Friday, May 19, 2006

It was hot and muggy when I left Pullman, and the flight was the same. The discomfort was alleviated only by the aerial view of the beautiful green and brown rolling hills of the Palouse, and of Mount Rainier, still clad in snow despite this recent heat wave. In Seattle, I boarded the airport train to get to the S concourse for the SAS flight to Copenhagen. There, I met up with four members of the NWPR tour, but we didn’t have much time to chat before boarding. I was cramped in the middle of the middle row, and the Scandinavian man next to me has fallen asleep after consuming staggering quanitites of alcohol. His elbow is digging into my side. I’ve tried prodding him gently. but it took a pretty sharp nudge to wake him to allow me to make my way to the bathroom.

Now, nearly four hours into the flight, I’ve gone through nearly a third of the Da Vinci Code and felt the need to blog. There’s wireless internet on board (SAS says as of March 2005, it was the world’s first airline to offer wireless on board its entire intercontinental fleet.) but alas, one has to pay a minimum of ten bucks to go online, so I’m recording this as a text document, and I’ll post it online once I get a wireless connection on terra firma.

It’s been over ten years since I’ve been on an intercontinental flight. One feature I found entertaining on this flight is the individual video screen in the seatbacks. The safety demo was easy to see, and one can choose from a menu of different movies. But what I found most entertaining (before the novelty wore off an hour later) were the two live cams mounted on the fuselage itself – one at the front of the plane, and one below. It helped to relieve a little of the claustrophobic seating situation, and gives some measure of democratic viewing to those not privileged to have window seats.

The moving map and flight data are great. I like knowing that I’m somewhere over northern Canada, east of the Gulf of Boothia and moving in an arc south of Baffin Island. The ground speed is 566 mph at 33 thousand feet, and that the outside temperature is an unbelievable minus 68 Fahrenheit!!

(Note: I wrote the blog above on board the SAS flight, but am posting it now from my hotel in Milan.)

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