I have the wonderful opportunity to travel to a place that I never thought I’d be able to go to, and that’s Vietnam. Here is a multipart set of posts of my travels there… and back.

It starts with a trip to Dulles Airport. Home of all sorts of cool technology, and old technology like the mobile lounges. Did you know they are all named after states?

Mobile lounges at Dulles – All named after US states. It’s the only way Colorado would ever be next to Maryland.

After getting to my terminal after using the train (and yes, there is a good reason there is such a long walk from the train to terminal D, but we’ll get into that later), I went into the Turkish Airlines lounge.

They did not have Turkish delight, but they had delightful scrambled eggs

If you do get a chance to go into this lounge, either by flying business class, or with an Amex Platinum card with the lounge pass, it’s worth a stop in. They only have two bathrooms, so watch out for that, and the bar is located over my right shoulder as are the bathrooms. I kept seeing people wandering around with wine (yes, it was 9AM) and that is where they were getting it from.

I was flying a United code share with ANA airlines so I found my gate and boarded. The amazing thing was they boarded everyone in front of me with facial recognition. I really wish I would have snapped a picture of it, because even though it displayed my blurry face… and I was even trying to distort myself a bit, it got me QUICKLY and on the first try.

This is me both impressed, a little weirded out and close to the face I made at the system.

What just happened?!?!?

I have to give it to ANA as they still require masks on board, and with the amount of coughing going on, I was pretty happy with that decision. But after 24 hours wearing a mask, my ears did start to hurt a bit from the rubbing.

Once on board this Boeing 787 Dreamliner, it is time to figure out the blanket and pillow situation, and then of course poke at all the buttons. The map view of where you are going and where you have been is pretty cool. As noted in a previous post, they did misplace the Ampere Seamount, and while it shows plenty of items on the HUD, not all of them are accurate or even enabled. For instance the altitude is clearly trying to keep up with the real altitude at a low sampling rate as it seems to chase (goes quickly then slows down) a number, and then does it again. The wings level indicator never changes, and as soon as you touch down you’d think the velocity would drop to groundspeed, but I think once you get weight on wheels, it stops responding altogether.

However, it is pretty cool to watch. Here’s a video of it in action:

Another part of the “welcome aboard” video – which is really well done – has quite a few people showing you how to hold on to… anything… if there is turbulence. I’m not sure if you HAVE to make the frowny face though.

If you can hold on, hold on – The Killers

We’ll have more from Vietnam… right after this.

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