I’m going to miss Halloween this year, as me and eight of my coworkers from GSG are flying to Pune, India to meet with the team at our Indian office. Next week will be made up of a lot of business meetings, planning sessions, presentations, and accordion performances. Watch this blog for photos, videos, and other updates!
The flying starts early in the morning on Friday, and ends about 29 hours later…
Leg 1: TPA – BOS
This is a JetBlue flight from Accordion Bay Airport to Boston’s Logan Airport departing at 6:30 a.m.. It’ll put me in Boston just before 9:30. There’s no point arriving at the airport too much earlier than 5:30 a.m., which is when the JetBlue check-in counter opens. Given that I live reasonably close to the airport and there won’t be much traffic then, I figure I can leave the house a little before 5. I expect to spend most of this flight asleep.
My arrival gives me a two-hour window to get from Logan’s Terminal C to the international terminal, E, where I’ll catch up with the rest of my coworkers for Leg 2.
Leg 2: BOS – DXB
The longest leg of the trip will be the transatlantic one, from Boston to Dubai, which will take slightly over 12 hours.
Every flight I’ve done to Asia has been over the Pacific, so the airlines I’m familiar with are ones like Cathay Pacific, ANA, EVA, Philippine Airlines (whose slogan should be “You’ll arrive late, but the food is great!”) and Northwest (their slogan was once “Landing a plane is easy. It takes skill to land one drunk!“).
This’ll be my first flight on Emirates, which has a stellar reputation for service and comfort (Skytrax give them four stars), even if you’re not flying in Jennifer Aniston class:
Alas, this flight will be on a mere single-storey aircraft, a Boeing 777 (which generally has better leg room than the other long-haul wide-body, the Airbus A340) I will be flying the monster-huge Airbus A380 on the way back. I managed to get aisle seats for the transatlantic legs, both there and back!
After half a day in the air, we’ll land in Dubai, the answer to the question “What if we made a city with the freedom of Saudi Arabia and the soul of Las Vegas?” We’ll arrive there just after 8:00 a.m. local time, which will be midnight Eastern Standard Time. I suspect that coffee will be my best friend at this point.
Like everything else in the city, the airport is always busy and optimized for self-fulfillment through shopping. Take a look at this video tour of Dubai’s airport, which was shot at 2:00 a.m. local time and shows just how busy the airport is. I don’t think Tampa’s airport looks this busy at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday!
There won’t be time to explore, as this stop lasts barely an hour until the next flight…
Leg 3: DXB – BOM
The shortest leg of this trip will From Dubai to Mumbai (the city formerly known — and still referred to by people over 50 — as Bombay), where I expect to be wowed by Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’s Terminal 2, which looks gorgeous in photos:
This isn’t the final leg of the trip; there’s one more!
Leg 4: Mumbai – Pune
We’re not done yet! We’ll collect our luggage and hop in a pre-arranged car that will get us from the airport to Pune on a route that I presume will use the Mumbai Pune Expressway, India’s first six-lane toll highway, and a big enough deal that the Times of India gives it its own section on its site. Even though the length of the Mumbai Pune Expressway is about the same as the Tampa – St. Petersburg round trip commute (100 kilometres or 60 miles), Google Maps says the trip should take nearly three hours. I’m chalking up that estimated travel time to ATF — Asian Traffic Factor.
In a more primitive era, you could only guess at what the road trip would be like, or perhaps glean a little extra information if someone wrote an article or book describing it. Luckily, we live in the future, where network bandwidth and smartphones are cheap and plentiful, and people post videos of just about everything! Here’s a time-lapsed video of a trip on the Mumbai Pune Expressway, shot just last month:
“But wait, Joey,” you might say, “that video’s not long enough, and there’s no music!”. This video’s from 2011, but it should give you what you want:
29 hours later…
29 hours after wheels-up in Tampa, on Saturday, October 31st at around 6 p.m. Indian Standard Time, we should arrive at what will be home for the next week: the Marriott in Pune. It has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Expedia and looks pretty nice; I’ll let you know what my experience was like.