My Longest Flight Ever

I’m just going to go out on a limb and say this: 16 hour flights are terrible. At best I sleep fitfully on an airplane, waking up at odd intervals checking the clock. On a 16 hour flight, when you open your eyes and look at the clock for the 8th time and find that you aren’t even 6 hours in, it can be downright discouraging. But I made it through the longest leg of this trip, from New York to Guangzhou.

I always feel a degree of excitement when I’m flying a new airline. What will it be like? If it is a foreign carrier, what food will they serve us? Well this time I’m flying China Southern. I don’t know much about them, but they’re in a major alliance and are the 6th largest airline in the world. These facts are reassuring, because if the 6th largest airline in the world had major safety issues I would think we would have heard about it.

I boarded, took my seat, and immediately explored the small amenity kit. There isn’t much there, but I like it.

The cabin itself was clean and the service efficient to a fault. Seriously – when they are serving food or drink, we as passengers must be ready with our orders pronto. They will serve us something, whether or not we have time to express our preference. Apparently I wanted apple juice as my first beverage.

Shortly after our 1:45 AM departure they gave us a snack. We had the choice of chicken sandwich or fried rice. I went with the latter, and in one dish undid 2 months of carb-restricted eating. And the rice was bland and not really worth the carbs.

This was the diner plate, served at about 7 hours into the flight. I chose the Chinese pork, which was OK – better than the fried rice I’d had earlier. The highlight here was the chocolate mousse square for dessert. There was a Kit Kat bar buried under the roll – I ate half of that as well.

And at 13 hours in we had “breakfast.” Here again, I went with the Chinese option – the congee (rice porridge), rather than the scrambled egg. This dish, with a couple shreds of chicken and two small shrimp, was the winner of my three mains.

The flight tracker wasn’t working, so instead I passed some of my time exploring the entertainment system. Under music they had such options as “Feelings Beyond Expression” and “Songs for Running.” Who wants to listen to “Songs for Running” on a 16 hour flight. How about “Songs for Doing Nothing?”

Landing in China, I made an easy transfer to the international departure area and now sit in the lounge at 700 AM eating whatever they offer that looks like it might be also eaten by the locals. In addition, I have now had my first experience with the great firewall of China. No Facebook here. And no New York Times Crossword.

But at least I can still blog!

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