1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

The Longest Day – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA to Chiang Mai, Thailand

by Suzanne Fluhr on January 11, 2014 · 96 comments

View out airplane window

travel planning books

Travel planning always takes longer than I thought it would.

 As my Boomeresque Facebook friends know, ever since we returned from New Mexico in October, I’ve been mostly consumed by planning our trip to Southeast Asia and Hawaii. Some 32 years ago, I had the dumb luck good fortune to marry someone who gets to travel to warm interesting places as part of his job. Steve (a/k/a Mr. Excitement) is now old senior enough to be able to send younger more junior faculty to meetings at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota —in February, while he covers meetings in Hawaii — in February. Last February, when he was performing this crucial task, the head of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center asked if he would consider doing a three month sabbatical there. We He thought about it for a fraction of a nanosecond during which he probably thought (but was too polite to say), “Yay. Saved from spending another February in Philadelphia with Mrs. Excitement and her Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” This is how we came to find ourselves fleeing leaving 6 degree (-14 degrees C) Philly on a Tuesday morning. (We won’t even mention the wind chill—because our teeth were chattering too much to mention anything).

For this first installment of Mr. Dr. and Mrs. Excitement’s Wonderful Adventure, I’ll share some observations and insights I’ve acquired thus far:

1)      Trip planning is labor and time intensive, but if you fancy yourself a travel blogger, whining about the process will only trigger derisive comments from your true love along the lines of, “And you call yourself a travel blogger?”

2)      Notifying your credit card company in detail about your international travel plans does not mean your credit card won’t be suspended by a fraud alert at 2:00 a.m. when you are in the middle of trying to book flights #9 and #10 of your itinerary.

3)      Just because you can squeeze fit it into your suitcase, doesn’t mean you should.

travel planning books

“All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go…” — with apologies to John Denver and Peter, Paul and Mary.

4)      Reserving aisle and window seats in hopes that no one will be seated between you constitutes magical thinking and means you probably deserve to have a slightly odoriferous Canadian sitting between you. (BTW, some of my best friends are Canadian! Eh.) In his defense (or defence, if you’re Canadian), the odor might have been caused by his having had to sprint to make his connection at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) due to the late departure of his flight from Toronto because someone forgot to fuel the plane. Reportedly, the pilot was not amused.

5)      Asking for hot tea when you’re flying over the Rocky Mountains against the jet stream is not smart.

5a)  Asking for hot tea when you’re flying over the Rocky Mountains against the jet stream and you have your lap top open on your tray table is a guaranteed “what was I thinking?” moment.

6)      Pulling an “all nighter” before leaving on your trip does not mean you will be able to sleep during your six hour flight to San Francisco.

7)      San Francisco International Airport (SFO) does not have helpful signage for international travelers and public address announcements are mostly inaudible.

8)      The food in the pre-security International Terminal at SFO is largely inedible — except for white rice. The white rice is fine.

9)      When Philippine Airlines puts up a sign that check in for your 9:25 p.m. flight will start at 5:00 p.m., they mean you can line up at 5:00 p.m., but flight check in will start at 5:30 p.m.

10)   When Philippine Airlines sends you an itinerary showing that your flight from San Francisco to Manila will stop in Guam and you will change planes from a Boeing 747 to an Airbus 340, what they mean is that your plane will stop in Honolulu and you will stay on the plane for an hour while it is refueled.

11)   When the itinerary says that your trip time from San Francisco to Bangkok is 23 hours and 10 minutes, you will wonder what possessed you to add a flight from Philly to San Francisco and from Bangkok to Chang Mai as part of the same “travel day(s)”—daze(?).

12)   The Pacific Ocean is really big. Seriously, it makes flying across the Atlantic seem like a puddle jump.

view out an airplane window

This is why I always insist on a window seat.

13)   Lots of things break on an aging Philippine Airlines 747 which, judging from the signs in Arabic in the lavatory, enjoyed a prior life in the employ of a Middle Eastern airline (or sheik).

14)   After an all nighter, followed by an all dayer, you will be able to sleep for 10 hours in a trans-Pacific 747 business class seat (even if it doesn’t recline flat—as long as you can put your feet up on the ledge under the window). Being able to sleep for 10 hours is vital on a 16 hour flight where the aircraft’s advertised personal entertainment systems are not functioning, seriously stressing out the lovely lead flight attendant (purser). (This poor lady was having a truly bad trip, having spent the trip in bound from Manila to SFO “talking down” a passenger who decided that he wanted to commit “suicide by airplane” — by opening a door and jumping out).

15)   The International Date Line is a freaky thing and especially discombobulating when you cross it during a ten hour flight in the middle of the night – or is it day? – or is it tomorrow?

16)   The business class Philippines Airlines lounge in Manila does not have reliable wifi, so you will not be checking your work email. (What part of v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n doesn’t Mr. Excitement understand? As for your vital travel blogger social media responsibilities — Girl, when are you going to learn how to pre-schedule your tweets and Facebook posts?)

prawn and scallop salad

I don’t usually fly in search of haute cuisine, but this poached prawn and scallop salad with pomelo (Chinese grapefruit) and coconut milk was pretty tasty.

17)    Lunch on your Philippines Airlines flight from Manila to Bangkok was really good. Your personal entertainment system — not so much.

18)   It’s best to have some paper reading material when all electronic devices must be turned off and you are on a flight with Mr. Excitement who is engrossed in a heavy tome he has been lugging across continents and oceans (the fifth volume of Game of Thrones) or you will have the following conversation:

Mrs. Excitement: I can’t read now. We’ll just have to converse.

Mr. Excitement: Then I guess you’re in trouble.

19)   Bangkok International Airport is ENORMOUS and in January is full of Russians coming or going to Thai beach resorts. They wear heavy gold jewelry and cut in line. Speaking of lines, the one for Thai passport control was about 45 minutes long, but they stamp a 30 day visa in your passport for free — contrary to everything you’ve heard and read.

Buddhist Ronald Macdonald

In Thailand, a majority Buddhist country, the “namaste” position is omnipresent for greetings, thank you’s and you’re welcome’s.

20)   In Bangkok International Airport, Ronald MacDonald appears to be a Buddhist.

21)   On a 55 minute flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on Thai International Airlines — they give you a snack box and a hot and cold beverage — for “free” and your Thai pilot speaks better English than you do.

22)   Going on a month long trip to Southeast Asia followed by 3 months living in Hawaii, during the coldest winter in decades in your home town is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you won’t worry about your 89 year old mother and miss your dog.

What was your longest trip? How did you get there? 


{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianne January 11, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Love your blog Suzanne. ..sounds very exciting yet cinfusing at times.


Suzanne Fluhr January 12, 2014 at 5:28 am

Wow. So far, half the people who have commented on this blog post are named some version of “Diane”. Diane, being confused and then managing to kind of extricate oneself from the confusion is part of the fun — except when one is way overtired. Then it just sucks.


Patti January 11, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Longest flight: 13 hours from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand – a 4-hour layover in Auckland, (somewhere around 4 in the morning) followed by a 4-hour flight to Melbourne. On the return flight we left Auckland on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. and arrived in San Francisco on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Go figure! Did I mention I “hate” to fly.

Longest drive: Currently driving a 2-month circle around the U.S.A.

Looking forward to following your adventure. Safe Travels!


Suzanne Fluhr January 12, 2014 at 5:26 am

Patti, I’m at least neutral about the flying part. In fact, I think I prefer it to road trips because I tend to “help” the driver by being hyper vigilant. Some people call that backseat driving. I call it self preservation.


Dyanne@TravelnLass January 12, 2014 at 1:08 am

Delightful! (and an excellent lesson for me in how to crank out a most interesting post in but 22 bullets.) 😉

Longest flight? Don’t remind me. Though there likely have been longer in the past (Mongolia springs to mind), suffice I am NOT looking forward to my loooong trek back to the States and down to Ecuador – from here in Asia next month.

The only positive note? I had the good sense to break up the convoluted journey – i.e. Chiang Mai – Bangkok – Ho Chi Minh City; stay VN for a few days; HCMC-Japan-JFK-DC, uh 24+ hours; stay D.C. a few days; and finally looks like another 14 hrs. DC to Ecuador – ugh!

Ah well, at least it’s a one-way trip! 😉

Great to meet you and Mr. Excitement while you were here in Chiang Mai – safe travels in your future adventures here in Asia!


Suzanne Fluhr January 12, 2014 at 5:24 am

Dyanne, having heard your travel history, you either win or are close to being the winner of “most lifetime hours logged on an airplane” among Boomeresque readers who are not employed as flight crew. (BTW, there is no prize — other than memories of all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) places you’ve visited 😉 I think you’re “Ugh” is well informed, but it’s ugh with an asterisk because how cool is it that you can be in all those places in the course of less than 2 weeks — an impossible feat without airplanes.
PS: I’m embarrassed to tell you how many, many, many hours it took me to write this blog post. For some of us, there’s just no easy way to write.


Corey Langer January 12, 2014 at 3:43 am

Great travel-log. It should be published. Tell Mr (Dr.) Excitement that we will keep the home fires burning, that I will give him periodic updates twice a week, and that he need NOT check his email so obsessively. Tell him to relax – he deserves it.

Longest trip ever: Newark –> LAX –> Auckland –> Sydney (26 hrs in aggregate), which makes the 14 hr non-stop from Newark to Tokyo seem like a piece of cake.


Suzanne Fluhr January 12, 2014 at 5:18 am

Thanks for stopping by, Corey. I think you should send Dr. Excitement an email to tell him not to obsessively check his work email. In the subject line, say something like, “Very IMPORTANT Work Email”. That should get his attention 😉


santafetraveler January 12, 2014 at 10:25 am

I learned a few things here:
You’re finally calling the other half, “Dr. Excitement” which is his due
That sometimes no matter how much you’re carrying you have to bring a little food just in case
That I will never fly Philippine Airlines. My 747 days were over in the 80s
Have a great time in Asia!


Suzanne Fluhr January 13, 2014 at 10:58 am

Billie, I do refer to him as Dr. Excitement when it’s in his professional capacity;-) I’m tickled because one of his medical colleagues left a comment on this post and referred to him as that. We’re flying Philippine Airlines to Hawaii from Singapore—again through Manila and the first leg will be in coach! I look at it this way — grist for my blogging mill.


Mike January 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Oh cool, I was hoping you would write this post! I find all of the planning and the actual Point A to Point B stories fascinating. I haven’t flown in years but I’m a window seat “addict”. Specifically flying over land I like to play a game of trying to figure out exactly where I’m at. It sounds like the trip getting there went relatively smoothly. One thing caught my attention, well lots did. But, Russians cut in line? Did you find that to be rude? Or did they feel entitled or something? So glad you two are there safe and sound, Suzanne 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr January 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Mike, I have no idea what the Russians were “thinking”. I certainly wasn’t about to start an incident, so I just gave them a good old Yankee stink eye.


Elizabeth Rose January 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Great article. Although I’d love to be over there…. getting there is what dissuades me!


Suzanne Fluhr January 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Elizabeth, take a deep breath. It’s worth the trip.


Josie January 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Hey Suzanne,
Loads of fun, your story! Glad you got there safely, and looking forward to more.
Stay safe,


Suzanne Fluhr January 12, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Thanks, Josie. More to come.


Neva January 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm

I’m sure everyone commenting has more airplane flight time than I ever will. So I guess I’ll have to mention that I’ve got more “freefall” air time than most of these traveling bloggers.

As a licensed skydiver, I have bragging rights that my log book proves I will always be a jump ahead of my husband.


Suzanne Fluhr January 12, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Oh my goodness, Neva. I’m pretty sure you have bragging rights on that one. I can’t imagine skydiving. I’ll stick (literally) to my window seat.


Gaelyn January 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Oh why can’t we just be “beamed” to our destinations. I love the planning but not the real long flights. Tuesday night PHX > JFK, 4.5 hr layover, then 17 hours to JNB. I wish for business class and room to move. Plus more than 30 mins sleep at a time and walking with a jolt and drool down my dropped chin. Have a wonderful time, now that you’re ‘there’ for a while.


Suzanne Fluhr January 13, 2014 at 9:09 am

Uh oh. 17 hours!?! I better start saving up for my business class ticket to South Africa. Steve has a conference there in October and I am most definitely planning on being a trailing spouse for that one.


Go Click Travel January 12, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Fantastic post Suzanne! I love the mix of tangible tips and reflections on a really long day of travel. I’ve included it in my best travel tips of the week post for this week. 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr January 13, 2014 at 9:03 am

Thanks! I hope they remember the one about only eating white rice at the pre-security food court in the international terminal at SFO.


Michele Peterson January 13, 2014 at 8:53 am

Mr. Excitement has nailed the right strategy for long distance travel. I found a copy Game of Thrones Volume One in the exchange library at my hotel and it lasted me for much of my 26 hour bus ride from Guatemala to the beach in Mexico. I’m now off to find Volume Two for the next leg of my journey.


Suzanne Fluhr January 13, 2014 at 9:07 am

Spoiler alert for Michele: Apparently, the HBO Game of Thrones series only covers books 1 and 2, so don’t find a way to watch them till you finish Volume 2.


Suzanne (Travelbunny) January 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Wow that’s a trip and a half – you need a month in SE Asia to recover from that. My longest flight was around 14 hours to Vietnam and fortunately much easier that yours!
Have a fantastic time. BTW Buffer is great for scheduling tweets and FB posts. Thank you for dropping by my blog – much appreciated.


Suzanne Fluhr January 14, 2014 at 4:20 am

We do have a month in Southeast Asia so the trip was totally worth it. Thanks for the buffer tip. I’ll check it out.


Jenny January 13, 2014 at 6:10 pm

I’ve pulled a few 24 hour hauls, but they are broken up in different segments (6 hour flight, 4 hour layover, 3 hour flight, 30 min. taxi, 4 hour bus ride, etc.). These days I choose flights not just by price but also by airport (Dallas has a nice sitting area, few weather problems in LA, I don’t particularly like the Houston airport, nor San Francisco) and arrival times. Sometimes I even choose a longer route if it works better with sleeping and not having to leave the house at 2 AM.


Suzanne Fluhr January 14, 2014 at 4:24 am

I agree with picking airports to connect through. We didn’t take a less expensive airline to Bangkok because it would have required flying through Chicago. We have had terrible luck with O’Hare. That turned out to be a very good move. On the day we left, it was 7 degrees Fahrenheit in Philly and so cold in Chicago that they had to close the airport because the plane de-icing fluid — froze.


Nancie January 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I think Bangkok airport is always full of Russians 🙂 I have that exact same picture of Ronald. He gets around! You know that I am from the end of the earth, Nova Scotia. Actual in the air time from Seoul to Halifax is somewhere between 21 and 23 hours. That doesn’t count the stops along the way. Add another 4 or 5 hours (at least). Of course, getting to the airport is a 3 hours bus trip. For me to get to home to Halifax these days eats up about 32 hours of my life, door to door. 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr January 14, 2014 at 4:27 am

Isn’t it terrible—-except that you get from Seoul to Halifax in only 32 hours. How cool is that!


Jerome Shaw January 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

It looks like the beginning of a wonderful adventure. Thanks for taking me along. I learned much. I’ll look forward to more posts from this trip. Have a an exciting and safe trip.


My longest trip was a year long trip to Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. I brought home a very special souvenir – my daughter was born in NZ.

Other than that a couple of 5-6 week trips to Brazil and Russia/Ukraine. Long duration travel is inspiring but tiring.


Suzanne Fluhr January 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

We’ve seen lots of Boomeresque type travelers on this trip—far from homes in North America, Europe and even Australia and New Zealand. I wonder if they are thinking like we are—-that long haul travel is especially tiring and demanding, so we better do it “while we still can”.


Alison January 14, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Hi aunt Suzanne,
It sounds like you guys are having fun! I am loving the pictures up on Facebook! If you wanna bring back a postcard and send it from Hawaii I have no complaints! Hope all is fun and stay safe!


Suzanne Fluhr January 16, 2014 at 12:03 am

Thanks, Alison. I’m glad you’re enjoying following along vicariously. I’ll definitely look for a suitable postcard. Tomorrow we visit Angor Wat at Siem Reap, Cambodia. I bet they have a few postcards there 😉


Jan January 16, 2014 at 1:02 am

Suzanne, it was wonderful meeting you at the Elephant Nature Park! I hope you guys are continuing to have a wonderful trip.

Long travels days are always tough. It took us 18 hours of buses, taxis & a ferry to arrive in Koh Chang. The island life was worth the trip though!

Safe travels!
Jan & Yemi


Suzanne Fluhr January 29, 2014 at 5:12 am

Thanks, Jan. I WILL soon be putting up my post about the Elephant Nature Park—as soon as I have wifi capable of loading photos — because photos of that experience are definitely important. Safe travels to you and Yemi.


Beth Niebuhr January 16, 2014 at 7:37 am

Your clever way of writing, with all the crossed out words, is delightful. My longest flight was from South Africa to London and then London to Los Angeles. Oddest part was when the plane started descending in the middle of the night, during the leg to London. I asked the flight attendant why and he said about once every two weeks they have to land on an island, which is mostly runway and stored fuel, to refuel.


Suzanne Fluhr January 29, 2014 at 5:14 am

I think the weight on a plane can mean that some times the flight has to be refueled enroute. That’s why we had to stop in Honolulu. Usually, they can make it to Guam from San Francisco, but I think they didn’t want to have to go that far before refueling our flight. Whatever. We made it!!!


Catarina January 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

Used to travel non stop for a couple of years and can hence relate to some of what you say. Had Europe as a base though so it makes a difference.

For instance lived and worked three months in the Philippines and three months in Thailand. It was 25 years ago but already then Bangkok Airport was a mess and flights to Europe left really early in the morning.

After travelling non stop for those years I sometimes travelled to the other side of the world for meetings. Personally am not keen on long flights, even if they are in first class, since jet lag isn’t the greatest thing in the world.

When I was flying from Mexico City to London via Miami I stayed up all night and it worked wonderfully well. Arrived fresh and ready to work back home in London.


Suzanne Fluhr January 16, 2014 at 11:21 am

I’m not sure I understand how staying up all night helped you be refreshed and ready to work in the morning. I find it more difficult to travel east — as in flights from the US east coast to Europe. My husband gets jet lagged more than I do because he has a strong circadian rhythm. For example, it’s 11:15 PM here and he is sound asleep with me sitting in bed next to him clattering away on my lap top with the light on.


Debra Yearwood January 16, 2014 at 10:45 am

What an excellent post. I laughed so many times while reading this and so much of it was familiar. The joys and pitfalls of travel. I particularly liked, “When Philippine Airlines sends you an itinerary showing that your flight from San Francisco to Manila will stop in Guam and you will change planes from a Boeing 747 to an Airbus 340, what they mean is that your plane will stop in Honolulu and you will stay on the plane for an hour while it is refueled.” Those two options seem the same to me…NOT. 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr January 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

I find it helps to have a sense of humor when traveling. It helps to just laugh at the absurd. (I admit that at times, my funny bone is sorely taxed trying to laugh about some things one encounters).


Bindhurani January 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Wow! You are amazing with words to create laughter. Waiting for more to come.


Suzanne Fluhr January 29, 2014 at 5:06 am

Thanks. I guess we agree that the destination makes the trip worth it, and sometimes, the trip is even the there–there.


Susan Cooper January 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I loved reading this. I remember clearly a trip to Europe when I had neglected to call my bank and credit card companies and my accounts were frozen… LOL.. After many calls and much embarrassment I was able to use my card again. I couldn’t agree with you more in regards to the signage on SF. It is NOT good to say the least. My husband is a control freak so traveling in not always something that he enjoys because you are totally in someone else’s hand when you are flying across a very large body of water. :-)))


Suzanne Fluhr January 17, 2014 at 3:57 am

We’ve flown so much in the last few years that I don’t really think about the fact that I’m in a narrow metal tube at 38,000 feet above terra (or aqua) firma with absolutely no control although I’ll admit that some anxiety bubbles up during take-offs and landings. Saturday we are scheduled to take flights 8 and 9 of this trip (all since January 7th!).


Michelle da Silva Richmond January 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Great blog, Suzanne…I’m still laughing. Can’t wait to hear more! As you said, a sense of humor is key!


Suzanne Fluhr January 17, 2014 at 3:58 am

Thanks for stopping by Michele. I’m accumulating a lot to write about, now I have to pretend I’m in a Nike ad and JUST.DO.IT.


Montecristo Travels (Sonja) January 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm

As much as I want to go… The commute there… Ugh.


Rachel Noel January 16, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Suzanne, this entry is to DIE FOR! It had me simultaneously laughing and hoping SOMETHING would just go right. You have a great voice; can’t wait to read a TON more entries when I get free time in February!


Suzanne Fluhr January 17, 2014 at 4:00 am

Yeah, the “commute” is a little over the top. Probably, the right way to do it is to stop off en route. Still, I’m always a little tickled that you can wake up in Philadelphia and next get into bed in Chiang Mai, Thailand, possible only through the miracle of air travel.


Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) January 17, 2014 at 6:41 am

Hilarious Suzanne…but have to admit that I could relate. I used to travel internationally very frequently and I came to believe that people who say they love to travel…don’t. I love being different places but really hate getting there!!!!! I was on a flight from Hong Kong to Milwaukee…I’ve forgotten how long it took…a week maybe? Or did it just seem that way with three screaming children (in business class) who spent 12 hours running up and down the aisle!!!! Have big fun! Can’t wait to read about your adventurers 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr January 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Three children running amok in Business Class. Kill me now.


Jason B January 17, 2014 at 10:24 am

I actually enjoyed reading about your longest trip. Interesting to say the least. My longest trip wasn’t really long at all. It was about 7 hours from Vegas to San Diego to Atlanta. I plan on going to London in October so that trip will become my longest. Hopefully everything goes smooth though.


Suzanne Fluhr January 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Hmm. Vegas to San Diego to get to Atlanta?? Sometimes the airlines help us have longer trips than seem to make sense geographically. In my case, after thunderstorms at Ohare Airport in Chicago, it was Chicago to Minneapolis to get to Philly. Go figure.


Donna Hull January 19, 2014 at 11:35 am

Ah, the joys of getting there on an international trip. Despite the small issues, you still approached it with your usual good humor. It’s amazing how far good humor gets us :-).


Suzanne Fluhr January 20, 2014 at 4:23 am

An appreciation for the absurd also helps 😉


Maddy Fluhr January 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm

I’m still salivating over the “poached prawn and scallop salad with pomelo (Chinese grapefruit) and coconut milk” photo. I would enjoy that in a local restaurant on Terra Firma! When I fly United, I do enjoy their “tapas” Snack Box and would rather pay for that than go back to the days when Airlines included a meal that looked like it may have been made in a “Tasty Bake” Oven – (remember those? do I have the name right? Powered by a light bulb?) And I enjoy my antidote to “Turbulence Affective Disorder” – a Bloody Mary or (or 2?) which I have on several occasions been “gifted” by the flight attendants – why? I dunno – maybe they didn’t want to deal with the credit card machine, thought I looked down on my luck, or were grateful to not have to deal with the potential anxiety attack they intuited the Bloody Mary (ies) would fend off! BUT that is not what you asked. Mostly I do the 5-6 hour flight to Philly to visit y’all from California where I “made my bed” in 1980. I do enjoy “travelling” through reading – mostly fiction- set in various locales. It fits my budget and time constraints! Though watching the TV show Dexter made me want to visit Miami. The decor in the apts seemed so pastelish and different – like when I visited Bermuda. Aha! That was probably the longest trip I took, because I was flying there from CA to attend a Racewalking workshop many years ago. I do hope to do some trips with my Fam (such as visit the Azores, husband’s homeland). Sorry for long response – (a comment should probably not rival the Blog Post itself in length!) Safe travels!!


Suzanne Fluhr January 20, 2014 at 4:27 am

Mads, family and friends are allowed to post as long comments as they would like. Thanks for stopping by. I have to say, 8 takes offs and landings in 12 days tends to help with the flying anxiety — although I admit there is this very fleeting moment of panic in the seconds before taking off and landing. Maybe I’ll try your Bloody Mary routine to banish even that fleeting moment of “what if?” I hope you make it to the Azores. Your nephew has and found it quite beautiful.


Roz Warren January 24, 2014 at 11:29 am

The Pacific Ocean? Big? Who knew? But seriously. I just flew from San Francisco to Philadelphia and to me it seemed like a Big Schlep. I’m the minor leagues compared to you and the ground you’ve covered. Or flown over. Whatever. Thanks for a fun post. I’ve learned a lot and will probably have little occasion to apply any of it.


Suzanne Fluhr January 26, 2014 at 3:42 am

Roz, think how much useless knowledge we’ve acquired in our Baby Boomer lives? Some of it has been a hoot though. SF to Philly is better than the trip there — as you know since at least you have the prevailing winds in your favor.


Andrea February 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I see that the “don’t bother me while in flight” attitude is hereditary! Ben tends to zone out with his music on while either reading or sleeping, leaving me to entertain myself. I usually bring books, both paper and electronic, and usually some sort of brain-garbage tabloid, but sometimes it’s nice to say a few words. Ben doesn’t think so! I am looking forward to our trip to see you guys, but the long flights with my own junior version of Mr. Excitement leave much to be desired! Safe travels and see you in ~34 days!


Suzanne Fluhr February 5, 2014 at 11:09 am

In about 12 hours, we’ll be leaving for the Singapore Airport to start our journey to Honolulu. This time, we’ll only be traveling for 16 hours, but I’m a little anxious that we only have an hour and a half to make our connecting flight in Manila.

Now that you mention it, I do remember Ben having a remarkable ability to zone out on airplanes—and in airports. I think you are going to be very jealous of this on your flight from LV to HNL. I guess you’re not counting the days (hours and minutes) til your trip 😉 . It sounds as though your picked a good year for a winter getaway to somewhere warm (or at least, warmer).


noel September 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Yes it is long, I’m flying soon from Hawaii to London, night, day and then a night flight to arrive early morning in Heathrow so you whole system is whacked. Same as flying to the east so it’s never fun, but your meals look really yummy on business class!


Carole Terwilliger Meyers September 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Yes, the actual process of getting there can be full of surprises. My longest flight was going the opposite way as you did to Bangkok! From San Francisco via Dubai–so it was L.A., Dubai (stopover), Bangkok. For you, that route would probably have been shorter.


Michele Peterson September 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

My longest trip ever was to Vietnam where my dining preference was erroneously shown as “fruitarian” which means for 27 hours all I ate was fresh fruit, poached fruit, fruit juice, dried fruit – well you get the picture. I’d have loved to have had that poached prawn and scallop salad with pomelo (Chinese grapefruit) and coconut milk!


Linda ~ Journey Jottings September 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm

You’ve nailed the fun of long distance travel Suzanne!
Living in Australia to get virtually anywhere we have these sorts of ‘adventures’ although I am now increasing looking for spots to have a stop over somewhere not too far from home to reduce the flying time to my ultimate destination a tad 🙂


Johanna September 8, 2014 at 12:23 am

Loved this post Suzanne and I was giggling throughout, as well as nodding my head in agreement. I could just see your tea flying everywhere as you flew into the jetstream – and I do hope your laptop survived 😉


The Gypsynesters September 8, 2014 at 9:21 am

That is an insane amount of time to be flying! But the food actually looks good, so that’s a plus, and yup, the date line is mind bending. When we flew from Tokyo to Los Angeles last year we got to LA several hours before we left, on the same day. Go figure.


Anita @ No Particular Place To Go September 8, 2014 at 9:45 am

While we do travel by plane occasionally our longest trips usually occur by bus or shuttle van with sometimes a ferry, water taxi or tuk tuk thrown in for variety. There’s always the excitement when we board of finally being on our way to our next destination followed, hours later, by “Dear Jesus, get me out of here!”. Loved your post and your comments are right on target!


Suzanne Fluhr September 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Anita—I so know that feeling — the realization that you are stuck for the next however many hours—-but then, you arrive and after perhaps a wee nap, the fun begins—so it’s all good.


Juergen September 8, 2014 at 10:39 am

Ah, good old Phillippine Airlines, PAL as their international code, or “planes always late” as they are being called by everybody in the Philippines. Crappy flights with friendly staff and possibly some surprises: we were once delayed that much that we missed our connecting flight, the rebooking onto a Cathay Pacific flight was a real eye opener: gourmet food in economy class, super clean plane, compfy seats…


Suzanne Fluhr September 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Juergen, PAL definitely had a “peoples’ airline” feel, but I was glad to see that so many Filipinos could travel—-albeit late, with a broken entertainment system and lavatory instructions only in Arabic 😉


Irene S. Levine September 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Our longest trip was to Kenya, two planes. We were so eager to go that it didn’t seem as long as some shorter ones.


Suzanne Fluhr September 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Our longest uninterrupted flight is scheduled for next month—17.5 hours in economy on a flight from JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa and then a transfer to another flight to go on to Cape Town. I get panicky just thinking about it—but not enough to skip the trip. 🙂


Leigh September 8, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Can you imagine this same trip at the back of the “bus”? My longest trip took about 38 hours of travel time – taking me from Vancouver – London – Johannesburg – Windhoek, Namibia. Horrible especially teh South African Airways flight to Jo-burg but had one of the best trips of my life in Namibia.


Suzanne Fluhr September 14, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Oh dear. We’re flying South African Airways from JFK to Johannesburg next month.


Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it September 9, 2014 at 8:39 pm

What a funny story about a frustrating long experience in the proverbial sardine tin cans with wings. When our daughter worked for Delta, we flew first class and it was ahhhh. The hostess set aside an entire case of wine when she found the brand we liked. Although we didn’t finish the entire case, we sure slept great.


Suzanne Fluhr September 14, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Now, you’d probably be lucky to get stand-by in a non-reclining seat next to the bathroom. We were once invited to first class on a flight from London to Philly when it turned out I knew one of the flight attendants. Even better because it was a flight where I had been seated in front of a 5 year old back of seat kicker!


Michelle September 12, 2014 at 9:43 am

I absolutely LOVE Asia, but find the travel excruciating! I have learned the hard way that pulling an all nighter does NOT mean you can sleep on the plane. I got bumped to first class on an 8 hour flight from Tokyo to Bangkok. I am now ruined for life as I NEVER choose to fly first class :/


alison @GreenWithRenvy September 13, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I used to travel PAL in the 80’s when I had business there. After the first journey, my partner and I decided we had to spring for business class on every future trip. It was still pretty painful. Twenty years later, I still find travel to Asia so rough, but love the end result so much, can still manage. Hoping to get it out of my system before i’m too much older. Your post is hysterical, I can relate to so much of it. Really fun Suzanne.


Suzanne Fluhr September 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I find that this post particularly strikes a chord with those who know from whence I speak.


Shelley September 13, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Too funny Suzanne, and so timely! I’m leaving for the Manila airport in an hour for a flight on Philippine Airlines. So being Canadian I’m definitely using some extra deodorant. Then I’ll take your advice and bring a book. But I am looking forward to a tasty lunch eh!


Suzanne Fluhr September 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Shelley, I hope you had some decent food. That one lunch was excellent—-but the rest of the meals can best be described as gray and gelatinous. PS: Some of my best friends are Canadian. Eh. 🙂


Valeria Terpytska January 6, 2015 at 8:51 am

Amazingly entertaining and highly informative at the same time, thank you.


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