Flying out of your home country to a destination on the other side of the world can certainly make you a bit nervous. Not necessarily because you’re leaving the familiarity of your home country, but because of how terribly long those flights can be. There's the potential for horrible food, cramped legs, and a butt that keeps falling asleep. If you're like me you've heard horror stories of flying long distances and those stories can stick in your head. I have not flown long distances very often, in fact my longest flight was across the U.S. and it was only 6 hours. Summer has flown to Europe which was closer to 12 hours. Now the two of us would be embarking on a journey across the world to Asia and our travel time would be a total of 20 hours. So the flight anxiety from those stories and my memory of discomfort from smaller flights across the U.S. just tripled. And to make the feeling worse, a friend of ours told us that the seats on Asian airlines tend to be smaller than on American-based airlines. The fear of my butt falling asleep on me was looking like a certainty. Good thing there’s free movies on board.
We flew out of SFO at midnight after we had a great dinner with my parents and Summer’s family. Summer's dad, Tom, was nice enough to drive us to the airport so we didn't have to take Bart with three pieces of luggage each.
We went through security, waited a bit for our midnight flight time and then walked through the terminal gates and onto the plane with no hassle. We were sitting in row 60 so we were able to walk past and admire all the luxury seats. Some of the first-class seats had not only a table next to their seat, but also a chair which almost fully reclined and a footrest which popped up from under the seat. Maybe one day I'll be rich enough to afford one of those tickets. Eh, probably not. We finally made it back to our seats to find that Summer's chair was broken and would not recline as it was supposed to. Doesn't sound too bad but the resting position for those seats was close to breaking the 90° threshold. There was no way either of our backs could manage the 14-hour flight with that. Luckily for us the flight attendant found a spot for us and we were saved. We had two functioning chairs and now sat by the cutest little lady who folded origami the entire flight. She was adorable.
Since our flight left at midnight we were tired and fell asleep as soon as the wheels were up and our seats were reclined. Our plan was to sleep for as long as we could. Unfortunately for us, the flight attendants had other plans. "Chicken or pork?" was the repeated phrase that woke us both up. Our deep slumber kept us oblivious from the commotion around us, so being woken up to a questioning stewardess was a little startling. I just remember my eyes barely being able to open and my mind trying to process the simple repeated phrase coming out of her mouth. After the fifth time she repeated “chicken or pork?” I could finally understand what was happening. I quickly ordered rice with chicken which came in a mysterious sauce. My sleepy self was not interested in food but I scarfed it down to prevent myself from being hungry later.
We fell asleep for a few more hours and then were awoken another time for drinks. This time we couldn't fall back asleep, so we watched movies until the end of the flight. We got food one more time before the end of the flight, which made me very happy. Fourteen hours had gone by relatively fast and my butt had only fallen asleep once. The flight was surprisingly pleasant. There was enough leg room for my legs to stretch out and the seats reclined enough that I was comfortable while asleep. Plus I could really get comfortable when watching movies, of which we watched a lot of.
We got off the plane and were transported by bus in the middle of the night in a city I can't pronounce in China to the terminal to wait for our flight to Chiang Mai. We were packed like sardines into the bus with our carry-on luggage surrounded by dreary eyed people. The terminal wasn't bad, we had some Chinese food and smoothies to pass the time. Although do be careful when using your credit card here. I’m almost certain one of the waitresses stole my credit card number and sold it to some random dude in Ohio who then spent hundreds of dollars on video games.
After the quick flight to Chiang Mai, we went through customs and baggage claims with no issues. The customs officer looked at me with confusion because I was missing about a foot and a half of hair compared to my passport photo, but he just smiled and waved me through. Honestly, I was decently worried at the start of the journey, but we made it through with no horror stories and with all our luggage accounted for. Twenty total travel hours and I felt surprisingly relaxed afterwards. We had made it to Chiang Mai with no return flight in sight.