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Monday, December 05, 2005

19 hours as a human pretzel

in-flight pretzel snacks

Being tall has its advantages. You can usually get a good view at concerts, you don't have to take up the hem on your jeans, and you can always reach the top shelf at the supermarket.

But when it comes to flying, the vertically challenged have the last laugh (or slumber, lucky things).

Checking in for my flight to New York was relatively uneventful. The queues at check-in were a little slow...

Air Tahiti Nui check-in

but my flight was good to go.

flight information screen

The Air Tahiti plane was ready for boarding (yes, that's two Qantas jets behind it)...

Air Tahiti and Qantas on the tarmac
and we did take-off... eventually. About an hour late, as everyone's stomachs began to rumble.

We were momentarily quietened with pretzels before the familiar smell of warming "aeroplane food" wafted towards the back of the plane.

Air Tahiti lunch
Penne with chicken in a tomato sauce with green beans;
smoked salmon on potato salad;
cheesecake slice in a berry sauce;
and a bread roll, crackers and cheese.

Aeroplane food is always consistently... drab. It's a tough call to serve up palatable pre-cooked meals. The salmon and the cheesecake were pretty good I have to say.

There was another meal too: a snack of pizza (it took me a while to work out what it was) and a serve of fruit salad before we touched down at Papeete, Tahiti after 7 hours and 15 minutes hurtling through the skies.

Tahitian ukele performers

The Tahitian ukele singers were welcome entertainment but it was a quick transfer to another plane bound for New York, a smaller Airbus. This one still had individual in-flight entertainment screens, but the Trivia Game wasn't interactive on this one. I'd had a good series of rounds against seats 27E, 27F, 29B and 36G =)

There was more food... using food to break the boredom? Well I never! =)

Air Tahiti dinner
Stuffed hake fish with ginger sauce and saffron rice with vegetables;
shrimp quenelle and marinated cucumber salad;
coconut cake; and a bread roll.

(It was about as appetising as it looks)

Air Tahiti breakfast
Buttered crepes with guava compote;
teriyaki sliced chicken breat with cucumber and peppers;
fresh tropical fruit salad; and a bread roll with jam.

The crepes were super sweet, and I couldn't taste any guava but the flaked almonds were pretty tasty.

Most entertainment value during the flight was not the movies (I wept pathetically throughout In Her Shoes) but the US Customs declaration form. Click on the pic below to see an enlarged version in flickr.

US Customs declaration

And then finally, finally, after 19 hours of sleep-smattered contortioning, we landed at New York's JFK.

New York had received its first snowfall late Saturday night and all was white and Christmassy. My first view of New York on ground level was thus:

JFK tarmac with snow

So even though I'd been in the air 19 hours plus transfer times, I arrived in New York only 4 hours after I'd left Sydney.

Forget the whacked-out body clock.

It was time to eat.

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posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 12/05/2005 11:50:00 pm


  • At 1/12/2006 10:40 pm, Blogger fooDcrazEE said…

    Helen, i believe all airplanes meal are the same.

    Not appetizing at all !

  • At 1/13/2006 3:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Singapore Airlines is the bomb! They serve the best airline food!

  • At 1/13/2006 1:04 pm, Anonymous Michelle said…

    check what your meal will look like BEFORE you fly!


  • At 1/14/2006 1:20 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi foodcrazee - Sad but true! =) Altho' some meals are much better than others.

    Hi Anonymous - Singapore is definitely one of my favourite airlines. Alas they had no cheap flights to NYC =)

    Hi Michelle - I actually did look at this site to check out Air Tahiti's food before I left. It's fascinating!

  • At 1/16/2006 3:13 am, Blogger OsloFoodie said…

    Thanks for the photos of the aeroplane food, I know it's drab but I'm still curious! The stuffed hake fish with ginger sauce doesn't look half bad though.

  • At 1/16/2006 9:39 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Oslofoodie - Yeah airplane is endlessly fascinating. You know it's not gonna be great, but there's something so intriguing about the various offerings on the standard meal tray.

  • At 8/01/2007 11:56 pm, Anonymous Lin said…

    19 hours? what was the route? I took Singapore Airlines and it was a long way
    Sydney - Singapore: 8 hours with 2 hours transit
    Singapore - Frankfurt: 13 hours with 2 hours transit
    Frankfurt - New York: 7 hours


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