Tuesday, October 18, 2005

China Trip I - Inbound Travel

You guessed it, I was super excited to begin the journey back home. Not because I was dying to get back to the grind in Chicago, but for the premier flying experience that I would once again be entertained with. I have such crazy passions, but what to do...

At most other international airports (the US included), the procedure for getting onto an international flight is: manual check-in at the airline counter (where immigration takes place, stamping of passport by airline agent), security and then you're on the flight. When you arrive, you go through immigration (state official), collect your bags, go through customs, and you're home.

In China, getting onto an international flight required a slightly different approach: first thing you did was go through customs with all your luggage, check in at the airline counter, security and lastly immigration with a state official, before you got onto the concourse. At least there was no trouble anywhere along the way. They're probably being extra cautious with what gets taken out of the country, as most other nations are worried with what's being brought in.

All the various airlines that fly to Beijing

The airy and modern-looking International concourse at the Beijing Airport

The Club Lounge, very well serviced with some good food for breakfast and WiFi

Plane parking lot - a hold for planes waiting to fly back to their home country. You can make out a United 747 (non-stop to Chicago) and an Ethiopian Airlines 767, which stops in Delhi on the way back to Addis Ababa.

A Singapore Airlines 777

Air China tails along with an ANA (All Nippon Airways) flight from Japan

Morning rush hour - planes lined up for take off. Notice the ongoing construction. They're building two new terminals, which'll probably be ready in time for the Olympics in 2008.

The endless runway. Oh what fun this would be on my bike...

Onboard: a little snack of Japanese crackers and nuts before brunch

A Japanese lunch. BTW, I love Miso soup.

Business Class on the Japan Airlines Boeing 767. It's not as spacious as the AA 777 flight, as this is a short haul route (less than 5 hours, intra-Asia).

Landing in heavy rain at Narita Airport in Tokyo. The spray of water near the engines is the Thrust Reversers, which are used to slow down the plane by deflecting the thrust sideways from the engine instead of straight back.

Arriving at our gate

American flies only to Tokyo in Asia, but they have about 6 daily flights to the states: 2 to Dallas, 1 to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Jose.

A Korean Airlines Boeing 747-400 getting prepped for the short flight to Seoul.

An Air Tahiti Nui Airbus A340-300 just arriving from Papeete where the skies are bound to be clear and sunny.

The entrance to the American Airlines lounge

Out flight getting ready for hop across the Pacific and Canada into Chicago.

Onboard: Japanese dinner. I forgot exactly what everything was, but I ate most of it.

The International Terminal at Chicago O'hare Airport: British Airways, Swiss, Air India, Star Alliance (Lufthansa), United and American.

Business Class on the AA 777 with my lovely Flight Attendant

In the cockpit of the Boeing 777. I was so thrilled. I hadn't been up to a cockpit since I was a kid and thought it wouldnt be possible post certain events 4 years ago. But the captain was real nice about it, and what could go wrong with the plane on the ground and all the passengers deboarded, anywayz. I hope to get my Privates Pilots License in the coming few years. So many things to do...

My first trip to China was amazing. I loved it. The food, the kind people and the luxurious traveling. Sure, I love to camp out and sleep in the wild, but I also love to be treated like a king and sleep in fluffy beds... I can't wait for my next trip over there and hopefully I'll get to see the Great Wall next time and learn some basic Chinese before the trip.

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