Champagne on a Plane

It’s not everyday you have New Year’s Eve (duh). Ever more rare is spending it sitting thousands of feet up in the air. While it’s less enjoyable than spending it on the ground with family and/or friends, it’s at least interesting if one is going to be alone that night anyway.

On December 31st, I flew from home (where I spent Christmas) back to Hamburg, where I plan to stay and complete my winter semester abroad, finish my MA thesis, and then enjoy a semester break until the summer term.

I’ll let you guess why I chose to book an overnight flight for the 31st, and let me tell you… contrary to popular belief…the flight was full, which means many others were thinking of their pocketbook over the sentimental experience of celebrating on the ground.

I’ll answer some of the most popular questions:

How much cheaper was your flight? About 400 dollars less than flying the 30th or before, and 600 less than flying the next few days after New Year’s. Prices go down around the 9th, but by then I would have missed a week of classes.

When was midnight? Moving from west to east, one has three possible New Year’s Eves to celebrate. One can celebrate when it’s midnight at the place of origin, at the destination, or the current location. Funnily enough, counting down to midnight for the current location is a few seconds faster, since one is moving against time, so to speak. Despite these choices, the airline I flew with decided to wish us a happy new year at midnight German time, since it was a German airline and the Besatzung, the captain and crew were all German. Nice. We landed pretty close to 6 hours later though, which meant I was able to wish my family a Happy New Year fairly close after they had toasted the new year themselves! As far as when it was “officially” midnight according the time-zone we were in, I don’t think it was while I flew. (think about it. I took off at 4 PM EST, and when I landed, it was 6 AM UTC+1. This means, that it had turned Midnight, wait, I don’t know. My brain hurts)

Was there champagne? Yes. Not only does my airline offer free alcoholic beverages with the dinner that happens a few hours after take-off, we were given official champagne in short little glasses with cute little stems. I clinked glasses with my neighbor, who was also flying solo. I was amused when, on my connecting flight a few hours later (already New Year’s morning, around 10), champagne was also offered. I guess the airlines tried to be a little festive. 🙂 I appreciated it, since I was missing my family a bit (though didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to drink so early in the day).

What did the pilot and copilot drink? a non-alcoholic drink. Quote: “wir teilen ein nicht-alkoholisches Neu Jahr’s Anstoess“

What was said? Announcements on this plane were always in German first, then in English. In German, we were wished “Ein freues neues Jahr. Wir wuenschen Ihnen ein gutes 2015 mit viel Gesundheit” (anderes fiel die Stewardessen, die die Ansage gab, nicht ein). In English, it was just “Happy New Year, and all the best!.” I know that many Germans wish “ein gutes Rutsch!” but I heard from some of the “hip, cool” people that it’s no longer said. Who cares, ich wuensche alle Lessern ein gutes Rutsch ins neues Jahr, mit Glueck, Gesundheit, und Freude!

Do I regret flying on New Year’s Eve? Nope. It was an experience not many people have! Although I missed fireworks (and I learned that the Germans go much more crazy NYE with the fireworks than the U.S. Americans! it may have something to do with a difference in firework laws, or maybe the Germans go crazy buying their crackers and sparklers, since they’re only sold for an exclusively short time Dec. 28th through the 31st), Begiessen, or watching Dinner for One (all things I’ve heard I could have done, had I been in Germany), I was okay with having a quiet New Year’s Eve watching on-board entertainment and doing some sketching. 🙂 Hope everyone is having an excellent start to the new year!