button, the part beneath your behind slides forward, the part beneath your calves angles upward, the part beneath your ankles stretches downward and the part behind your back angles backward to create one long, flat, level with the floor “bed.” I have had the pleasure of sitting—or lying—in these seats on various trips abroad and they are, without exception, great. In every case where I have experienced one of these “flat bed” seats, they are angled in the cabin...not facing directly front but, instead, facing at a slight angle in the direction of the aisle. If they didn't do that, the space required between rows would be increased so much that the carrier would lose a lot of potential high dollar seat space.

The best one of those I ever sat in was on a Japan Airlines 747 from Chicago to Tokyo where I was given pajamas to change into and while I was in the double-wide toilet getting that done, the flight attendant fitted a sheet onto that seat, tucked in a top sheet and laid a quilt over the entire masterpiece. Unbelievable. And, you get spoiled. Your expectations are raised for every flight you take in the future.

A “lie flat” seat? That’s a whole different animal. These seats have the same button to push with the same component parts sliding around but, while they still create a one, long, flat seat, they are not level with the floor. The seat slants with the head several inches higher than the foot. In this way, not so much space is taken up and the airlines don’t lose a precious row of seats.

The problem with “lie flat” seats is that, with your head higher than your feet, gravity takes over and you tend to, over time, slide down the seat until your feet are pushed against the seat in front of you and that is uncomfortable. Add the inevitable vibrating of the airplane which hastens your sliding and you find yourself—if you are like me—being awakened every half hour or so to “scootch” yourself up in the seat to relieve the pressure on your feet.

From Atlanta to Johannesburg, I had a “flat bed” seat. There’s a picture of it in that first blog entry. From Johannesburg to Mauritius, from Mauritius to Paris and from Paris to Detroit, I had “lie flat” seats. The difference is six to eight hours of blissful sleep in the lap of bed-like luxury to very satisfying half-hours of blissful sleep.

For all of you “coach” flyers who know what it is to be crammed into a too-tight space where the word “flat” applies only to the carbonation in your soft drink, go ahead: tell me where to get off. I just don’t do “coach” any more on long flights. If I’m going, I’m going to sleep well and not curse the journey’s first and final legs. With frequent flyer miles and with careful searching of fares (which vary from one flight to the next in wide swings) I can be semi-economical and highly comfortable.

All of that is background to let you know that on the twelve hour flight from Mauritius to Paris, I didn’t sleep all that well. Poor Paul.


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