Thursday, October 04, 2012

Flight Report: SEA to GIG via IAH (to Rio de Janeiro!)

This was my first trip to South America and the first time that I have been south of the equator. While there wasn't an equatorial baptism waiting for us on board, I did get a chance to try out my new secret weapon for shooting video and pictures during the flight. The first attempt you can see above, which I'm happy with for a first try. It turned out well, despite the constant risk of getting caught by the flight attendant.

Our flights with United there and back cost us $141 a person, thanks to my frequent flyer miles. Playing the mileage game doesn't pay off every time, but this was one of the times when it worked out. Our first flight was Seattle to Rio de Janeiro, via Houston, all on United.

For our first flight, I picked the wrong side of the plane to sit on. When leaving Seattle there is always the chance that Mt. Rainier will be out and from the air it is truly beautiful. Unfortunately, I sat on the right side of the plane, which did not have that view this time around. If you are flying out of Seattle and headed South, sit on the left side of the plane (seats D, E, or F). If you are flying to Chicago or the East Coast, sit on the right side of the plane (seats A, B, or C). The consolation prize for sitting on the right side of the plane is Mt. St. Helens.

Overall, it was a pretty standard flight, except for some turbulence and a headwind that put us getting in late to Houston. We were worried about making our connection to the next (and more important) flight due to the weather, and we did end up getting in with 25 minutes until we needed to be on the next plane (but more on that later).

More photos after the break, including a storm front and photos of my in-flight United Airlines Kosher meal.

 Somewhere near Utah, we hit this storm front crawling over the mountains.

Because we were so late and the weather slowed us down, we didn't have much time in Houston to make our connection. When pulling in, we were a little bit worried, but we knew which gate we were supposed to head to and we hadn't checked any baggage. Fortunately for us, we landed and pulled in to the gate right next to our next flight to Brazil. If you watch the video, when the plane spots in Houston, the one across the way is the exact plane that we got on. We literally stepped off the plane and then boarded the next one.

This is my plane from my plane, and the inside of that plane after getting on the plane to Rio. The interior was pretty nice, with AVOD for every seat and power outlets. We were seated in Economy Plus, which is nice. The video selection overall was also just fine, although I did find myself actually watching Battleship towards the end out of sheer curiosity (the game tie-ins are groan worthy). On the other hand, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, has me wanting to head back to Tokyo. Jiro dreams of Sushi is about the dedication and passion of one man to perfecting the art of sushi.

The picture above was the regular inflight meal that was offered, while below is what came in my Kosher meal. I usually order ethnic/religious meals on planes because I find that they end up being more interesting and usually better tasting. The main dish on this one, fried chicken with rice, was pretty good, as was the chocolate mousse. However, the Sauteed Eggplant isn't as good as the hummus that sometimes comes with a Kosher meal, and the side dish was disappointing. Both hadn't been given adequate time to.. well.. defrost.

Breakfast version of the Kosher meal (left), side by side with the regular meal (right), below.

On final approach to GIG, the international airport for Rio de Janeiro. This is a big city and there is so much to do. Time to start exploring!


  1. Thats a cool time lapse. Can I ask how you did the time lapse of the flight? I'm interested in giving it a go on my next one.

  2. My camera (a Canon 100HS, believe it or not) has a built in time lapse feature called "miniature mode", which is meant to imitate tilt-shift time lapse photography (for example, I used that to record the video and then had a mount that allowed me to keep the camera in the same place for the entire flight. There are still a few kinks to work out and next time, I will be using CHDK to take ACTUAL timelapse... which should give HD video that is even better. :)