Sunday, July 1, 2007

Flying in Style, like Beyonce and Bruuuuuce

What do NBA basketball players Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, pop stars Beyonce, Jay-Z, Phil Collins, Bruce Sprinsgteen (BRUUUUUCE!), and Saudi royalty have in common with KT and I? You'll have to read this entry for the answer but there's a hint in the picture above.
So, first, I must echo my lovely wife's beautiful writing about both loving and hating our trip home--but onto the details KT left out. Despite getting in later than planned (thanks Maxjet), I was up bright and early on Friday to play golf with the bride and groom. I think I hit my ball into about half of the sand traps on the course and there were a lot of traps. It was not pretty--well, the weather was, but not my golf. Still, it was hard not to enjoy the day.

Food we made sure to have; Vace's pizza (mmmmm), Chiptole, and sushi (ok, KT had that-twice)

The wedding was great and we should post at least one picture of the happy bride and groom (along with my college buddy and his wife).

After seeing the condo Sunday and the BBQ with the cooking club, I made it into the DC office Monday. And since it was the news deadline, I actually worked until we had to leave for the airport. And that's when the fun began.

KT and I had been laying odds of 50-50 that Maxjet would cancel our flight as they had our trip over. But they didn't--that, however, did not mean we flew on Maxjet itself. Their plane was still out of service so they had leased a private charter plane that is normally used by the Dallas Mavericks basketball team (if you closely at the wing tip in the picture above or click on the image to magnify it, you can see the Mavs logo). I had heard from a person on our earlier flight that they did this so it wasn't a total surprise and the gate attendant said Maxjet would give us $500 vouchers (each) for a future flight because our seats didn't recline fully. There weren't many other options so we decided to make the best of it. We headed off to the Maxjet lounge, which turned out to be Northwest airlines lounge and far from the grandeur of Virgin Atlantic's London lounge. Still, it had free Wifi, snacks and drinks.

Soon it was flight time. As the earlier passenger had warned, the Mavericks plane is divided into 3 classes, as opposed to the all business class seating of Maxjet. The first 7 rows on the Mavs plane are for the players and the seats are huge and there's tons of legs room. The last 10 or so rows were where the media normally sit and the seats are nice big leather chairs but they don't have nearly as much leg room. KT and I were in the middle section, where the coaches and staff sit--KT found out where her favorite Avery Johnson, the Mavs coach and a former San Antonio Spur, sits.

As we got to out seats, we had an uh-oh moment. Directly to my left was the bathroom, so people opening its door occasionally hit the back of my chair. And the seating arrangement was like a train--KT and I sat facing forward but there were 2 seats facing us and there was a table in between! The 2 guys in the seats facing us were not happy, especially when they found out the seats didn't recline at all. So they moved back to seats in the media section and voila, we had tons of room. The table was still a bit odd but one of the flight attendants told us the table lowered to seat level so one could put their legs up or even sleep across it (see picture below)

In reality, the trip was about as good as an 8 hour flight could be. Free wine and champagne flowed. I had a nice beef dish and KT had a delicious lobster tail. She got a few good hours of sleep and I snoozed and watched two movies. We had a long chat with the plane's normal flight attendants about all their travels with the Mavs, and the Spurs occasional, as well as all the celebrities who charted the plane during the off-season. The plane even has a queen bed in the hold that they can set up in the front of the plane. Once we landed, we sped through customs and hopped a bus that let us off a 5 minute walk from home. Surprisingly enough, it did feel like we were home. Odd, how quickly that happened.--JT

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