June 14

Hong Kong. Our second continent, third country and fourth city in 24 hours. The sun finally set. As best I can tell we spent the whole flight in daylight. We flew WAY north. Couple that with a westerly course and we get a REALLY long day.

I’m a bit peeved at Alaska Air’s partner desk. They told us to talk to Cathay Pacific about getting our seats upgraded on the flight to Mumbai. We paid the extra miles to upgrade, but no seats were available at the time we booked it for this leg of the trip. Unfortunately Cathay Pacific says Alaska has to change the ticket and we need to call them. Since it’s currently 4am Pacific, nobody is going to answer our call before we depart (assuming we can even find a way to call). Oh well, it’s only a 2 hour flight.

While we were waiting at the Cathay Pacific customer service desk, we had our first “ugly American” sighting. I’d heard about these unfortunately non-mythical creatures, but I don’t travel enough to have actually seen one in the wild. A woman in her 60s was loudly expressing her displeasure with the Cathay Pacific staff. The unfailingly-polite airline staff were clearly trying to do whatever they could for this woman, who didn’t seem to want to pause long enough in her berating tirade to let them actually do anything. Never before has an American accent been so incredibly grating to me than when this woman was shouting over and over again, “Hellllooooo! Hellooo! I demand to speak to a supervisor. Helllllloooo! Is anyone listening to me?” at the elegantly soft-spoken agents while they were on the phone attempting to find a solution to this woman’s issue – whatever it was, we never did figure out what she wanted or why she was unhappy. It was jarring to see it in person. I knew that some Americans abroad can be boorish and obnoxious, but actually seeing it happen right in front of me was jarring. She very well could have had a perfectly valid complaint, but yelling at the person who is clearly attempting to give you what you want is not only counter-productive, it’s downright rude.

EDIT – oops. Mixed up my time zones. Make that a 5+ hour trip. Ouch.

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