Written by Sydney Durso
On Sunday, June 8, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel overseas with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders to represent the organization and our great sponsor, American Airlines, in honor of the first non-stop flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Hong Kong and Shanghai. In addition to myself, Jackie Bob, Mia Greenhouse, Olivia Rene, Carisa Rose and Lauren Williams also made the trip.
Our first flight to Asia was not non-stop, however. We needed to be overseas before the inaugural flight in order to perform at the ceremonies and greet the passengers. Fourteen hours later, we arrived at Narita International Airport in Japan. If you know me, you know that I love coffee and tea, and I never pass up the opportunity to try a new *café. So, my first stop after getting off of the plane was Tully's Coffee. Their Japanese Royal Milk Tea was delicious! *
*Next stop, Hong Kong. *Jet-lag kicked in on the first day, but our beautiful hotel, Rosedale on the Park, made it easy for us to wake up rested and start our activities, beginning with a visit to the U.S. Consulate General's Office. It was great meeting with U.S. Consul General Mr. Clifford A. Hart Jr. and his staff, as well as members of our military.
We then headed downtown for a photo op with the public. This was definitely an adventure I will never forget! We walked downtown with an American Airlines' pilot and flight attendant, waved at the people we passed by and took photos with the beautiful Hong Kong skyline as our backdrop.
Last but not least, it was time to perform. Our first show of the trip was the American Airlines Hong Kong "Inaugural Flight Customer Cocktail Event" at the Four Seasons Hotel. It was wonderful performing for the guests, taking photos and seeing familiar faces from the first non-stop flight from DFW to Seoul, South Korea in 2013. Day One was a success!
Day Two, Shanghai here we come. One quick flight from Hong Kong, and we were off to perform at the InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin Hotel. This hotel is definitely one of my new favorites. It is formerly the State Guest House of Shanghai, and many Chinese historical figures have spent time at the hotel. Oh, and the chandeliers were unbelievable!
We did three routines for the guests attending the American Airlines Shanghai "Inaugural Flight Customer Cocktail Event." A western piece to bring a little bit of Dallas, Texas, to everyone overseas, a fun pop performance with hair flips every few steps, and an oldie but goodie, "Thunderstruck," along with our world-famous kick line.
We started the next day with a photo shoot at the Bund. The Bund is one of the most famous sights in Shanghai with beautiful architecture and an amazing view of the skyline and Huangpu River. This was, by far, one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen!
Finally, it was time to head to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport to perform at the gate for the first non-stop flight from Shanghai to Dallas. If you ever take this flight, either to or from Shanghai, know that American Airlines is going to take great care of you. This service is now operated with a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, which includes fully lie-flat business-class seats, new seats in economy, in-seat entertainment, and Wi-Fi. It can hold more passengers and cargo than any other aircraft in American's fleet! Awesome!
After performing two routines for the passengers about to board, it was time to head back to Hong Kong.
After a late night of traveling, we had a few hours of sleep and then it was time to wake up and perform at the airport one last time.
The drive to the airport was not short, but it was definitely enjoyable. I guess you could call it the "scenic" route, although it was the only route we could take going from Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island, but I loved every minute of it!
Once at the airport, we performed two times for the passengers about to board their 16-hour non-stop flight from Hong Kong to DFW. We also greeted them as they got on the plane and surprised them with fun little gifts from American Airlines. It was such an honor being a part of this ceremony.
We ended the trip with a shopping excursion on the MTR to Mong Kok, Hong Kong's busiest shopping district. A few of our friends with American Airlines told us stories of the Ladies' Market in Mong Kok, and of course, we were instantly sold.
When Saturday came around, it was time to head back to Dallas, and thanks to American Airlines, we were spoiled.
Overall, this was an amazing and memorable trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai. I am beyond thankful that I had the opportunity to represent America's Team and American Airlines overseas, and I can't wait for the next time I get to visit both of these beautiful places!