I recently traveled from Los Angeles to New York. For an hour. It’s not like I could leave the airport anyway unless I was willing to quarantine. And you know something? It was exactly what I needed. So while my 12-hour journey from Gate 77 to Gate 76 at LAX did not ultimately take me far, it was a productive day in the skies.
My Productive Day In The Skies
When you live in a small house with two young children, productivity comes at a premium. The trip was not planned, but after a string of unproductive days I asked my wife for her blessing to spend the day in the air. I’ve been working on a big personal project which requires not only time, but solitude.
I chose to fly from Los Angeles to Newark and back on United for three reasons. One, despite poor loads United continues to operate widebody aircraft on the route with Polaris lie-flat beds. Two, upgrades are easy. In fact, the flights often go without mostly empty in economy class and with open seats in business class. Third, because this is one of the routes United is still serving meals and it eliminated the need to find or bring food along.
So at the very last minute I booked the ticket and found myself at a fairly busy Terminal 7 at LAX. While the United terminals still feel like a ghost town by afternoon, the morning rush was indeed a morning rush.
Additional food concessionaires have re-opened.
Boarding began on schedule, with Global Services and 1K boarding first, followed by back-to-front boarding.
Onboard, it was so nice to be back onboard. My first flight to Newark was operated by a 787-10 and I was assigned seat 3A.
The flight attendants were lovely and someone did not get the memo that meals were to be served wrapped because breakfast (egg whites with potatoes and sausage) arrived beautifully presented with a side of fruit and a biscotti. I did not mind.
It was nice to have coffee again onboard.
Usually on a transcontinental flight like this I’ll take advantage of the bed to relax and watch a movie. Not today. I furiously typed on my keyboard for most of the journey. With my noise canceling headphones on, there were no distractions. I did not even connect to the internet.
At one point we flew directly over Chicago:
A snack basket was offered throughout the flight, which offered additional fuel, though it was coffee that kept me going.
United still offers Sunday Riley amenity kits onboard with toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, and and eyeshade. Duvets have been replaced with throw blankets. Every business class passenger was handed a bottle of water prior to takeoff.
Right Back To LAX
In Newark I simply walked over to my connecting gate, eyeing a trio of birds (Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS) heading to Europe before boarding commenced for my 767-300 flight home.
The flight attendant who served my side of the aisle was so wonderful on this flight. She was attentive and charming, mixing humor with genuineness.
Dinner choices were ravioli or chicken (the same chicken I had when I flew this route last month). I chose ravioli, which was delicious, but still left me hungry. Since the cabin was not full and crew meals are loaded separately, I asked if there was any chicken left. Indeed there was, and the flight attendant was ecstatic that I would eat it so it would not go to waste. In fact, she even offered me a third! I love it.
Although I was tempted to fall asleep, I remained productive the rest of the flight, this time catching up on reading before pivoting back to my other project.
We landed at LA, I walked out to my car, and drove home…what a productive day it had been!
I want to address something head-on. Airports and airplanes are among the safest environments in the country now. My actions put less people in danger than going to a coffee shop and trying to work there all day. People who travel mostly seem to get the new routine. Yes, the gate area at LAX was crowded, but airplanes are cleaner than I have ever seen them and everyone seemed to respect the new boarding protocols and mask policy.
If you ever need a day for study or solace, consider a transcontinental trip. Airlines have taken steps to protect the safety of passengers onboard and the more limited service leaves you with plenty of time to focus.
Have you ever flown just to have a productive day in the skies?