Saturday, October 6, 2012

Behind The Curtain!

Since we fly back to "Ketelsen East", our little place in the woods of St Charles, every couple months, that means that in the 4+ years we've been married, we've made the trip 20+ times.  Sometimes the trip can be a trial (the tornado in Dallas comes to mind, where we slept in the airport and it took about 24 hours to get to Chicago).  So we have our favorite non-stop flights to and from O'Hare, and are always on the watch for fare sales since we're always looking for a bargain.

But this trip, as Melinda was checking into the flight, she was offered a First Class upgrade!  I've never flown First Class, and she's only been once before, so it was quite the deal - and quite the upgrade in treatment!  She won't tell me what she had to pay, but suspect it about doubled the price of our coach tickets.  But it was a great time.  Now realize I've not had what I consider a meal in an airplane for about 2 decades, but here it was white cloth napkins all the way!  The picture at left shows Melinda enjoying her cup full (!) of warm nuts served once in the air, and at right is our choice of meals - Min went for the steak and cheesy potatoes, and I went for the chicken breast over salad.  And we also had a cranberry oatmeal cookie (warm, of course) for dessert!  And of course, there was a bottomless supply of beer, wine or soft drinks, though I couldn't quite order anything other than my usual diet Pepsi...  It was also interesting to observe the changes in security, since it was the first time I've been in front of the plane in decades.  The flight attendants barricaded the aisle with the beverage cart and stood guard while the pilot came out of the cockpit to use the bathroom.  Interesting!

Even the windows seemed larger, and certainly cleaner than any I've observed through in Coach.  Perhaps it was the extra 8"-10" of extra knee room...  I could barely touch the seat in front of me rather than in coach where the reclining seat in front of me is wedged against my knees!  So with Melinda coming off night shift and likely napping, I took the window and watched the country scroll by, starting with cruising past downtown Tucson at left.  We had a nice view from the train station at upper left to the Convention Center at the right edge.  The dome of the old courthouse is visible at lower left center.   While it was clear most of the trip, we had some really interesting clouds the last few hundred miles, and I took the opportunity to take some cloud hyperstereo pictures.  These are 3D pictures where the baseline between the photos is likely several miles to get depth in distant cloud banks.  And these were very nice multiple-level clouds that shows good stereo depth in them.

As always, these 3D pictures are presented for cross-eyed viewing.  Cross your eyes slightly so that you view the left picture with your right eye, and the right picture with your left eye.  As you do so you should see a center image that will snap into a 3D stereo view.  It is the easiest way I've found to present a pair of images for folks to view depth.  We landed in deep overcast and heavy drizzle, but the view from on high was the highlight of the trip.  We're currently enjoying the fall colors and temperatures, and expect a couple more posts of those in the coming days.  Unfortunately, we're going back in coach - can't live the First Class life forever!

1 comment:

cary kittrell said...

I was upgraded to First Class once, due to an ice storm that pretty much paralyzed the east coast.

It was my impression that no regular passengers were allowed to board as long as anyone in First Class remained sober.