Flying to the ROK

Johnnie and I ended our trip to the States by spending a couple of nights in Chicago.  This is where we caught our direct flight back to the ROK, or the Republic of Korea.  On the way from Korea to the States, I flew on United Airlines and wasn't impressed.  For our trip back to Korea, we flew with Korean Air which is partnered with Delta.  Hellooo frequent flyer miles :)  I love flying Korean Air!  It's a looong flight but always an enjoyable one!

We were super lucky and had an empty seat next to us!

When you board the plane, you will find a blanket, a pillow, and a bottle of water on your seat.  After everyone is seated and settled, the flight attendants hand out little pouches containing disposable slippers, a toothbrush and toothpaste.  They will also hand out headphones.  This is all free :)

Korean Air flight attendants are super helpful and friendly!  They are truly the nicest flight attendants out of all the airlines I've ever flown on.

One of the best things about Korean Air is the individual screens on the back of every seat.  Our flight was over 13 hours but I was looking forward to it because of this little screen :)  It's the perfect opportunity to catch up on your movie watching!

You can watch movies, documentaries, and TV shows, listen to music, play games, see the news, shop, and view maps and information about your flight.  There is even a kid-friendly section with movies and games specifically for young passengers.

The Landscape Camera is awesome.  When you board the plane and get settled, find this feature and watch the forward camera as you are on the runway and taking off - it really adds to the experience!  Once in the air, the forward camera becomes a boring view of sky and clouds (picture of the small screen below on the left) but the downward camera is a fun show as long as there aren't clouds blocking the view (picture of the small screen below on the right).  It gives everyone, even those in the center section of seats, a chance to "look out the window" at the world below.

There are a variety of maps to view information about your flight.  You can see exactly where the plane currently is, the flight path, air speed, time to destination, etc.

On the map below you can see our flight path near the end of our trip.  All planes must stay out of North Korea's air space.

On the flights between the States and Korea, two meals are served.  There are always two options but you can arrange for an alternate meal (for example, vegetarian) when you purchase your ticket.

Our first meal had a Korean option and an American option.  The Korean option is often Bibimbap if it's an afternoon or evening meal.  I rolled with the Bibimbap on this flight which came with kimchi, fruit, seaweed soup, and the Bibimbap fixings.  To eat it properly, put some (or all) of the rice on top of the food in the larger bowl, add the pepper paste and sesame oil to your liking, and mix it all together.

One important thing to mention is that beer and wine are free on international flights.  I took advantage of that and had some white wine with all meals and snacks :)

Our second meal was actually a choice of two American options; chicken or lasagna.  I rolled with the chicken which came with potato salad, a roll, and a chocolate mousse dessert.  All of the meals come with a small empty mug.  After everyone has been served a meal, flight attendants come around with coffee and hot tea.  If you would like either, place your mug on the flight attendant's tray and she'll pour it for you.

There were drink or drink/snack services every couple hours during the flight.  Before our second meal, flight attendants handed out steamy hot little wet towels which were very refreshing after so many hours in the plane.

It was an enjoyable flight and we're safely back "home" on the ROK... at least for the next three or four months.  I spent a total of five weeks in the States and had a great time visiting with family and friends, shopping, and getting my fill of American food and dark beer.  Before I left, I wrote that I wondered what things would stick out the most about America.  Here are the top three things that did:

  1. The diversity.  There is such a mixture of races and cultures in America that everyone looks unique.  There are all shapes, sizes, and colors.  It really is a beautiful thing!
  2. Portion sizes.  The amount of food served on a plate in the restaurants in the States is HUGE.  I rarely walk away from a Korean restaurant saying "I'm stuffed" but in the States, I'd be stuffed and I'd still have food left on my plate.
  3. People sizes.   Americans, in general, are large people.  Perhaps you can blame it partially on the portion sizes mentioned above.  I certainly came back to Korea a few pounds heavier.

"There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain"
~The Beatles

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