So flights to Europe are around 8-9 hours. It'll take you a little longer to get to Eastern Europe and a few hours more to get to China. However, to get to Thailand it meant 21 hours on a plane, straight! Depending on what airline you choose and what city you leave from there are many ways to get to Thailand. However, being committed to Delta airlines like we are and leaving from Atlanta, the busiest airport in the world, we were lucky to get to take Korean Air.
Now, you may say, airlines are all the same, the only difference is whether you get pretzels, peanuts, or nothing at all. Well folks, that is pretty much only true in the good ole U.S.A. European and Asian airlines still have this thing called customer service and I'm convinced that no one does flying as well as Korean Air.
Alan left the day before I did and spent a 1 and a half day layover in Seoul, Korea. He got to sleep off his jet lag a little and spend a day exploring Seoul. I was super jealous of his extra stop and even though I have seen the pictures he took, he'll have to write about that experience on his own.
So, when it was finally my turn to head out I was on my own until Korea. I was waiting at the gate in Atlanta, with the hundreds of people that fill one of those enormous planes, and all of a sudden everyone slowly stopped what they were doing and turned to face the walkway area of the terminal. Turns out the Korean Air flight staff were approaching the gate and it was like something out of a movie. In a perfect single file line, with beautiful uniforms and neatly pulled back hair, what appeared to be porcelain dolls made their way on to the plane. Now, I wasn't around back in the day when people saw flying as something special and got dressed up for the occasion, but after seeing the Korean Air flight staff, I can only imagine it was something like that. And that was just the beginning. For 17.5 hours that crew took care of everything from making sure I had my gluten free meals (a flight that long meant 4 meals) to keeping everyone's wine glasses full, to pacing the aisles soothing unhappy babies. It was amazing to see them take ownership of the flight the way they did. And for the first time when I have left the flight and said "Thank you" to the crew on my out, I honestly meant it.
Alan and I met up in Seoul and spent a short layover in the Priority Club before getting back on a plane and finishing out the journey. I have to say, that the last 3 hours of the 21 were the hardest. I've never wanted to get up and walk around so badly, I was more than ready for our adventure to begin. Little did I know that when I stepped off that plane I was going to quickly realize that flying for 21 hours really does land you on the other side of the world.