Japan pt.2 — A Detour

Over a month has passed since my initial post, and it’s almost time for me to get going. But not quite to Japan yet; I’m making a stop in Delaware to visit family for Christmas, and that one little wrench means that my flight itinerary is one hell of a beast.

The direct flight from SEA to PHL is the only calm part of the entire trip, and after a week of relaxing at home I’ve got a veritable Gordian Knot of flights and connections to finally make my way to HND outside of Tokyo. So let’s take a minute to go over it.

I return home to Seattle via another direct flight from PHL, which arrives at 8:45PM local time. From there I have a 12-hour connection to get to LAX, which I plan on spending asleep at my apartment. Another 12 hours then I get to go to SFO, and 10 hours after that, finally leave for HND. The only connection that should be particularly painful will be the one in SFO, though, since a friend in LA is going to pick me up at LAX and we’ll hang out for a while there.

The return trip a couple weeks later is the same airports in reverse, though with much more reasonable layovers of two hours and four hours before getting back to Seattle.

So why on Earth would I do this to myself? Simple answer: because my friends are.

If everyone else was booking murderous itineraries, would you?

By the time I had joined in on this trip planning, they had found and booked the itinerary starting from LAX. No way in hell was I going to spend a long international flight alone, so regardless of the connection pain I booked the same one and chose nearby seats. All that’s left is to actually fly it.

Now what have I done to prepare myself for the ordeal? Quite a lot, actually. I invested in a pair of noise-canceling headphones (not least because I already have tinnitus), loaded up my phone with 30 hours of music, bought the new Pokémon Moon, and scoured the Internet for international travel tips.

One of those tips honestly really surprised me, because I hadn’t thought about it before: on these long flights, it’s expected that the passengers will regularly move about, so it’s important to schedule your own moving time at “low-demand” periods. It makes sense; a 777 cramped with a couple hundred people for the greater part of a day, you’d definitely need to loosen up at times throughout the flight, and everyone will use the lavatory at least once. I’ve never been on such a large aircraft, so I expect that I’ll find some quirky enjoyment out of studying the behaviors of people on it.

With all that out of the way, where do I stand now? Well, currently it’s 1:31AM, my flight to PHL leaves in seven hours, and I’m still doing laundry while I write this. I should be able to get to sleep by 2:30, giving me a couple hours of shuteye before I wake up to get this vacation started.

And it finally feels real.

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