Archive for the ‘Flying’ Category

The Traveling Richters on CNN.com

September 1st, 2010 at 9:17 am (AST) by Jake Richter

When we looked at the main page of CNN.com’s travel section this morning we were pleasantly surprised to find… Us! (Linda and myself, that is.)

CNN.com Travel Page with The Traveling Richters (September 1, 2010)

CNN.com Travel Page with The Traveling Richters (Sept. 1, 2010)

The photo on the CNN.com Travel home page links to an article about First Class dining experiences.

A reporter from CNN.com contacted us last week after finding our blog post about first class travel to Hong Kong, and interviewed me by phone for today’s CNN.com story.

The article by Ms. Pawlowski discusses how different an experience it is to dine in international first class cabins compared to lower cost sections of planes, and the effort that airlines make to ensure that their first class passengers have great dining options. Well worth a read as an incentive to use those frequent flier miles (or cash) collecting dust in your account.

In any case, it’s nice to see the final story on-line so soon, and we think it’s a great way to start September.

 

Traveling To Hong Kong, First Class

July 16th, 2010 at 10:07 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

The Traveling Richters are well traveled, and thanks to many years’ accumulation of frequent flyer miles and various elite status memberships with certain airlines, we usually manage to upgrade our flights to first class on U.S. domestic routes as well as to/from Bonaire, our home in the Caribbean. That said, we have never traveled trans-ocean in international first class. Until now.

On our current trip to Hong Kong and Macau, Linda and I had the privilege (thanks to 125,000 American AAdvantage miles per ticket) to fly international first class across the Pacific. Oh my. What a difference that is from cattle economy class!

On the Cathay Pacific 747 we flew on from San Francisco to Hong Kong last weekend, the first class cabin has nine seats and two dedicated cabin attendants who made us feel very loved (thank you Geri and Patrick!).

Flight time was nearly 13 hours, with a 5:30pm departure (our flight was about three hours late), and a roughly 10pm arrival (one day later due to crossing the International Date Line). That’s a pretty long flight, and the seats in first class were perfect to accommodate the flight time.

Linda in her first class pod on Cathay Pacific, with champagne and newspaper in hand

Linda in her first class pod on Cathay Pacific, with champagne and newspaper in hand

Each seat is basically a pod that offers a number of amenities, including the ability to create a flat bed long enough for even my 6’3” body. There’s also a bench opposite the main seat where a travel companion can join you for a meal (or they can sit, a bit snugly, next to you). Of course, there’s also a 17” LCD display, and dozens of on demand program options.

Jake reading his newspaper in his pod

Jake reading his newspaper in his pod

To further make your flight as comfortable as possible, the airline provides a complimentary set of pajamas, custom made by designer/retailer Shanghai Tang, and cabin staff will make your “bed” for you with a comfortable mattress pad, pillows, and even a snuggle-worthy duvet. The only thing they didn’t have were slippers in my size (13 US).

Nap time for Jake, fully reclined, in Shanghai Tang designed jammies

Nap time for Jake, fully reclined, in Shanghai Tang designed jammies

Add to all that a couple of multi-course meals and a snack service, along with a very nice wine list, and you have a recipe for a wonderful and relaxing travel experience. The only minor complaint we had was that the asparagus was mushy – that’s pretty bearable considering everything else.

Dinner for two on Cathay Pacific

Dinner for two on Cathay Pacific

Salmon and caviar for our appetizer in first class on Cathay Pacific

Salmon and caviar for our appetizer in first class on Cathay Pacific

The only real negative we see now is that we are spoiled and will be hard pressed to fly mere coach class. Sadly, even a large supply of frequent flyer miles will run out at some point. But, if you have the miles to spend (or the money), spoil yourself with international first class on a great service-oriented airline like Cathay Pacific.

 

Taking Separate Trips

July 10th, 2010 at 4:42 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

It’s now a third of the way into July, and Linda and I find ourselves childless. It’s kind of a strange feeling, but liberating as well.

Bas is back in New Hampshire with his maternal grandparents, who have the pleasure of taking him to his first-ever overnight camp – two weeks of learning robotics, designing video games, and exploring his potential.

We just got word from Krystyana that she arrived safe but exhausted in Beijing earlier today. She’s in China for three weeks with 11 other teenagers and a couple of guides as part of National Geographic Student Expeditions. She will be spending her time looking at Chinese culture on a local, intimate level as well as honing her photographic skills. Her group has a blog set-up, and there should be occasional posts about their activities, as well as the ability to get e-mail notification of new posts – look at http://ngsechina2010.wordpress.com.

And Linda and I are presently at San Francisco International Airport awaiting our flight to Hong Kong, having flown in this morning from Los Angeles. We’ll be spending five nights and four days (not a typo) Kowloon-side, then three days in Macau, and another three or so days on the island of Hong Kong itself. Not much in particular is planned other than two dinners at reportedly excellent restaurants and a full day cooking class learning the ins and outs of Hunan and Sichuan/Szechuan cuisine. I will try to report on those experiences over at A Foodie Moment at some point.

No guarantees on regular updates here on the blog, especially if we’re having too much fun as a pair of temporarily childless parents.

http://www.ngstudentexpeditions.com/

 

Back Home Once Again On Bonaire

March 13th, 2010 at 4:59 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

After almost exactly five weeks of travel The Traveling Richters finally made it back home, in a trip that spanned the South American continent twice, touched below the Antarctic circle, and went as far north as Atlanta, Georgia, where we connected from Miami this morning.

It’s going to take a while to get used to the humidity and heat here on Bonaire, but it will be welcome.

Even more welcome will be hooking up with friends visiting Bonaire this week, including new friends Doug and Erin whom we met in Charleston around New Year’s, and old friend Todd with his significant other Jenna (whom we’ve not met in person but corresponded with) when they come in via a cruise ship later this week.

I had hoped to post a GPS track from Miami to Bonaire, but we didn’t have a window seat from Atlanta, and our GPS wouldn’t read satellites from the middle of the plane.

I am still planning on getting more photos from our travels posted here in the coming week. Now that I have a real Internet connection I should be able to get more photos on Flickr too. So please stay tuned.

And for those of you who asked about our next big trip – no idea yet. Krystyana is off to China for most of July with National Geographic, and we’re not sure what we’ll be doing, but if you have suggestions, let us know.

 

GPS Tracking – Ushuaia to Miami via Bolivia and Peru

March 9th, 2010 at 1:20 am (AST) by Jake Richter

I guess we were more tired than I thought. The 17+ hours of time in transit over the weekend (not counting the couple of hours it took to board the plane in Ushuaia after leaving the ship) wore us out.

After picking up a rental mini-van in Miami early yesterday morning, we rented a hotel room just to sleep for a few hours, did some important shopping at Walmart (extra luggage, among other things), and dined on spicy wings at Hooters (I’m a big fan of hot wings, and in fact have one of the top 10 recipes returned by Google for “buffalo wing recipe”). We then moved on to our final hotel in Coconut Grove for the rest of the week, where we happened to bump into a couple of our fellow travelers, by coincidence.

I’m getting my notebook motherboard replaced tomorrow, but hope to have time to post some more pictures as well as write something up for the folks at Lindblad while I wait for the repairman to show up.

In the meanwhile, below is our GPS track from Ushuaia, which took us to a refueling stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a refueling and crew change stop in Lima, Peru, and then our eventual safe landing in Miami, plus our running around there.

This will be our last GPS track for the current expedition (unless I decide to include one for our return to Bonaire on Saturday).

 

We Have Arrived In Miami!

March 7th, 2010 at 5:44 am (AST) by Jake Richter

After over 17 hours of travel from Ushuaia, we just touched down in Miami, tired, but happy.

More later today after we get some real sleep and get settled into our hotel in Coconut Grove.