Ok, I've clearly overpacked. It has been a couple of months since I've been on a plane and I've loss the packing skills that I honed while I lived in Los Angeles (where I was probably averaged two or three round trips a month).
For a seven day trip to Shanghai, I had clearly packed too much. Even though the Haas sponsored trips included formal corporate visits (and the requisite business suits) I think taking three business suits may have been too much. My overpacking nature is confirmed when I see my classmate Michael who has packed everything he needs for the week into two small carry on bags. Doh.
Although I like to think of myself as low-maintenance, I had a couple of luxuries that probably could have been left at home. My brand new USB bluetooth adapter and headset for Skype in China was only used once and my new Motorola Q9c was basically an overpriced brick in Shanghai (thanks, Sprint). Although being without a cell was liberating for a week -- it made coordinating and finding my peers (via SMS) much more challenging. Carrying my laptop for the lectures was necessary but still a cumbersome load.
The flight to Shanghai went relatively without incident. I picked the seat 59F from the chart at SeatGuru.com, a site that shows the best and worst seats on any particular commercial plane. My seat which was toward the back had some additional room between the seat and the window and is a favorite because it is in a row that only has two seats (one less person to get through on the way to the bathroom). The problem with this plane was that the movie monitors weren't mounted on the headrests but instead on the old-school projection system.
When you're stuck in the back corner it can be tough to get a good view. I was going to throw something at the woman who decided to stand up to watch the most suspenseful parts of No Country for Old Men. Unfortunately, she was no where to be found when Alvin and the Chipmunks were on.
The food on the flight wasn't bad -- we had an entree of chicken and rice, a 'cup of noodles' snack (oddly small with weird tofu stuff) and a hot turkey cheese sandwich (although some of the paper got stuck to the hard bread). My can of Sprite Zero that was bottled in Hong Kong inspired the soft drink from my Competitive Strategy class. It is always fun when you see instances of case work in real life.
Tips to remember for future flights:
- If someone has their window open and the sun is at full intensity (no cloud cover), politely ask them to close their shade. Ignoring the sun by covering your face with a blanket should only be attempted when window shade is broken and all other seats are taken.
- Bring disposable reading material - airport magazines are for suckers (unless you are Tommy Lasorda, in which case airport magazines are awesome)
- Swollen feet don't slide easily into leather slip on shoes (especially when you are scrambling to get off a plane).
- Noise reduction headphones are no good if you leave them at home.