Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Avoiding Jet Lag

Flight #80 - United Airlines 117 
Newark (EWR) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Depart: 3:35PM / Arrive: 8:35PM
Duration: 16hr 00min 
Aircraft: Boeing 777
Seat: 17A, 17B and 17C (Economy) 
Earned: 8,060 miles 
Lifetime Miles: 152,059 miles

As I mentioned earlier this week, we were able to score an amazing deal to Hong Kong (nonstop on United Airlines). Of course, my father is super excited about visiting Hong Kong again. My mother, on the other hand, could probably do without being stuck on a plane for 16 hours. I'm not entirely sure what to expect myself either, because this trip will be the longest flight I've ever taken. The previous longest flights have been:
My father's made this trip a few times before when he was traveling solo back in 2008, but this will be his first time with an adorable 2 year old.

Fortunately, we're seated in Economy Plus, where we'll have some extra 4" of leg room. And because my father knows to check, he picked window seats in Row 17 (as close to the front of the plane as possible without being in the bulkhead Row 16). That way, we'll be able to get off the plane right after BusinessFirst class passengers AND I'll be contained in our row by the window.

As I mentioned before, my family actually doesn't like the bulkhead row, because:

(a) it has no floor storage for take off & landings;
(b) the armrests don't move because the tray tables are in them; and
(c) there's way too much space for an active 2 year toddler to move around.

So as far as economy seat assignments go, we're in the best seats possible. The problem, however, is that our flight is scheduled for an odd time.

Our 3:35PM departure time is right in the middle of the afternoon in New York, way before any normal person would want to fall asleep for the night. But if we are trying to adjust to Hong Kong time as soon as we step on the plane, then we should treat it as if it were 4:35AM, clearly when you'd normally be sleeping. And while my father can fall asleep at a moment's notice at any hour of the day, my mother and I have yet to master that "skill."

So unfortunately, she and I are likely to stay awake watching movies and playing iPad games until 11:30PM New York time (which would be 12:30PM Hong Kong time). Then falling asleep for 6+ hours would mean we'd be waking up "early" at 5:30AM New York time, but that would be 6:30PM Hong Kong time.

By the time we land, get through Hong Kong customs, get on the metro to downtown and make our way to our hotel room at around 10PM Hong Kong time, we're probably not going to be that tired since it will be 9AM New York time. I'm not a sleep expert, but I'm almost certain that will cause a serious case of jet lag our first few days.

We're almost certain that there's no fool proof way to avoid jet lag unless we wanted to stay up the entire 16 hours. I suppose that would make us exhausted and ready to pass out by the time we got into our hotel room.

Since that's not really a viable option, we decided to stay up super late the night before, then wake up normally at 7AM, skip my afternoon nap and then board the plane ridiculously tired at 3PM.

Hopefully that will allow us to fall asleep earlier (perhaps 7:30PM after watching Iron Man 3 on demand). Then after about 6+ hours of sleep, we'll be ready to stay up and watch another 3-4 movies on the plane before we land.

Of course, no matter what my parents plan to do, it will all depend on what I will do. And if I'm not tired, you can bet that they won't be able to sleep either!

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