In my mind, it seems like it would be quicker for you to go the other way around the world, but maybe the flights over Russia aren't as good. And they let you play video games with other passengers???
It was cheaper to go the long way because direct flights from alaska only go to germany... and I wanted to arrive in Cologne, Germany and leave from london. Also this way I got the miles, which have monetary value for me. Its a mere eight and a half hours from Fairbanks to Frankfurt, germany. Wayyy shorter..... but I'd never flown internationally before and kinda wanted to see the airports.. Sick I know.
And yes to games... it was freakin cool. Airbus airplane... every seat had a screen in it, and the controller in the seat detached and you used it to navigate, or you could hold it nintendo-game controller style and play games. They were lame games, but the movie selection was actually pretty good! Also could track your location speed and altitude in real time, or on a moving map.
I didn't see any evidence of the plague in London, but could understand how it could happen in Paris. We were meeting up with a couple people there and they got lost in paris, in the ghetto, at night. They almost stepped in feces. Human... feces.. on the sidewalk. Saw that three times (so they say).
I hear outside of Paris is much better.