I arrived at SFO this morning, looked up at the flight information screens, and saw that my flight was shown as “Scheduled 1:20PM, Actual 1:10PM”. Optimism, perhaps, given that departure was still over three hours away. And as it turned out, the cleaners took longer than usual to prepare the 747, and we boarded late. Oh, well.
The flight was full. Not, I think, as oversold as the Singapore flight a couple of gates away, but I didn’t see a singe empty seat. I had a middle, between two people each of whom had bulky carry-on bags which they had placed under the seat in front of them. Not only did their bags remove a lot of my legroom; both of them kept on diving into their bags to retrieve or stow items. This inevitably meant them bumping and crowding me, and the upshot was that for the first time in years I didn’t get any sleep on the long flight. And since United’s 747s don’t have personal in-flight entertainment systems, I was reduced to listening to music while wearing eye-shades. At least we had Channel 9 for the last few hours….
After the very uncomfortable flight, the rest was easy: bought a ferry ticket, took the train to the new Sky Pier, caught the 7:30 ferry, zipped through passport control at Shekou, got a few minutes sleep in the taxi (the best way of coping with Chinese driving), and I was checked in at Baicao Gardens just after 9. I turned on the TV, and they were showing the European Grand Prix from Valencia. I watched laps 47 to 53, and then suddenly they cut away to squeeze in a huge block of advertisements before the start of the England-Germany world cup match, which is on right now as I type this.
I’d like to watch, but I think I’m going to have to sleep instead. Good luck, England!