To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question

We have done this long, international flight exactly one time.

Sure we’ve flown Toronto to London, and Calgary to Hawaii but this was our first MAJOR LONG HAUL flight.

I’ll say it. We upgraded. We opted not to ride in cattle class…ahem, steerage… ahem economy class, but rather upgraded to Premium Economy. (I heard angels singing harmoniously while I typed those two words). (I just had an idea for an app – it plays cool sounds when you read something!)

Anyway – we flew with Air New Zealand who have an interesting gambling option for those interested in upgrading. You can make a bid for a seat, and if no one legitimately buys that seat prior to the flight, you can have it for the price of your bid.

We did it. We made a middling bid, and got the upgraded seats. This fancy upgrade included an extra suitcase for each of us, alcoholic beverages, a MUCH fancier meal option, WAY more space and a general sense of snobbery. Which I enjoyed very much thank you.

As a result, we both slept soundly on the plane, and arrived in our new lives feeling rested and excited.

We’re going back to Canada for an extended-ish visit. I won’t tell you when, or for how long, because I’m afraid of the internet. But while we’re looking forward to spending some good, quality time with our friends and families, we are dreading the flight.

Problem 1: To upgrade or not to upgrade?

Problem 2: To sleep or not to sleep?

Problem 3: Plan a party for the day after your return or not to plan a party for the day after your return?

Problem 4: How to handle jet lag?

Those are our questions.

Let’s start with the first problem. A very good place to start. If we were rich, we’d definitely upgrade. Air Canada has told us that in addition to our $5000 flights (this includes two international flights and four domestic Canadian flights – calm down), we could pay an additional $5000 to be upgraded to Premium Economy seats for the long legs of our journey (Brisbane to Vancouver and back).

If I had $5000 kicking around, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But without getting whiny, or too heavy or too financially vulnerable – we’re sitting on nearly $20K of debt following the move and our first year here. (Calm down, that’s an international move for two adults and two cats, following a year of underemployment in Canada for both the adults and a year of re-training for one of the adults in Australia – ergo, living off one salary for a year). So yeah. Things are tight.

So 5K to sit in wider seats for 28 hours, doesn’t feel quite right.

Ok. I was hoping that writing this part of the post would provide me with some clarity. I can say that it has not. I remain undecided on problem 1.

Problem 2 – The sleeping on the plane.  On the way out here, our flight left Canada late in the evening and arrived in Australia early in the morning. Frankly, I think it’s a bit of voodoo and I have no idea how that works, but I went to sleep in Canada, and woke up in Sydney, two days later and it was awesome.

The reverse journey leaves mid-morning (Oz time) and lands mid-morning that same day. More voodoo. But I do know this about myself. I don’t do allnighters well. And staying up for two daytimes in a row would be about the same thing. So. Here’s the idea. Before the flight, we may try to stay up all night, so we’re super tired getting on the flight midmorning, sleep for the 14 hour flight, and arrive in Canada, ready to take on our vacation!

I am 10000% sure that will work fine for Dan. He has a history of sleeping everywhere. Here is photographic proof:

Dan sleeping doing homework.
Dan sleeping at 3PM on a Sunday.
Dan sleeping at 2PM on a Saturday.
Dan sleeping in a car. Mumford and Sons was playing full volume at the time of this photo.
Dan sleeping while people around him talk.
Dan sleeping in another car.
Dan sleeping in a van. I’m fake sleeping. He’s real sleeping.
Dan sleeping standing up. Its possible he’s just got his eyes closed.
Dan sleeping on a bus.


Anyway. So you can see. Dan will have no trouble falling asleep.  I, on the other hand, can count the number of times I have slept on an airplane. The number is two. Once on the way here, and once on the way to Hawaii. Out of possibly hundreds of flights. My odds don’t look great – so I think it might be a YUGE risk to stay up all night, in case I then can’t sleep on the plane and arrive in Calgary doubly jet lagged.

Which leads me to Problem 3. We want to have a party in Calgary, my sister has gladly been dragooned into hosting, for all our friends in the Calgary area. We loved the goodbye party, and so we thought we’d have a HELLO party!

Is it too risky to plan it the same weekend we arrive? I don’t know.

Finally, problem 4. The biggie. Jet lag. (another sound affect would work here – maybe the Jaws sound effect, or the Beethoven’s 5th opening? Dum dum dum, duuuuuuum).

Here are the tips I have heard for beating jet lag.

  1. Drink constantly. Not alcohol, but water. I’m sure there’s some science about why this helps – but it does. Not just with jet lag, but also blood clot prevention (because of the needing to pee every couple of hours) and also with the skin dryness from recycling airplane air.
  2. Eat on schedule. Even if you’re not hungry.
  3. Try to shock your system into the new time zone, even if that means staying up late, or even all night.
  4. Get up really early and exercise a lot before getting on the plane.
  5. I hope there will be other tips, but right now, this is all I have.

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