New Personal Flight Records Broken Today

least load factor, first lie-flat seat

i was supposed to go [tooltip title=”” content=”San Francisco” type=”classic” ]SFO[/tooltip]-[tooltip title=”” content=”Los Angeles” type=”classic” ]LAX[/tooltip]-[tooltip title=”” content=”Washington DC – Dulles” type=”classic” ]IAD [/tooltip](and then on to [tooltip title=”” content=”Dubai” type=”classic” ]DXB[/tooltip] and [tooltip title=”” content=”Doha” type=”classic” ]DOH[/tooltip]). i think at the SFO-LAX flight was oversold so they called me up to the lounge desk and had me speak with a gate agent handling that flight.

she put me on a direct SFO-IAD flight on a three-class plane, in full-fare business (not just the upgrade bucket), meaning 150% PQM. (i was number one on the upgrade list for first, but they didn’t run it, and eh, i was totally fine with this arrangement).

this was the seat map about an hour before departure:


as it turns out, this was a one-off flight, i’m guessing for aircraft positioning (they don’t normally fly 777s on that route as far as i can tell), that held mostly people who were victims of a mechanical delay (cancellation?). i overheard a flight attendant say he was called at 4:30 in the morning, and at that time the manifest had 25 people on it.

in any case, definitely no complaints here, though the way you have to angle your feet to fit into that little pocket especially when you’re in flat mode is a bit awkward. but compared to my next flight (below), it was heaven!

photo (3)

longest flight

i normally connect in Europe or East Asia, so this was my longest non-stop: IAD-DXB, twelve and a half hours, 7,069 miles, which i had to do in a middle seat : (on the exact same type of plane i just had with the sweet upgrade). i don’t know what happened to my aisle seat, but my guess is something changed when i got moved to that direct SFO-IAD flight. when i tried to board the computer responded with something along the lines of “PASSENGER NOT FOUND” at which point the agent did a lot of typing and out popped a boarding pass with 24B. i should have complained (DYKWIA?!), but he seemed harried and i got a big undeserved bonus from United earlier in the day (related to the flight mentioned above, not related to the upgrade) so i sucked it up.


I apologize for my pale legs.


it wasn’t too bad, especially since it was a long overnight red-eye so i was sort of sleepy and the movie options on the upgraded IFE were pretty decent.

shortest flight in a widebody plane (maybe even shortest flight in a jet-powered plane?)

DXB-DOH, 238 miles. though this was a continuation of the IAD-DXB, pretty much everyone got off in Dubai so the plane was pretty empty.

(edit: i’ve done IAD-PHL at 135 miles, in a regional jet)



12 Comments on "New Personal Flight Records Broken Today"

  1. Hi ! I happened across your blog quite by accident, it’s just funny that I was just flying this morning. Anyway, this post reminded me of my possible worst trip ever : also stuck in a middle seat on an aircraft of low-cost company Iceland Express from LGW to KEF. No room to move at ALL. Like they really do make the most of the space. Good thing was, the flight was only 3 hours long. Also I have big legs so I always run into problems, I mean the seat in front, and can’t really afford to go economy plus as they call it. I just make do with the exit seats, haha.

    • hey clem! ack!! that doesn’t sound pleasant at all!!! at least yeah, i had economy plus. i will be on several flights this year in regular economy (not plus), for quite long as well. i’m booked in aisle seats and hopefully they’ll stick!

      i was looking through your twitter pics and saw you like berlin hbf! yes, i love that station too!!!

      • Haha I’m a train nerd, actually. I don’t mind flying, I flew a lot myself (when I was a student in Austria : basically doing round-trips ORY-VIE would cost 40ish euros / CDG-VIE in the 100s for a 80-min flight while a train from Paris to Vienna would cost 160+ (x2 for a round trip) and take 18 hours (that train actually no longer runs). So yeah I like trains but not THAT much ;P Berlin Hbf is a cool station, it is 😀

        • hehe yeah i studied in germany for two years and LOVED being able to fly places for €40 round trip!!!

          • Yeah, that doesn’t happen anymore. Some low cost companies like Sky Europe went bankrupt, and the remaining ones are either awful (Ryanair this is for you), or have hidden costs everywhere (40 € round trip. + 20 to pay with a credit card. + 20 for luggage. + 20 for seat fees. + they fly from a distant airport so you have to get there too. Etc). It’s actually cheaper now to fly Air France from Paris to Vienna (150ish euros) than low cost’s Air Berlin (90 advertised, but over 160 in the end).

            One of my best trips, though, was LGA-MSY with Delta 3 years ago. $100 and just easy does it.

          • ahh yeah they were starting with the fees when i lived there but i can imagine it’s only gotten worse now 🙁

          • Yeah it’s hard for small trips. High-speed train such as TGV, ICE and the likes are also good alternatives, unless there’s a mountain in the middle of your trip. I like that there’s less hassle (stations downtown, less security, no boarding per se) but their prices are also skyrocketing unless you can plan well in advance. Ah well 🙁

          • yeah with german rail at least if you book far enough in advance you can get 50% off your ticket. i LOOOOVVEEE high speed trains, maybe even more than planes!

          • if you ask me the main issue with german rail (DB) is that they’re not a member of Rail Plus, which makes all discounts and other advantages owed to Rail Plus… drop. Yeah just like that.

          • oh that’s too bad!!! 🙁 i remember they had bahn.comfort and bahn.bonus programs, but you would think with railteam they would take part in a more europe-wide loyalty scheme 🙁

          • No I meant Rail Plus not Railteam (Railteam is more or less like Skyteam or Star Alliance, but for european train companies, minus the customer care). DB is part of Railteam (along with SNCF (France), SNCB (Belgium), ÖBB (Austria), SBB CFF (Switzerland), NS (The Netherlands) and Thalys, Lyria and Eurostar). To get any kind of discount on DB, you needed the DB Bahnkarte. On the other hand, Rail Plus cards such as the SNCF cards or ÖBB Vorteilskarte, that give discounts on other Rail Plus networks, wouldn’t work there or on any trip that included part of the DB network.

            Hopefully some day Railteam will introduce customer stuff, cards and all, that would be nice !

          • Oh yeah that’s what I meant–that with their participation in Railteam you would think they would also participate in Rail Plus.

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