Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On to Barajas


We left on time, always a good thing for my psyche when we have a connection to make. This was the first time on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, we’ve always crossed over on 747’s or the occasional 767. It’s an interesting aircraft.
We flew business (thank your frequent flyer miles!) class and the different design philosophy was obvious instantly. There are no more side by side seats, which means you don’t have to climb over a stranger to get out of your window seat, and there is no chance of someone pouring red wine in your lap over Alaska. On the flip side, if you’re traveling with someone you want to talk to, it’s impossible. Also, no more holding hands for the same reason. On the whole though, the plane now looks like a Herman Miller cubical farm, not unlike those I lived in at Intel.
The most fascinating aspects for me were the windows, which no longer have shades but instead can be electronically darkened and lightened. Neat idea, as you can see the outside without bathing the entire cabin in sunshine. Overhead lighting is another interesting feature. During the dark hours it alternates between dark blue and purple, and as we fly into the dawn it changes to rosy hues and then bright sunshine orange. Its supposed to make you adapt better to wherever you're landing. I'm skeptical judging from how I feel at the moment, having been awake (now) for nearly 24 hours.
The pods are well equipped, with lots of storage space (little places to put your personal belongings so you can forget them when you get off the plane) a nice entertainment center with a truly world-class flight tracker and plenty of straight leg room – no more of those little bumps that forced one leg to become bowed on long flights. The seat is a “lie flat” but no matter how much research they put into making them comfortable, they always come up short. Some part of your anatomy is going to get jammed up against some sharp surface and become numb. Overall though the plusses outweighed the minuses and the flight was as good as a 10-hour flight can be.
The meal was something else altogether, and its presentation recalled the one cardinal rule of tech spec writing – always have someone try to do it from the instructions before deploying. The first course was a half a head of romaine lettuce on a plate of equal size and thus inedible – you couldn’t finesse it into bit sized pieces given the utensils and space. Second course was a small tenderloin done “Trump Style” but without catsup. Paired with an interesting succotash (if “interesting” and “succotash” can ever be used in the same sentence) made of Brussels Sprouts and what appeared to be barley. They try so hard, but honestly if their chefs were made to try and eat their masterworks, they’d see it was impossible. The dessert – chocolate mousse – saved it.
We arrived on time and naturally at the furthest gate possible but the terminal was completely empty and we took a leisurely stroll down to immigration for yet another Barajas Aeroport stamp.
The transfer was easy – followed the signs, took the train, went back through security again, set off the alarm, removed my belt, passed on the second attempt, went to the wrong lounge, found the correct lounge and here we are, waiting for the flight to show up on the board.







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