Things With Wings

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  • KAL's Lucky New A380
    Posted by Jennifer Michels 3:22 AM on Aug 11, 2011

    I usually resist saying something good happened because it was luck, but that was exactly my thought as I headed home from JFK to Washington Dulles after a flight from Seoul on Korean Airlines' new A380 this week that marked the first time an airline has put an A380 into service between New York and Asia.

    blog post photo
    Photo by Jennifer Michels

    This, KAL's second A380 (the first is now flying to Tokyo and Hong Kong), is a lucky airplane. Why? Because as I sat Monday Aug. 8 in the airport Hyatt in Seoul, watching trees blowing sideways from a typhoon that didn't do nearly as much damage to the S. Korean city as it did to China, I wondered how in the world we were going to fly out the next morning.

    blog post photo
    Photo by Jennifer Michels of KAL's new Absolute vodka bar in Prestige Class

    I awoke Tuesday morning to peace and quiet and in calm winds and overcast skies, the A380 took off for JFK in an uneventful, smooth flight that landed exactly on time in New York. I thought to myself, wow, one day earlier and this celebration may not have taken place.

    blog post photo
    Photo by Jennifer Michels

    Ahh, good to be back in the states.

    Then, after clearing Customs in 10 minutes with the friendliest of officers (how refreshing that was!), a colleague and I headed for the dreaded armpit of JFK--that little Delta parcel between terminals 2 and 3 where tarps hang from the roofs to collect dripping rainwater and it takes 60 minutes to snake through a security line only 30 feet long, or so.

    This is where, it would seem, DL agents working the ropes like ruling their little fiefdom just a tad too much, almost enjoying your misery. Nothing in this sliver of the airport makes any sense, including watching bored TSA agents stare at the wall, never considering trying to be proactive to help change this situation. "Well it doesn't really matter, you know this part of the airport won't be here much longer," was the response of one.

    Ahh, welcome to the states.

    Once through that little bit of hell, a new hell was unfolding. Severe storms had blown in less than 3 hours after that sleek A380 landed to water cannons and flashing cameras of tourists in the terminal.

    While a colleague's flight to DCA was cancelled and he ended up finding his way to Penn Station for the 4-hour Amtrak ride home because there were no other seats to Washington for the rest of the day, I sat on a Pinnacle flight to Dulles, bumping and banging its way through that storm all the way home.

    So, yes, a lucky plane indeed. Or perhaps, after this arduous journey that involved a new aviation experience for me, learning about a culture I know little about, and seeing a new part of the world, perhaps I should say that I was the lucky one.

    Tags: tw99, KAL, Korean, A380, Seould

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