junior year / Philippines

Overnight in LAX, a la “The Terminal” starring Tom Hanks

So…

Before I forget, I just recently joined Bloglovin, which is a website that keeps track of and updates you on all the blogs you follow, whether they are on WordPress, Blogger, etc. So if you haven’t already followed this blog, then please follow my blog with Bloglovin!

This trip going home for Christmas break was definitely stressful! I managed to finish packing on time but when I woke up at 6am on Saturday, 21 December, I realized that I had forgotten a drawer. I ended up missing my 7am shuttle to Colorado Springs airport but luckily I found Tyler (a good friend and more importantly, my RA) – he agreed to give two small bags of clothes to Zak (my RLC) for him to keep till I got back in September. I was able to get on to the 8am shuttle to Colorado Springs without a problem, since it was only Kim and I. When we arrived at the check-in counter I was able to check all three bags straight to Manila for the price of $160…expensive but I WAS checking in 3 bags! Kim and I decided to grab breakfast at Pikes Perk: croissants and orange juice, yum!

my chocolate croissant and fresh orange juice!

my chocolate croissant and fresh orange juice!

After our breakfast we went to gates 11 and 12. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I remember was waking up to hear the announcement that Denver was closed – all flights in and out of Denver were cancelled. I immediately rushed to the United counter and waited for 2+ hours to rebook my ticket. I missed the earlier flight to LA and was put on the 7:30pm flight. While waiting I tried to contact my parents, and after several false starts I figured out that the best way to contact them was via Facebook (on my phone) or Skype (on my laptop). I had dinner at Quiznos while waiting for the plane to arrive, and ordered the Carbonara sandwich without mushrooms or the parmesan alfredo sauce.

Carbonara sandwich from Quiznos!

Carbonara sandwich from Quiznos! (just the mozzarella, bacon, and sliced chicken on white bread)

By the time 7pm came around, I was waiting to board until the PA system announced that the flight had been delayed. I was worried because my flight from LA to Manila was scheduled for 10:35pm. Unfortunately my dad told me that the flight was actually scheduled to leave at 9:10pm, so I would have missed it anyways. I ended up arriving at LAX at 12:15am (the plane from Denver arrived in Colorado Springs airport at 10pm) so I ended up sleeping overnight in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

ramp to go down the plane, ramp to enter the terminal...

ramp to go down the plane, ramp to enter the terminal…

everything was closed!

everything was closed!

I have to wait till morning for the counters to be opened...

I have to wait till morning for the counters to be opened…

After waking up at 8am to go to the reLAX lounge, I was informed by one of the security guards that it no longer existed. Thankfully I was able to find wi-fi, and my parents were able to get me a seat on the Cathay Pacific flight at 10:00pm – this meant I would arrive home at around 11am of December 24th, Tuesday. The counters for PAL (Philippines AirLines) opened at 3:45pm so I spent the rest of the morning waiting to get my bags. There wasn’t anything open in terms of food since all the lounges were AFTER security, so I was starving and quite thirsty by the time 7:30pm came around.

I'm going home!!!

I’m going home!!!

While waiting for the PAL counters to open, I decided to watch the newest season of Masterchef. Season 4 was amazing! I really liked Jessie and Natasha, and Luca was definitely my favorite guy. I really disliked Krissi, she was just so mean and foul-mouthed!

19 contestants, 1 winner!

19 contestants, only 1 winner! © psychologycorner.com

PAL counters opened at 3:45pm but I decided to line up a bit earlier to make sure I was one of the first in line. While waiting in line I received an email from Misha Collins (the actor who plays Castiel in the tv show Supernatural). It was about our Guinness World Record certificates for participating in GISHWHES – I now have the link to register my certificate, and I can order it whenever I want!

My 2012 Guinness World Record certificate!

2012 Guinness World Record certificate!

Interestingly enough, I also met Paris Hilton at the Tom Bradley International Terminal! I checked her twitter and apparently she had just flown in from Moscow.

with Paris Hilton at LAX!

with Paris Hilton at LAX!

…so when the schedule said that PAL counters would open at 3:30pm, I should have known that was a lie – “Plane Always Late”, like we all know, was delayed. From a time change of 3:30 to 3:45 to 4:10 (on the screens of the counters themselves), PAL counters finally opened at 4:20pm. It was fun to see a lot of balikbayan boxes on the trolleys though!

balikbayan boxes galore!

balikbayan boxes galore!

finally got my bags!!!

finally got my bags!!!

got my boarding pass!

got my boarding pass!

Business class for my longest leg? Christmas miracle!

Business class for my longest leg? it’s a Christmas miracle!

Cathay Pacific counters opened at 6:30pm which gave me enough time to find some food before lining up to check in. I found food places on the first floor and decided to check out Daniel’s Bistro & Bar. I ordered french fries and mozzarella sticks w/ marinara sauce since I was starving – the last meal I had was dinner the night before! I also got a bottle of water because the dehydration was giving me a headache.

Daniel's Bistro & Bar

Daniel’s Bistro & Bar

hmm, banana and nutella crepe...

hmm, banana and nutella crepe…

french fries!

french fries!

mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce!

mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce!

Cathay Pacific is awesome because it cost me nothing even when I had 3 bags to check in! On the other hand, since I am still under 21 years old I was not allowed to enter the lounge unless I wanted to wait 30-45 minutes for a special Cathay Pacific escort to accompany me to the lounge (to make sure I did not partake in any alcohol). Instead of waiting I decided not to go to the lounge, so I went through security and took a quick look in Duty Free – the chocolate selection, of course.

baby nutella!

baby nutella!

size comparison to the regular nutella

size comparison to the regular nutella

See's Candies!

See’s Candies!

I also popped by Starbucks to see if they had any sandwiches or pastries I could eat while waiting – unfortunately all the sandwiches contained egg, and the pastries had nuts or were just too sweet. I ordered a Tall Double Chocolatey Chip Frappucino instead – delicious!

my favorite Starbucks drink!

my favorite Starbucks drink!

When I arrived at my gate I was glad to see that nobody else was there – I got prime seats (the ones connecting two rows, meaning there were no arm chairs in between if I wanted to sleep) and right in front of me were sockets for charging my phone and my laptop!

prime seating!

prime seating!

We started boarding at 10pm, and the moment I sat down in my seat I couldn’t wait for the plane to take off. Hong Kong, here I come! Manila, I’ll see you soon!

Business class, heck yeah!

Business class, heck yeah!

LA to Hong Kong, a 15 hour flight

LA to Hong Kong, a 15 hour flight

distance in miles and in time

distance in miles and in time

Plane food is never great for me – I usually just end up eating the bread and butter, and/or the fruits. This flight served us two meals – dinner and breakfast. For dinner I had the chicken dish, and for breakfast I had the fruit platter with croissants and the choice of strawberry jam or honey.

chicken dinner!

chicken dinner!

bread and fruits for breakfast!

bread and fruits for breakfast!

Upon arriving at Hong Kong, I had less than 2 hours to go through security and reach the gate for my next flight to Manila. It was a bit annoying trying to find wi-fi, but I managed to send a quick message to my parents on my ETA in Manila. Since I was under 21 I could not use the Cathay Pacific lounge, so I just sat by the gate and waited. We began boarding at 7:45 for our 8:10 flight, and I decided to wait till the line was a lot shorter.

charging point!

charging point by my seat!

As I was lining up to board the plane, one of the Flight Attendants handed me a new boarding pass. Why? Apparently I was being upgraded to first class! I was definitely glad for the upgrade – it made an awful day slightly better. 

upgraded to first class!

upgraded to first class!

Suite 2A

Suite 2A

not just a seat, but a "suite"!

not just a seat, but a “suite”!

travel route

travel route

less than 2 hours!!!

less than 2 hours!!!

storage for each "suite"!

storage for each “suite”!

I was served the fruits platter for breakfast, along with a bread basket – I wish they had more croissants because they were so warm and flaky, and the butter was perfectly salted! The hot chocolate was delicious too, and I sadly forgot to ask for the brand of Apple juice they carry 😦

hot face towel - still steaming!

hot face towel – still steaming!

breakfast menu

breakfast menu

drinks menu

drinks menu

breakfast!

breakfast!

more, please?

more, please?

sadly there was no whipped cream...

sadly there was no whipped cream…

It felt like I was just enjoying the outside view for 10 minutes when we arrived in NAIA (the Philippine airport) at 10am. Before landing we were each given a small box – I decided to open it at home just in case it was a) breakable, or b) perishable (i.e. a food item).

blue sky!

blue sky!

I wonder what's inside...

I wonder what’s inside…

hello, Manila!

hello, Manila!

After going through immigration and collecting my luggage, I immediately went to the middle section to find whoever was picking me up.

waiting for bags...

waiting for bags…

almost home!

almost home!

I believe I slept the whole ride back home. I was SO glad to see my house – all I had to do was greet my family (and my dogs), eat lunch, and shower, then fall asleep in my own bed for the first time since August!  

hello, Simon!

hello, Simon!

what's up, Ziggy?

what’s up, Ziggy?

nice to finally meet you, Elmo!

nice to finally meet you, Elmo!

time to sleep!

time to sleep!

Hooray!

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