NY08 Day 0

Another trip to the US. Unusually, I’m traveling with my office-mate and fellow Metaverse Evangelist, Ian. We tend not to travel together much (there’s more value in us doing our thing individually), but this trip takes in upstate New York for some team meetings before we move on to Manhattan for Thursday and Friday for the Virtual Worlds 2008 conference.

Today’s flight was delayed for about half an hour because of a delayed inbound flight, then for another 20 minutes on the runway because of unexpected ‘congestion’ between the terminal and the sky. This congestion is a constant source of surprise, not to mention annoyance and frustration, at London’s glamorous Heathrow airport. You’d think it would be possible to plan things in such a way that planes are able to take off at an allocated time. I’m always tempted to offer some help with logistics in such situations. I mean, how hard can this be?

New AA inflight entertainment system

American Airlines: ‘we know why you fly‘. Presumably we fly because we have to be somewhere else, quickly. What does this sinister ‘we know why you fly’ tag line even mean? I certainly don’t fly because American Airlines makes it enjoyable for me to do so, that’s for sure.

Speaking of which, American Airlines recently(?) upgraded their in-flight entertainment system. It’s still relatively crappy compared to Virgin Atlantic, but there is at least a slightly better choice now and you can join films on multiple overlapping runs rather than enduring the plane-wide multi track tape to end. On the downside, even if the person in the next seat is watching the same film, you’re not not necessarily watching the same part of the film at the same time, so there’s no longer the strange bonding experience of laughing quietly along with strangers.

Between my usual self-entertainment activities (reading books, playing Nintendo DS and listening to ‘Jordan Jesse Go!’ podcasts), I opted to watch ‘Juno’ on this fancy new, but rather cheaply designed, in-flight entertainment system. The standout line, in a film with many, is the exclamation “Phuket Thailand!”. It’s a charming film which made me laugh as well and very nearly made me cry, though not quite. Bonus extra: great soundtrack with lots of Belle and Sebastian. I think lilsmack might enjoy it. If nothing else, because the lead character (the eponymous Juno) reminds me very much of her. When she was 16, I bet she was just like Juno. Though probably less pregnant. Sadly, it (or at least my experience of it) ended unexpectedly after 60 minutes with a ‘service temporarily unavailable’ error. Pesky new entertainment system. As with the cleaned up version of ‘No Country for Old Men’ the in-flight movie mainly makes me want to watch it at home at some point. It’s like a trailer.

The ‘bathroom’ on the plane contains two paper bags. Something I’ve seen before on AA flights. These are similar in appearance to massive teabags, but instead of delicious and refreshing tea they clearly contain some sort of foul-smelling potpourri. I appreciate that they do something to combat the naturally lingering foul-smelling toilet smells, but they don’t seem to smell much better than, well, poop. In fact, in conjunction with the poopy smells they make matters considerably worse.

I’ve arrived at the first hotel for the trip (the Danbury Sheraton) and am getting an early night. There’s a long week ahead.

3 replies on “NY08 Day 0”

  1. Ugh, I dislike AA, mainly for their luggage-losing capabilities. Next weekend I’m trying the new US Airways service out of Heathrow (which I believe is available due to BA shifting to T5, and the Open Skies policy allowing more airlines to run the transatlantic route).

    Emirates have a top-class in-flight entertainment system, incidentally, assuming you get one of their newer planes (we did on our recent holiday, at least we did for three out of the four flights it took to get us there and back). Massive choice, watch on-demand, great music selection too with recent album releases, classic albums, podcasts etc.. But, then, they don’t fly between the US and the UK.

    Surely the reason that the two of you don’t travel together is that metaverse singularities form in your wake when you do? :-)

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