Pacific Ocean

This year I managed to rack up over a 100,000 miles by signing up for the United Airlines Explorer Card and the Chase Sapphire Card in addition to flying regularly on United.

To maximize the miles I tried to only book flights that use the least the miles. This is still peak season so the flight using the least amount of miles was connecting either through San Francisco on United Airlines or Vancouver on Air Canada. Having flown on multiple long haul flights the thing that makes it most bearable for me is having a personal entertainment system. From what I could pull from google the UA flight from San Francisco lacked that but the AC flight did not. Decision was made and flight was booked.

My friend S showed me a viral YouTube video of a guy who was stranded at the Las Vegas overnight and made a music video to the song, “All by myself.” He basically filmed himself alone all over the airport. My flight didn’t depart until 11:40pm so the airport was deserted. My gate also happened to be in a construction zone far away from all the other gates. I walked through what looked like abandoned sections of the airport. The music video was beginning to feel very familiar.

I initially thought the plane was going to be really empty but when I finally found the gate it was packed and the airport was bustling. I think the gate might have been located in the domestic terminal.

Once at the again we were receiving rapid updates. At the last minute the plan was changed and seats had to be reassigned. I continued to listen but I didn’t hear my name called.

In Las Vegas I checked my bag and I was told it would go onto Sydney and I would not need to recheck the bag. When I arrived in Vancouver and after going through passport control I checked baggage claim to make sure my bag wasn’t there. I didn’t see it so I hoped we would meet again in Sydney.

With all the craziness of changing planes and reassigning seats I think we still boarded on time and departed on time or close to it. At one point they abandoned their standard boarding policy and just began boarding everyone by rows from the back to the front.

The next 14 hours were not too bad. They had an entertainment system but it was a bit clunky at times. I kept wanting to lower the volume on the touch screen but would instead increase the volume. I did manage to sleep some since I have not slept much these past few nights.

The views outside the plane are stunning. Lots of different places charge for helicopter flyover tours and I can see why.

Along with a passport and I always try to remember to bring a pen to fill out entry forms. I remember the worst would be entering Beijing, China and forgetting a pen. There are no pens to be found at customs and I would try to ask to use someone’s pen and it would always be an ordeal. Now I try to pack two pens in case one fails to work.

Once we landed in Sydney they informed us they would be spraying a non-toxic insecticide. The flight attendants sprayed something into the overhead compartments and then we had to wait a few minutes before they would let us off.

Onto passport control and customs. I got lucky and was picked for random dog check. Once through I picked up a SIM card and prepaid plan. Turns out the beauty of the Verizon iPhone 5 is that it’s already unlocked for international use. This is the first time I tried and it worked beautifully. So maybe I can’t browse the internet while on the phone, who needs that? (I do.)

And now I’m in Sydney!

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