I suppose that nothing in life comes free. I utilized frequent flyer miles to get back to Namibia this month and my experience was yet another adventure for the blog and for future gasp-inducing tale-sharing. My flights were all classified as “Reward Travel,” but I found many of the “rewards” questionable.
I spent a total of 32 hours in the air and an additional 12+ hours in five different airports over my three day “Reward Travel” journey back to Namibia. I left Los Angeles International Airport on the morning of Tuesday, 5 January and arrived at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windoek, Namibia on the evening of Thursday, 7 January.
Ten(10) Lessons I Learned
1. Do everything you can to NOT have a center or middle seat during such a long flight. Call the airline each day and beg if you think it will help your case.
2. Use (your mother’s) additional miles to get BUSINESS CLASS accommodations when the trip is this long. The benefits on the plane make the flights bearable and the benefits extend to the airports, cushioning the wait time between flights.
3. Singapore Changi Airport is the bomb! FREE mints, FREE movie theaters, FREE game zones, FREE internet, rooftop swimming pool, (butterfly, orchid, cactus) gardens and clean areas for relaxation(including FREE chair massages), FREE city shuttle and arranged tours (though my wait was not long enough to take it), and more.
4. Ask a flight attendance to tell you the actual contents of the Japanese appetizer mixer bowl served with the in-flight lunch plate BEFORE you ingest it all.
5. Always keep airsick bags in your purse (probably related to lesson #4 above)
6. Each time the drink cart passes, request boxed juices, even if you are not thirsty, to build a ready arsenal to “unparch” yourself when you finally wake up, the lights are off, everyone is sleeping, and you don’t want to risk annoying the mess out of all the other passengers (and stewards) with call-buttons, lights, and conversations (although the unparching can lead to a potty trip, which will wake everyone up anyway).
7. The "succulent sandwiches" on the light meals menu for Singapore Airlines are actually quite succulent, namely the curry chicken and the tuna. Two thumbs up for fresh potato bread!
8. Two mini-pints of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia may not be the best closer to the four-course, in-flight, Japanese dinner, with the mystery seafoods.
9. Singapore Airlines serves ice cream! (cautions noted in lesson #8 above)
10. Try to smile and take cheap comfort in the fact that the year is not 1510 and your intercontinental, overseas travel is not available solely by donkey(land) and boat(sea).
Nevertheless, when I reached Windhoek, Namibia, I stayed in my hotel and slept for the good majority of three straight days, only rising to tend to my most basic needs. I had another 4.5-hour drive to reach my house in Khorixas, Namibia on day four….It will take a while to get back into a regular sleep-wake-work schedule.