Airplane Top 5

One of the nice things of being a PhD student was that you get around a lot. Now, before going to Japan I actually never touched the inside of an airplane. Thing is, withing Europe, you usually go either by train or by car. Especially in good ‚ol Germany – this is a car country. Yes, you actually want to go on the AUTOBAHN, push the pedal, and… push the brake, since there is a truck in front of you.

The 80’s, with empty autobahns designed for speeding are gone, actually. Like really, there are unfortunately few times nowadays where you can speed without putting others in danger…

Within Japan it’s different. You have the kosoku-dorou, which doesn’t even come close to the Autobahn. It’s frickin expensive, and even if there are no cars, speed limit is 120km/h, so fun.

You see, my pal, the Korean, had this awesome tuned Honda, 180hp, the uber-sports car. And all he could do was take me to a dark countryside highway at 3am, and I could push the pedal a little… obey the speed limit. We are in Japan. You have to obey the RULES.

Obey the rule.

I digress.

Trains. You have the Shinkansen, but the Shinkansen is expensive. Quite  expensive. Of course the English announcer (If you read this: I want to marry you – no longer, that chance is gone) is worth a ride just to listen to her, but then again… Due to the mountainous inside of Japan, even the Shinkansen is slow at times, and low-cost carriers quite often beat the shinkansen-prices. So quite often when I went to conferences I simply had no other option than to go by aircraft. Here are my top five favourite aircrafts.

5.) Boeing 777ER

This is one is frequently used by various carriers on NRT-LHR, NRT-AMS, and NRT-FRA. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am conservative, I’ll always put more trust into four engines over two; but what I like about the 777ER is the seating configuration most carriers use. It’s quite often 3-3-3, and even if it’s 3-4-3, if you catch a seat near the kitchen area it’s 2-4-2. So what I mean, it doesn’t feel as crowded. The only time I _ever_ had a nice conversation in an airplane (yeah, I am not really that communicative towards strangers) was on a NRT-JFK flight, and I am quite sure the 2-4-2 seat configuration played a role there (I was on a two seat together with a Korean student living in Japan).

4.) Boeing 747-400
It simply has to be mentioned here. Four engines yeah. Take-Off always feels like, yeah baby, let’s roll! American technology, ka-booom! It does fell however a little bit outdated. Especially if you consider cabin-noise levels compared to, say, the A380. On the other hand part of my impression is probably due to Lufthansa putting their frickin oldest, most ran down 747’s on NRT-FRA. I mean they had a frickin TV-SET in Economy in 2010!!!! And the tube was so magnetized that it had a green tinge! Akin to Mr. S. good ol‘ tube, where we used to play M.U.L.E.

3.) A380-800
I had the luck to go by the A380 shortly after introduction on NRT-FRA. I was sitting on an exit-row seat (yeah!) during take-off, and not far away was a cabin-crew seat, where the  gay steward was seated.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

But like, I always get the only gay steward to serve my area on long-haul flights. Even on ANA, where there were only hot chicks and _one_ gay steward, and of course, he was serving my area.

I mean, it’s like God is saying to me: Bend over!

I refuse.

Well anyway, we were taking off, and _there_ _was_ _no_ _frickin_ _engine_ _noise_. And I was like really surprised (being used to 747-400’s on that Lufthansa route) and the steward saw all this astonished faces (everyone was like… are we having engine problems??? bird strike???) and he was like speaking out loud to everyone:


„It’s that silent!“

2.) Bombardier CRJ-100

My first flight ever in my life was FRA-NRT on a 777ER, and then onwards with an CRJ100, served by Ibex Airlines. There was a thunderstorm, and really, really bad weather. Before checkin at NRT we were briefed that there was a chance we had to return to Tokyo, in case of too bad weather to land. Lots of turbulence, flight was the last one out, so the outside was just _dark_. Probably my most scariest airplane experience so far.

In case you don’t know, CRJ-100 is a 50 seat config, so a _really_ small plane where you really _feel_ each and every turbulence.

Most interesting experience. If I’ll ever have the chance of flying with an experienced pilot in an Extra… despite the obligatory vomiting, I bet that’d be the most interesting experience evaaar.

1.) Bomardier Dash Q

flown with Japan Air Commuter from KMI to ITM.

Not much to say. I mean, there are pro- and anti-turboprop guys outhere. I am pro turboprop, and I’d choose over jet engines anytime. Sure, the noise level is much much higher.

But the sonorous sound of a turboprop doing it’s job… It gives you that smoothing, relaxing feeling, like a baby resting on her mothers breasts…

How about carriers?

Well, as for me, there are mainly two categories how I rate carriers.

1.) chick hotness [1]

2.) safety

Well not necessarily in that order.

Anyway, as for the first category: That’s a close one between Conviasa vs ANA. So if you are more into South-American chicks, go Conviasa, otherwise ANA.

I have to say: _every_ ANA stewardess could be easily a renowned super-model, and on the title of vogue.

I am not kidding.

ANA was by far the airline I used most in Japan, and I have never never seen an ugly female employee of ANA. Evar. Dunno where they vanish, when they get older. Workplace discrimination, for sure. But like … from ground staff, to long-haul routes, to short-haul… they are all super hotties.

The only issue is safety.

Conviasa… well who’d trust Conviasa, I mean they aren’t even allowed to land in Europe.

And with ANA… I just don’t trust these super models to gain control in an emergency situation. They would be like super polite and hot, but…

I simply prefer a German chick from Lufthansa shouting instructive commands. Everyone’d follow.

That’s for sure. The only more instructive women I could imagine are probably Aeroflot…

Probably the best combination of all those is American (Airlines) I guess. I mean there was this 40+ old stewardess, with whom I had the following conversation. (And bear in mind, I am a non-native speaker of English who grew up learning English with Cary Grant movies on TNT Film Channel via satellite).

„What can I get you, Sir?“

„I’d like a coke, please.“

„Here you are, … _honey_.“

Yup, she really said that.

For real.

So I guess, that the perfect combination between German blitzkrieg command language, and Japanese beauty is: American smartness.

Well … you can probably read inbetween lines that… I really did like the _life_ of a researcher. Remember David Hilbert:

„Good, he did not have enough imagination to become a mathematician“.

—Hilbert’s response upon hearing that one of his students had dropped out to study poetry.

Unfortunately I lacked that mathematical creativity. I guess that’s something few people realize: In order to be a good researcher (in math), you not only need to have a reasonable good skill in formal logic and understanding (but I actually think that can be learned and acquired), you also have to be creative. Way more than any novelist.

That’s one scar that is left forever.

The other one is the language of course: I never got fluent enough to be able to pursue a career outside academia.

Frack it.

Anyway: Next week is when I’ll collect my mail-order bride, and this time it’s Emirates. I am skeptical, but actually only heard good things about ‚em.

[1] of course they are all ugly compared to my girl! [2]

[2] you know, just for safety.


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