Flying High... United, Aer Lingus & KLM!

Flying high, what does that even mean? It has been 21 months since my last long haul international flight, how is that even humanly possible? Oh, the pandemic! Casting my mind back to a super long haul flight might make me feel better, will it really though? December 2019 had me flying around the world, from Mainland China and back again via the USA and the UK!

After 8 long years had past me by, the day of my flight to Newark, New Jersey, USA found me with much anticipation! Miss Rona hadn't made any noise at that point, without any complications present I boarded my 15 hour flight that would depart from Beijing Capital to Newark Liberty. I had worked alongside United during my Newark Liberty Airport placement year, wanting to make my arrival stateside memorable, no expense was spared for that choice! Crossing the Arctic Circle saw my seasoned B777-200 aircraft cruising towards the US Mainland at a favourable pace. After watching 'Hustlers', I decided to venture to the rear galley to speak with the crew. I was able to speak with the Cabin Manager and several Cabin Crew, the shared EWR connection allowed for easy conversation. The hospitality suited me well, the red wine tasted mighty fine to me and those ham sandwiches had me feeling full. Would the crew accept my request for a photo? Yes, Terri kindly took a photo with me for my United blog feature! Yes! 

Baby, when I say that the United crew gave 'Onboard Make Up Your Mind Miss Thing' Realness, I mean it! Real quick, I had my own Economy Class front row view when certain passengers didn't have their beverage choices made up before their turn! United, came through for sure! The flight over to Newark was smooth, touching down saw me navigating Terminal B's CBP checkpoint and those faithful red coats were waiting for me. My automated customs clearance check didn't want to work, that red coat barked at me real quick to get my life over to a counter! Half offended, half feeling like I was finally home, I wasn't mad! United had me back where I had waited long enough to return, no mistakes were made because it was just so. From Beijing, China to Newark, USA, I was ready to salute my faithful United long reach aircraft because the flight experience had surpassed any pre-flight worries, it was blessed. United, once this Rona mess clears up I will be back up into those 'Friendly Skies!' Unieesha flew me back to Brick City! 

Newark, New York City and Philadelphia had showered me with the same love, the time had come for me to board that twilight Dublin flight. Finishing up my reunion brunch with my Peruvian sister, Fiorella, I made my way over to JFK Airport to check-in for my two Aer Lingus flights. Breaking it down really quick, the lady at the check-in counter chose well not to try me because I was not up for any shenanigans. Period! The Irish pilot had those Christmas jokes filling the cabin from Business down to the back of Economy Class, get me to Dublin Airport! That textbook 6 hour flight had me watching the 'Great British Bake Off' after I had tucked into my chicken tikka masala airplane meal, Aer Lingus hooked me up with a good red wine! I then visited the mid Economy galley, that allowed me to have a quick chat with the Dublin bound Aer Lingus cabin crew, Irish humour and hospitality both served up at 30,000 ft! My whistle-stop week in the USA wasn't about to incur any delays, just no! From JFK to DUB, sure felt smooth! 

Arriving in Dublin bang on time was a relief but the gate handler had the disembarkation process on a go slow, after a few minutes the doors were unarmed successfully. Making my way through Dublin Airport was a breeze, at that current time the UK was still a member of the European Union so my next flight didn't require any checks. The boarding of my Birmingham bound flight happened right on time, leaving my Aer Lingus A330-300 aircraft behind me for a smaller propeller jet had to be the one. Crossing the Irish Sea had me another step closer to the last Christmas Boris Johnson wouldn't be able to mess up, 2020 was about to shock us! Aer Lingus had me touching down back into England without any delays or dramas, although Ryanair had us waiting on the tarmac aboard our bus. To be back flying like that with such a carefree manner would be the mood for 2022 because no journeys like that JFK-DUB-BHX have been possible due to this nauseatingly drawn out pandemic! Emerald Isle, sure I'll be back N.I! 

To the best of my knowledge my upcoming flight from BHX to PEK via AMS with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines would be another routine long haul flight, taking me back to my starting point. Without my say so, that mammoth journey back to Mainland China would be my final flight where face masks weren't a thing, people were getting on with life just five weeks before a certain 'Coronavirus' would be on the horizon. Rude! My KLM CityHopper flight took me the short distance from Birmingham Airport to Amsterdam's gargantuan Schiphol Airport, touching down with not much time to spare, the adrenaline kicked in big time! Racing from one flight to the next, to my relief the Beijing bound KLM flight hadn't yet commenced the boarding process. The same chaos met the gate with the usual impatience, I remained calm and collected because I knew that the aircraft was still very much attached to the jet bridge. With China back in my sights, finishing my notice period was on my mind. Meiden, start uw motoren! Fly higher, KLM!

Climbing into the clouds as Europe said goodnight, my KLM B777-200 aircraft started its journey towards Beijing, China. I had a bulkhead seat at the front of the Economy Class cabin, no complaints because the seat to my immediate left remained vacant, some extra space for me! The KLM in-flight entertainment impressed me much, with my chicken meal already served to me, I chose to watch 'Pulp Fiction'. My Economy Class meal tasted beautiful, nothing was at fault and to my surprise the salad tasted amazing! I never usually eat the salad! The wine that was served to me tasted lovely, best of all it was served in small bottles because there's nothing worse than just having a few glugs poured! Mid way during the flight to Beijing from Amsterdam with KLM I had a little walk to the rear galley, the crew were polite but as per their social media policy I wasn't able to get a photo with one of the crew. On the off chance I helped the two crew members inform a passenger he shouldn't be leaning on the door in Chinese. Let's fly again, KL? 

Long Haul, I Miss You! 

Joseph Harrison


  1. All that traveling! How cool is that! Wow, you got to go to China? Awesome.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I wonder if it is a pain to travel during Covid?

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      Personally I haven’t travelled internationally since I flew back from China in early 2020.



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