This Is My First Time Leaving My Home

Boeing 787-8 in JapanWhile on a flight from Tokyo to Houston recently, I was reading an article in Business Traveler magazine about saying hello to your seat mates, which I always do. It was intriguing as the editor had met a Congressman from his state who gave him a ride into Washington, D.C. I could relate to the parking lot he mentioned as when I worked at Washington-National (DCA) [my first airline job], I was not allowed to park there and had to park about 15 minutes away then take the airport for employees back to the terminal. This was always annoying, but I digress.

As I finished the article, I leaned over and said hello to the young man at the window. This was my second encounter as he was sitting in the aisle as he thought it was the “A” seat. I could see how he was confused since the numbers said the indicator said “CBA” instead of “ABC”. Although there is a break in the vertically carved line next to “A” to indicate the window.

Palau BeachHe had flown from Koror, Palau (ROR); his destination is Denver, CO (DEN). As it turns out, this is his first trip leaving Palau in his 26 years. He mentioned that he was a bit scared when landing in Yap (YAP) as it was a steep descent. Yup, landing in Yap can be adventurous. I could feel his excitement; just imagine, he’d been bursting since landing in Yap to tell someone about his fantastic experience. I was equally excited for him.

He was very descriptive about the airplanes he had flown, noting that the first flight was on a small plane (I told him it was a pretty big one, a Boeing 737). Then he said he was on one that was a 2-4-2, I told him it had to be a 2-3-2 and it was a Being 767. Now he’s on a Boeing 777 with 3-3-3 he says, that’s really big.

He showed me his bag tag and noted that it had been written by hand. I remember my first time in Palau; my boarding pass was written by hand as the machine was not working :-). Who knows why his bag tag receipt was hand-written.

His baggage tag read: ROR to YAP to GUM to NRT to IAH to DEN; wow! Nice for a first flight itinerary. Mine was KIN-FDF and I was about 9; I think we stopped somewhere on the way, may have been Haiti (PAP).

I showed him the system map from the inflight magazine, noting that we would pass Denver on the way to Houston. We also re-traced his route on the map. He did mention that there was thought to route him via Honolulu, HI (HNL), but the flights would not work.

The flight attendant came by with drinks. I asked about the beverage policy on this flight as I did not hear it clearly when the Lead Flight Attendant mentioned it earlier. He said that beer and wine were complimentary, but mixed spirits were 7 USD. I had some water no ice and a white wine. He asked my seat mate what he wanted. He shrugged his shoulders and then asked for some water refusing the pretzel that was placed on his chair table. I mentioned to the fight attendant that it was the guy’s third flight of his first airplane trip; “long day,” replied the flight attendant, not as enthused as I was. I asked him if he could remember his first flight; no answer. I don’t think he was in the mood for conversation; at least not with me anyways.

Can you remember your first commercial flight? What was the routing? How excited were you? Please leave a comment below.

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