Wednesday, July 20, 2011

International Flights Can Be a Pain in the Rear

On the way back from our exploratory trip to Malaysia back in October, I decided that airplane seats have insufficient padding. So that's why I found myself on July 4th at that truly American place -- WalMart. The first store only stocked Gel Car Cushions. I debated whether or not TSA would consider it a liquid and let me bring it on board. It was definitely too big to fit in a quart size bag, so I left that store for another one. I struck gold at the next WalMart which had Foam Padded Car Cushions with a U-shaped Tail Bone cutout. So, international flights can be a pain in the rear... unless you adequately pad the seat under you.

We departed Los Angeles at 10 minutes before midnight on Sunday. To make sure that the kids wouldn't be too sleepy while hauling luggage and backpacks through the airport, we started moving their bedtimes the week before with 9:30 p.m. fireworks shows over Disneyland and staying up late in the hotel room watching TV.

My worries about how to keep the kids occupied during the 14 hour flight to Hong Kong were unfounded. Cathay Pacific has these awesome seatback entertainment systems with tons of movies and TV shows available on demand. They also had a video games like Pong, Asteroids and Bejeweled Blitz to name a few. In comparison, that aforementioned flight in October on United Airlines just had plane-wide movies displayed on screens above the aisle.

There was so much that I wanted to watch that 14 hours wasn't enough to get it all in. The kids watched Phineas and Ferb, Rango, and Toy Story 3 while I viewed Salt, Little Miss Sunshine and a part of Modern Family, Season 2. I must admit that I was a little nervous watching the shoot-em-up scenes in Salt with youngsters on either side of me, but they were so entranced by their own screens that they didn't even notice.

We landed in Hong Kong for a 9-hour layover, most of which was spent taking a nap in the airport hotel. Our first meal on the continent of Asia was at Popeye's. How can Popeye's be so international and yet the closest one to my house in Austin involves a 20-minute drive?

We got back on a plane for the 3.5 hour flight to Penang. The entertainment system was less fancy, but it was still much better than United. Finally, we were in our new home city.

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