An Unexpected Trip To India (LX J / LH F) **Disclaimer: my lens sometimes wasn’t good enough to take macro images in low light; therefore I used my iPhone’s camera to take some pictures. I apologize for some of the low quality images** I N T R O D U C T I O N It was just another average day. The constant hitting of snooze to get those extra precious 5 minutes of sleep, then forcing yourself to get out of bed, and 40 minutes later, hitting the rush hour traffic to get to your other home - ala office. After a normal day at work, it was time for a workout session at Crossfit and then heading on home. A fine evening, good dinner & some Top Gear on the television and soon it were time for bed. The normal routine had reached the circle until a dreaded phone call at 11:30 pm. It was from India. By the time I had gotten my hands on the phone, I missed the phone call. I went to the bathroom and when I came back, a couple missed calls from home along with text messages. I called home and heard the horrible news that my grandmother had passed. She was 85 years, lived a comfortable and a happy life. Had no ailments and yet, suffered a heart attack after she had showered. Immediately brought to tears, and trying to keep strength while talking to my dad, I was immediately on my laptop trying to find tickets for my parents. P L A N N I N G Being the only grandson, I told dad that I would be joining him. Meanwhile, my cousins in Columbus were also desperately trying to get tickets to India that was departing the next day. My parents got 2 tickets each on US Airways / Jet Airways for $2k each, and yes AA wanted to charge $4500 a ticket (under emergency quota) for Economy. By the time they decided to look for a ticket for me, prices for Y had shot up to $3500. I tried to search on my own, and wasn't successful. At that hour, no travel agency would be open (except for online travel agencies) so my other option was to look at United.com and see if any award travel was available. Much to my surprise, United wanted to charge 140k miles as a standard Y award travel on a non-stop flight to DEL froM EWR. I tried to expand my search options by being a little flexible on the return and voila, I found that there was a possible round trip available as a Business Saver award outbound on Swiss Airlines and Inbound on Lufthansa. Tried to book it and obviously .bomb failed on me. Giving me an error. I was quickly on the phone with United trying to book the ticket and I was informed that the reason it wasn't ticketing was that there were no seats available on the return segment from DEL-MUC. I had to change the date and book as 2 different one-ways (i know, it was dumb as I paid the $75 fee twice), but in the end at about 3:30 am, I was happy with what I received, which was: CMH-EWR (United First) EWR-ZRH (Swiss Business) ZRH-DEL (Swiss Business) DEL-MUC (Lufthansa Business) MUC-ORD (Lufthansa First) ORD-CMH (United Economy) This wasn't a time to fully enjoy my flights; however I still managed to capture some pictures, as this was my first time in long haul business class! F L I G H T I N F O R M A T I O N / T R A V E L So after sleeping at almost 4 am, my alarm went off at 8 am having made plans to call my work and letting them know that I would be missing the next week and a half as I would be in India. Finishing packing, I set off to drive from Youngstown, OH to Columbus, OH. This is almost a 2.5 hour drive, and once in Columbus, I wouldn't have much time to finish some last minute packing, drop my car off at my parents' house and then head to the airport. I got to Cbus, headed to my cousin's place, had some lunch and head to my parents' house. Pretty soon, we were off to the Columbus Airport. I wasn't too worried about checking-in on time as I only had a carry-on bag. This allowed me to get to the airport 45 minutes prior to departure, print out the boarding passes from the self-service kiosk and head straight to security. Flight 1: CMH - EWR United 5141 Embraer 170 Departure - 5:20 pm Arrival - 7:03 pm Seat: 1C At this hour, security wasn't too bad, but I still used the First Class lane and was airside in no time. I was really tired and I wanted to get some much needed rest. By the time I got to the gate area, boarding was about to start. Once boarding started, I was one of the first people on board and I took my seat 1C, which would be my home for the next hour or so. The FA seemed to be a cheerful guy and as soon as I sat down he asked if I would like to have something to drink. I felt that this was a much needed drink and I ordered a Gin / Tonic. I sipped on the G&T while I watched everyone else board. My Seat Boarding was soon complete and the doors were shut and we were informed that today's flight would be a quick 54 minutes. We left the gate on time and started making our way towards the runway. I like how quickly the EMB 170s get to speed and take off. Almost like a twin turbo charged little car that explodes when you press on the accelerator We were airborne and I tried to close my eyes to catch a quick nap. To my surprise, I was sort of woken up by the FA asking if I needed something else to drink. I obliged and ordered another G&T. Figuring out that getting a nap on this flight would be next to impossible, I sipped on the G&T while enjoying looking outside the window and chatting with the FA. He was quite the traveller himself and said he fully utilized the perks; although he complained that sometimes due to quick turn around times, he didn't quite get to enjoy the cities like he would want to.