Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In-Flight Addictions Have No Cure

Remember a few weeks back when I found myself in-flight for over 24 hours because I stupidly (actually, awesomely) scheduled two stopovers in HK and Taipei between here and Seoul? Oh no - you don't recall? Well I sure do, and what's more is how I'm still feeling the effects of those flights.

We aren't talking a simple case of jetlag, no. Instead, I found myself completely and utterly obsessed with the Cathay Pacific "Studio CX" entertainment system; it was so enthralling that I abandoned sleep in favor of hours and hours of teaching myself Mah Jongg and playing a British version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" I now know that the Queen Mother grew up at St. Pauls Waldenbury, thank you very much.

So now, because I love it, is a countdown of...

5. Airshow/ LiveMap
You know you love it; you tingle at the knowledge of being 33,000' over Tulsa, Oklahoma where the ground temperature is a balmy 85 degrees. The thing is, Cathay Pacific takes it a step further with a live camera underneath the nose of the plane, which becomes an entire channel. Zone out to your hearts content at sunrises (below) and the black horizon at Earth's curvature. Livemap is especially effective on long-haul routes, as focusing on it for an extended period of time almost doubles for sleep - or at least you'll have produced the same amount of drool.

4. Episodes of Flight of the Conchords
Because a red eye is no time for Def Comedy Jam. Airlines know they have to go heavy on the comedy shows. Ever watched CSI or the Sopranos in-flight, and thought to yourself: "jeez, I hope no one looks over at my screen during this part." Flight of the Conchords gives the perfect dose of dry humor, off-color jokes and new york location to make it a hit in the skies. And I'm pretty sure I caught my seatmate, a little Asian grandmother, glancing over during "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenocerous."

3. Battleship
It's simply quite an awesome, classic game. It requires little to no focus (perfect if you've hit the airport bar), you inherently know the rules, and sinking someone else's shi
p feels great. An added bonus: the Cathay Pacific Battleship game has a satisfying metallic "ddrrumpp" sounds when you place your boats.

2. Duty-Free for you and me
Shopping the friendly skies isn't just about flipping through SkyMall or ignoring the flight attendants when they pass through the cabin with boxes of Dunhill; in some parts of the world it is an anticipated event. Ok, this is mainly in Asia. Browsing through the Lotte Duty-Free Mall (yes, a mall, and there's more than one) in Seoul practically gives you a tan, what with the hot lights from banks of cosmetic counters and the m
ega-watt smiles of eager perfumers. It's not for me, but the ensuing craziness is fun to watch. Indispensable tip: If you purchase from the Lotte Duty-Free Mall, be sure to arrive extra EXTRA early for your flight at Incheon because the claim area for Lotte Duty-Free usually has a nightmare queue.

1. Episodes of My Super Sweet Sixteen
You know, I had never seen this show before I moved to NY. It was only during the moving process, with multiple roundtrips on JetBlue, where I became inconsolably addicted to the drama behind screechy teens and their leathery-tan parents. I'm sure I watched an entire season while 24,000' above Pennsylvania. This is the show to have on if you want to start a snarky dialogue with your seatmate.

...Now go book a flight to somewhere interesting. You might just catch a rousing episode of "Throwdown with Bobby Flay."

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