Mum and my brother, Jason, meet me at the airport

OK, I admit it: while in Sydney I’ve been horribly, horribly slack with this blog. 

If I told you it started with 3 catch-ups with friends, endless dog and nephew cuddles, a hair dressing appoinment, a dental check-up, a massage, trips to the shops, and preliminary preparations for the family Christmas, all in my jet-lagged first two days in Sydney, would you have any sympathy?

No, I didn’t think so.

On the way back from the airport, I bought the family sandwiches from one of my favourite cafes, Zivelli at Lane Cove (which was sold while I was away! Thank goodness the food is still great)

I promise (Kim and Anna please take note!) I’ll put up posts from the last 5 weeks for you shortly and in the meantime here are some shots from my trip.  Right now, I’m ensconsed back in the Trump Soho in New York, on my way back to St Kitts early on Sunday morning.  I was lured back to the Trump Soho by a terrific deal on suites during January, and am enjoying views uptown, including the Empire State Building.  Luckily, unlike my visit last month, I’m spending more time in the room, alot of the reason for which is a massive dump of snow on the city (which is only a pretty sight when you don’t need to push through the sludge).

Mutt's Butt (he looks like his aunt from this angle)

While in Sydney I found out that heaps of you have been keeping up with my adventures on this blog, which I am thrilled about, but I really didn’t know as you DON’T COMMENT.  So, you know what to do.

Anyhow, I need a ruling from you, my lovely friends, which provides a perfect opportunity to test your commenting skills.

Tyler peeks in from outside

The dilemma is about flying etiquette.  Now, before I kick off I will say that I am big on plane etiquette since I think the little temporary society of passengers really have to behave or all hell could break loose.  For this reason, I won’t recline my seat in Economy if someone is directly behind me.  As some further background, and as someone who does her fair share of long-haul flying, I have certain strategies to minimise jetlag such as immediately setting my watch to my destination and shifting to the new time zone from minute 1.  So, for my flight from Sydney on Thursday, the plane took off just after 12 noon, and I set my watch for 8pm New York time, had dinner, watched a movie and tried to get some sleep.  By the time the plane lands in LA at around 6am local time (9am New York), I know that I’ve had my chance to sleep and now need to stay awake until I reach New York.  This usually involves lots of coffee, diet coke and as much sunlight as I can manage to shine on my face (another proven strategy).

Mum ponders (at the Leura Deli)

This time, we were late out of LA due to the massive snowstorm in New York, so we took off at around 10.30 am LA time/ 1.30pm New York time.  I was next to a window, and pressed my nose up against it to get those rays on me and resist too much more than brief catnaps.

Now, a number of other passengers decided that they wanted to get some serious sleep, so they hurled on their blankets and reclined.  The flight attendant came up and asked if she could shut the windows because people were sleeping.  

Mutt in his mum's arms, and his dad

I completely understand that, just because you are at a window seat, you don’t “own” the window and if the airline schedules that the shutters come down due to time zone changes, safety concerns, etc, then that is perfectly understandable.  For example, a few hours after we left Sydney the cabin lights were dimmend and shutters pulled down to create the obvious sleep time as Qantas eased us into our new time zone. 

Max, Mutt (on ground) and his mum Teresa

So, despite this request, I politely asked if I could leave the windows light since I wanted to stay awake, get sunlight, work, and look out the window.  I thought this was pretty reasonable given it was broad daylight outside, we’d been in darkness already almost all of the flight, and it was the middle of the day at both our departure point (LA) and our destination (NYC).   Also, I have done the Sydney-New York flight about 4 times now, and don’t ever remember the shutters coming down on the second leg.  She agreed with my request, but a few minutes later the people in the centre were grumbling about the light and they were promptly moved.  I felt no sympathy since I’d got on in Sydney too and figured that, if you want to sleep on the second leg of the flight, you should keep the eye covers that Qantas gives you on the Sydney-LA leg.  Come to think of it, isn’t the fact that those eye covers don’t get handed out on the second flight a sign?).

Tyler and his rubber chicken (the chicken is quite the snappy dresser)

Whenever I glanced around, no more than half of the business class cabin was trying to sleep, with the others watching movies or reading.  About 2 hours prior to the end of the flight, she did ask me to put the shutters down, and I reluctantly said OK.

So, what do you think about this one?  Should the shutters have been up or down?  What would have been de rigeur in this situation?



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5 responses to “Back!

  1. Ginette

    Shutters down… Only because I actually think I’d be one of the grumbling passengers in the middle & I’d want to sleep. I guess it’s up to the stewards to decide what’s best for the environment though. Could’ve been a different vibe on another flight.

  2. We have already discussed this at length but for your loyal readership – this is what I think (and I have a cousin who’s a chief flight steward for Qantas). Normally, when the stewards plonk those shutters down, they are trying to get the passengers to get into the new time zone (or they want some downtime themselves and want the passengers to go to sleep and not pester them).

    This flight – the shutters were up – meaning it’s day time so let’s stay awake. Some passengers want the shutters down – they should have kept the eye masks from the Sydney flight IMHO, put them on, shoved a blanket over their head and tried to sleep.

    You were in DAYLIGHT and the stewards hadn’t handed out eye masks = no sleepies for passengers. My view is that those who wanted to sleep should have done it as best they could with the shutters open. I’ve been there; done that myself and didn’t complain. And….I’m like you – in Economy I often don’t recline my seat out of respect for the passenger behind. So those passengers are guilty of bad plane etiquette!

  3. PS that rubber chicken is pretty swish. It’s certainly an upgrade from the one Tyler tried to hide and give me a fright with. Mind you, he’d like Zeph’s fluffy chicken. No rubber chickens to be found in NZ, which if you ask me, is a blessing!

  4. Hmm. Good question! I don’t know what the answer should be but as someone that is always slightly sleep deprived when I fly I think I would have fallen asleep nevertheless!

  5. Anna-Marie

    I confess to reclining my seat in self defence otherwise my nose is hitting the reclined seat in front of me BUT when meals come around, seat goes back up. Shutters – I never sit by the window so don’t have to make the decision but I get annoyed when all shutters go down during a day flight because I think the passengers are being infantilized – “here! drink your wine, shut up and go to sleep”.
    Love seeing the family similarities!!

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