Greetings this Wednesday evening from the British Airways Terraces First Class Lounge at the San Francisco International Airport. I'm awaiting my Cathay 1:20am departure to Hong Kong, and the start of a 12 day trip that is focused on the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai. This is the most important event in swimming before the Olympics in London next summer. I have a business class award ticket booked with AA miles (taxes were only $33, though the Chinese visa was much more at $140). I connect onward with Dragonair from Hong Kong to Shanghai with arrival late Friday morning. I booked this ticket all the way back in September. I ended up in a security line with a naked scanner so once again had to opt out and be patted down. Took all of about 3 minutes. I was the only person around that opted out. Seems to be that way quite often. I'm not letting the TSA shoot any kind of rays at me, no matter how safe they claim the whole process is, as much as I fly. I'm joining Olympic Gold Medalist Natalie Coughlin's family who are traveling separately and arriving a few hours behind me. I've known her family for over 30 years (Natalie turns 29 next month) and her father and I are retired from the same San Francisco Bay Area police department. I've been to a lot of her swimming events over the years, but the highlights were surely the Olympics in Athens in 2004 (PHOTOS) and Beijing in 2008 (PHOTOS). Natalie acquired 11 Olympic medals over those two Olympics. We're all looking forward to Natalie swimming in London at the 2012 Olympics. She is a co-captain of the U.S. Team. Natalie did post a video from Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, where the U.S. swim team was in training camp prior to flying to Shanghai on Wednesday. That video can be viewed on HER WEBSITE. I'd also expect her to update her site during World Championships so make sure you check in there, too. She's a lot more versatile with social media than I am and can gets things on line faster. She also managed to snag a photo of herself in the copilot's seat on her flight out of Australia. Look for that on her website, too. She is worried she might be blocked from updating from China (same worry I have). We won't know until we get there. Upon check-in when the counters opened at 9:20pm I was asked if I wanted to volunteer for a downgrade as business was oversold. Compensation was $200 voucher and difference in fare paid (from business to coach). Problem was that I'm on an award ticket so there is no fare involved, and it's likely I would never use a Cathay voucher as I always fly with them on award travel. Really don't think $200 is enough, though, to get me to move back to coach for a 13 hour flight, and not sure what would happen if I don't arrive for the first night on my hotel award booking. I enjoy my perks and will keep my seat this time around. I also noticed I lost my seat assignment in the second row of business class on the upper deck. Now I'm in the last row there, which may be blocked for elite flyers and actually considered a better seat. All that matters to me is that I have a window seat still. Upper deck is a bonus. In the First Class Lounge I'm enjoying some dim sum and a Geyser Peak chardonnay. They also have a Geyser Peak cabernet, an Italian white, French red and Pommery champagne. I did pop into the adjoining business class lounge and will add photos from there in my lounge gallery (not with this report as I didn't really use that lounge). May not be able to get to that tonight. I'll be posting details about my flights after arrival in Shanghai, and will post daily updates once swimming gets underway on July 24 (runs 8 full days). NBC in the U.S. will be televising this event on three different weekend days. Set those DVRs. These are Pacific times so adjust accordingly for your time zone: Sun 7/24 11am Sat 7/30 10am Sun 7/31 10am Watch for Natalie in the pool and her family and me in the stands. We'll be seated together. I'll be posting swimming updates when she's in the pool for as many as five events (two individual, three relay). We'll know for sure what she is swimming as the week goes on. Swimming runs 8 full days. Final note: do guests in the first class lounge expect the bottle of champagne to miraculously put its cap back on? Going to be a pretty flat champagne that way. Fortunately, a hostess just popped in and took care of that. That's it for tonight. Next update will be from Shanghai. Arrival at SFO International Terminal (Beach Blanket Babylon) BA First Class Lounge BA First Class Lounge- Geyser Peak Chardonnay and dim sum My flight to Hong Kong- we board from the lounge More photos in THIS GALLERY.