(Wrote this as part of a bigger article elsewhere, hence extra movie info. Here is what I wrote in it's entirety about the flight and the movies. Enjoy.)
I flew British Airways who operate a Boeing 747-400 service three times a day in each direction between London Heathrow and Los Angeles (LAX
). We flew on time and took a normal Great Circle Route over Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Hudson Bay, Winnipeg, Great Plains, Rockies and descending over the California desert for a westerly landing, making our final approach over the endless suburbs of Los Angeles towards LAX
at the edge of the Pacific. In flight time airborne was 10 hours 34 minutes, with the copilot commenting as we shut down at the gate at LAX
that this was the first time they'd flown a longhaul sector like a 10h34m to California without once switching on the Fasten Seatbelt signs. On the way home I was on my favourite Red Eye, it's the last of BA
's three flights and leaves at 9.30pm. You fly across the North American continent and as you reach the Atlantic the sun comes up. You then cross the Atlantic and land at 4pm at London Heathrow, get home at 6 or 7pm, have a normal bedtime and suffer no appreciable jetlag. The first time I did it, last year, we took an unusual route, much further south, taking us right across the top of Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto and Montreal, each one sliding past in the clear darkness every fifteen minutes or so. Sun came up over the Maritimes and I fell asleep. I wish I could remember what I was listening to for that. When it comes to choosing some music for some spectacular flying moment, sometimes it becomes overwhelming and you end up listening to something weird and pedestrian and randomly forgetting all the good stuff you've got in there. Maybe I didn't listen to anything, I love the sound of the engines and the 500mph slipstream of a jet, especially the 747. This year on the way home we took the more usual northerly route out over Winnipeg and Hudson Bay, with solid cloud beneath the whole way. Landed to the east at LHR
, came in over open countryside until Windsor, excellent view of the palace just beneath and to the left ('A') side on final approach. We landed on time, I had a nice chat to the immigration dude who stamped me back into the UK, my bags came off the belt in the first minutes. Thanks BA
, nice work as usual.
A long flight is great for watching inflight movies you wouldn't bother with on the ground, but I'm up here for ten hours, I may as well watch The Pursuit Of Happyness (that's how it's spelled) starring Will Smith as an almost-homeless black dude in 70s San Francisco who lands an internship at Dean Witter. It was pretty was pretty cool, and extra marks for a taxi with a PSA
(Pacific Southwest Airlines) ad on top of a taxi, PSA
were a regional airline in California in the 70s with legendarily beautiful cabin crew and a smile painted on the nose of their bright orange jets. RIP PSA
. Stranger Than Fiction starring the increasingly-crap Will Ferrell and should-have-known better Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson was terrible, clunking and a complete waste of time. Could have been really cool like Being John Malkovitch or I Heart Huckabees (also starring Dustin Hoffman). Had time to see another Will Smith movie, this one an all time masterpiece: Men In Black. On the way home, we had the only 747 in British Airways' fleet with the new on-demand in-flight entertainment system (they're converting them one a month, 56 machines to do, plus the 777 fleet). It is a model of functionality and simplicity, and I watched two feature-length documentaries: Once In A Lifetime, about 70s NY soccer team the Cosmos, and Scott Walker: 30th Century Man. Both of these were fantastic. I also watched Music And Lyrics starring Hugh Grant as a washed-up 80s popstar and Drew Barrymore. I thought it was pretty good. Hugh Grant was excellent, the faked footage of him 'back in the day' is hilarious. Dumb in places but better than I expected. Finally 48 Hours is one of those old classics I'd never seen before. Well, it's bollocks. Nick Nolte is a bad character and comes across as a complete dick. Eddie Murphy hasn't developed into the character he would go on to nail in Beverly Hills Cop. I was really disappointed by this. But the documentaries were fantastic and Music And Lyrics was OK
and the new system is a triumph.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz