How To Fly Home In Twenty One Steps

26 Sep
{This is an email from my Mom about her trip from Ireland to Ohio. You’ll feel as exhausted reading it as you imagine she was living it.}
{I added the pictures.}
When no one wants to get you back to the States……
 First…..heavy fog in Manchester grounds Aer Lingus commuter planes in Cork and Shannon….because they cannot land in fog…..no computers on the little planes.  So we sit in the plane for over an hour and a half.   They did give us free water!   Aer Lingus charges for everything.  Fell asleep on the flight.
{The name of the Irish airline company: Aer Lingus makes me laugh. I know it’s childish…but come on!}
Second…land in Manchester  after circling for a while and while sitting in the plane waiting to go to the gate…..see my connecting A A flight taxiing down the runway……
Third….ask where AA is…..in Terminal 3….we landed in Terminal 1.  Walk extremely fast to 3 and find AA desk…too bad for me!!  That was the last AA flight of the day.  Aer Lingus has to rebook …AA would have to charge….AL not because it was their fault.  Their desk of course is in Terminal 1.   Hike back.
{*Snicker….Aer Lingus}
Four….hunt for Aer Lingus desk…..find AL signs about size of carry ons….but no desk.  Start over….no luck.  Ask a housekeeping lady and she sends me back to the second bank of desks.,…..see Meintz ( or something like that )…..they handle several airlines including AL.   Very nice chap there.
{Spent too much time in Ireland Mom, your using the word chap!}
 Five…..chap thinks I may have to stay over….noooooo….ask about my checked bag.  He makes a call, they have it and someone will bring it to us….He hunts and finds me some flights home…..getting in at 11:30 PM.    I’ll take it!!   On British Airways…..in yep,  Terminal 3.  He helps me with the big suitcase……and we hike back.  Luckily it is a “parfect” day as the Irish say….so all the walking back and forth is not in rain but nice sunshine!
{That picture is my version of a chap}
Six…..a nice man  ( looks and acts like Gupta from “Outsourced”)….there they work the touch screen kiosk for you, change my seat to the very last one in the plane to get an aisle seat…..get to counter and present itinerary and get boarding passes…..good bye checked bag.    Ask where the computers are…..find them, 2 men from somewhere in the world are using them.  Finally one is finished.  Drop 3 Pounds and contact those who need to know things have changed.  Only way of contacting those who need to know of the changes…… ( In England the gates of departure are not posted until 1 hour before leaving.  You go to the “lounge” or holding pen to wait….or you can shop in the many, many stores in the terminals.)
{Never watched ‘Outsourced’. I hope that is Gupta because looking at that picture makes me laugh}
Seven……on the way to the holding pen,  stopped to get something to eat….it is now about noon and I am hungry.  I have a 3 Pound voucher which the place will not take….so pay $4 American for a very good fruit salad….very fresh.
Eight….off to the holding pen.  Finally the gate is posted and off to the gate for my 1:25 PM departure.
{Those are sheep in the picture if you can’t make it out}
Nine….air bus to London with tons of flight attendants for a 65 minute flight….very nice roomy plane.  Had some sparkling water and some sort of Indian chips…good.  Decided I did not want flat or still water….needed a “treat”!! (Flat or still water is just plain water…..) Fell asleep on this flight.  Great view of London from the plane…..and people across from me were giving their friend a “tour”….very helpful to me too as I looked out.  ( Ireland was definitely green but England is brown!)
{Having to work with many Brits myself, you can also treat yourself to fizzy water like Perrier. And apparently Lay’s sells potato chips in India…or did you mean Native American?}
Ten….arrive in Heathrow on time!!!  Go to the massive holding pen…..and wait.   All times are posted in military times….so have to watch for 17:10.
Eleven…..BA has 3 gate areas….A, B and C.  There are times posted for how long it takes to get to the gates…..C  takes 20 minutes….hmmm…..1 hour leeway with gates closing 20 minutes before departure…that is clearly posted on boarding passes.  Customer service woman says…there is no way to know which gate….they have to shuffle planes all the time and do not know where they will end up.  Suggests I stay there in the general holding pen.
{Baaaaa! Baaaaa!}
Twelve……when gate shows up…..of course it is C…..so off to find the shuttle….get to the gate and on board……got the last seat because it was an aisle seat…..and I did not want to be in the middle of the 3 sections of 3 seats.  Only 2 seats in the rear.  Close to a rest rooms and the galley…..we got served first.  Had the seat changed with “Gupta”.
Thirteen….nice plane roomy.   Good dinner….and a sandwich toward landing time.  Kept the drinks coming….again a huge cabin crew…..got some sleep…..but not much.  Lost my passport….seat mate went to the rest rooms and when he came back…must have dropped it on the floor.  We were filling out our customs forms.  He found it between our seats when the full lights came on.  Whew!!
{My Mom is not a drinker, so me adding the martini to her statement of ‘Kept the drinks coming’ is now even funnier than before.}
Fourteen….land at Dulles 30 minutes late….headwinds.   Had a 2 hour time frame to catch the next plane  but now an hour and a half time frame.   US Customs for Americans as well as non citizens was very busy and of course another journey to get there….get thru with no trouble….get checked bag with no trouble……then off to find US Airways…..time is running out.  The girl who sent you to the officers told someone ahead of me that this day had been unusually busy.  Going right along with my luck!
Fifteen…..find the desk with some help from air port workers….it is closed.  Have to fly United….which turned out to be the flight.  United desk at the very end.   Tick…tick…tick….people emptying there stuff over weight, foreign family having to spend night….finally get there.  Oh dear I am so late, not sure she can get me on, might have to spend the night….beg!! ….bag not checked thru….oh the Brits….no liking for them on her part…..  I beg….so goes ahead and checks the bag……good news the TSA machine is right there….bad news…the gate is far away….The bag guys put mine on ahead of the huge pile up of luggage.  Thank them.
{What a nice chap.}
Sixteen….time is running out….find the C gate….go thru security that is taking its good old time….tell them I am going to miss my plane….so they X-ray me….guess I was too antsy. 3 people going thru…..but they were on night time,  I guess……middle eastern looking girl gets the full service…and a bag needs examined!!  Good Grief!!  I have been thru 2 other security checks  that day with no trouble….welcome home!!
{Side note: There are no funny x-ray pictures on the internet that do not involve insertions of foreign objects in places they should not go…you know…just in case anyone was wondering….}
Seventeen…find the shuttle…the only rider but can’t leave until the appointed time as we sat there for the 3 minutes before leaving….terribly long ride…….get to the C gate with 15 minutes to spare.
{I know she said she was the only rider, but these guys look so happy in their little airport shuttle picture! Probably because they did not fly Aer Lingus.}
Eighteen ….after much power walking   all day long end up running to the gate….of course far down from the shuttle area……the gate attendant is falling asleep on his feet…..says I am the last passenger…..but I did make it despite all the of the snags. Nineteen….storage bins full….so my Carry on bag is tagged and sent below.   Whew!!  Have flat water….oops in the States…had water.
Twenty….land on time at Columbus….again “100 miles” from baggage claim.  Hit the restroom…no time in DC,,,,,bags come fairly fast on a carousel that says it is a United flight from  Vegas….but our bags were there.  Both of mine did make it….whew.
{Your lucky that whole stays in Vegas thing didn’t happen with your bags}
Twenty-one……lots of cabs available and homeward bound.   Got in at 12:30…….yea. That is saga of getting home from the UK!!   No one can say I did not get my exercise yesterday…..with walking, running and weight lifting!!
Must have walked/ran at least 5 miles maybe more!! 
{Glad to have you home. Love ya Mom!}
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8 Responses to “How To Fly Home In Twenty One Steps”

  1. Pat September 26, 2011 at 10:45 AM #

    Yes, that is a picture of the character of “Gupta” from the sit com…..The chips were India Indian….called Korma chips. My “chap” was 20something and very nice looking!! Our bags did not go to and from Vegas….they had neglected to change the sign. Whew!! Guess Columbus was on night time also.

    Guess Dulles TSA was bored as they gave one passenger the full treatment, another had to have his bag checked and I had the X-ray…..3 of us and all of us have to be held up!!

    • chrisdevoss September 26, 2011 at 11:06 AM #

      You didn’t say anything about that sweet taxi cab picture. That’s how the taxis look in Ohio.

  2. Pat September 27, 2011 at 2:36 PM #

    Not that I have seen!!…..no high tires on my cab home You have been away too long!….the driver was Eithiopian however and had to tell me his life story!!

  3. Blondzombie November 9, 2011 at 11:39 AM #

    The horror!! There is nothing worse than being “Almost Home”. I feel your pain.

  4. Jim Wheeler September 16, 2012 at 11:16 AM #

    I have long observed that there is an odd attraction about travel. It gets us out of our normal rut and into an altogether different rut. It is a challenge that my wife and I face each time we go on vacation, often in recent years to a one-week cruise. Always in a miasma of weather stress we get on the plane in Joplin, fly to Dallas, change planes, then to Ft. Liquordale or LaGuardia or San Diego, then to a hotel, and finally to the surrealistic womb of a cruise ship where everybody is superbly trained to pretend to like you. Seven days later we are unceremoniously dumped back into the real world and do the weather-hexed travel thing again in reverse. Each cycle I question why we do it. Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay home and camp out on a street corner? But no, the memory of pain dims and there we go again. It is an anodyne for ennui, and also I’ve decided we are addicted to challenge.

    Point number B: NEVER fly three weeks either side of September 10th.

    • Christopher De Voss September 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM #

      Point B will be remembered. I’m too poor to travel anywhere at the moment, so enjoy the adventure no matter what. If everything goes wrong just think of the stories you could tell.

      • Jim Wheeler September 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM #

        Exactly, Christopher. It has already yielded blog material. 🙂

      • Christopher De Voss September 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM #

        Oh yeah, right. If I was British I would say, “Golly good show!” Although, I don’t think they say that.

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