a harrowing flight later... - 1370°C
Sep. 17th, 2005
11:09 am - a harrowing flight later...
endon_neu, gothicfurby, hizhnik, and nephster13 saw me off at the airport (yes, i felt loved), and there was just enough bureaucracy to keep my own waterworks at bay (just had to look up to make sure that it was actually spelled "bay," i've never written that down before). and nephster13 courteously hustled everyone out before the emo faeries could descend.
much to my chagrin, my plane left 2.5 hours late (i could have slept in, or chatted longer with friends, or gotten unforgivably pissed at the airport pub damnit! ;P), which meant that we arrived in London half an hour before i had to catch my plane to Chicago. the nice Aer Lingus people said "those of you making connections to Chicago, British Air know you're on your way, just hurry." great. so i rush out of the plane (leaving my beloved black leather trench coat in the overhead bin in my haste :(, jog to the bus that takes you to the other terminals (because of course i came in at terminal one and needed to be at terminal 4 to depart), run through that terminal only to find that the plane has, in fact, departed.
dejectedly backtrack to the British Air counter, find that there's no way they can get me *anywhere* the States before Friday morning, also find that i have to backtrack to terminal 1 in order to get Aer Lingus to book me a hotel for the night, get my new flight details, trundle along to terminal 1, talk to the nice Aer Lingus ticket people, who didn't give me a bit of hassle, who phoned the gate to have them fetch my trench coat and tell me they'll have it waiting for me at the ticket counter in the morning, and who bundle me in a taxi to a hotel in Feltham (seems ages away from the airport and its only saving grace was that there was an Aldi across the street). check in with no trouble, discover they have wireless, head up to my room to email everyone relevant and say i wouldn't be in till the morrow.
however. not only was the wireless not working, but in fact the entire internet at the hotel was down. since i wasn't paying for my room myself, they wouldn't activate the phone in my room so i could use my phone card to make a free phone call. the payphones downstairs wouldn't let you make a free phone call unless you could pony up 20p to put in the phone first. argh! went back to the nice hotel check-in folk who ultimately let me make several international calls on their own phones. this was particularly important as gothaminserenia had agreed to fetch me from the airport that evening, and, as i was already putting him out, i didn't want him to trek all the way there only to find that i wasn't.
wandered to the shop, actually found a bank machine and got out 10 pounds (ah yes, should have thought of this *before* the phone debacle, but i did ask the hotel if there was a bank machine nearby and they didn't seem to know there was one right across the street), bought wine and chocolate at Aldi, came back to the hotel and spent the evening watching news and documentaries on the BBC. went to bed early.
up at 6am, down to get my taxi back to the airport, which was more than 1/2 an hour late and was also fetching another person who had to be in a different terminal than i did, drove about. finally arrived back at terminal one, went happily to Aer Lingus in expectation of getting my trench coat back only to find that it wasn't there, or with the Aer Lingus baggage folk. was told to check airport Lost and Found, in terminal two (for those of you just tuning in again, i was in terminal one and needed to leave out of terminal four). after deciding i *really* didn't have the time for this, i tried to get the woman to give me some phone numbers for people i could ring when i got back, but only managed to get one number, for Aer Lingus baggage. decided that i'd probably never see my lovely bit of leather again, and went to get on my plane.
made it to the gate with enough time to dash off a few emails to those i hadn't phoned to apprise them of my situation and got on the plane. bit of hassle when my seat was broken, was told by a waitress in the sky that i could move "anywhere" so moved to a totally empty row in business class only to be told an hour later that i wasn't allowed to sit there (despite the total lack of seats in coach). after explaining the situation to this new fellow, he insisted my seat *did* work, so i went back to show him. he finally assented, but then disassembled the entire seat to fix it. now, that's grand, because he *did* fix it. it's not like i was angling for a free upgrade. but since i was sitting by the window, to show him that it was broken and for him to fix it required that the two people in my row actually get up and stand in the aisle for quite some time when they were meant to be eating/sleeping/watching airline films/whatever. since all you get in business class is a bit more room, and most of the section was *entirely* empty, it seemed like a lot of hassle to me. anyway, other than the woman seated behind me nearly constantly kneeing (or something) me in the back, the rest of the flight was fine. vaguely interesting films, minimum of crying babies, ability to sleep, people next to me were nice but not overly chatty and kept to the confines of their own seats. food was a bit of a mess ("do you want a cheese and onion sandwich or an egg and cress one?" "what else is on them?" "what do you mean?" "i mean, on the cheese and onion, is there anything else on the sandwich or is that it?" "no, there's nothing else." "great, i'll have cheese and onion then, please." seconds later as i hand the full sandwich back to her for disposal "what's wrong?" "when i asked you if there was anything else on the sandwich, you said there wasn't..." "erm..?" "there's more mayonnaise on this than either cheese or onion, may i just have a glass of juice?" puzzled expression, glass of juice provided, all good), but not terribly so and we arrived in Chicago on-time. woo hoo.
i found the Chicago airport surprisingly easy to navigate after Heathrow (those of you who have been in Chicago O'Hare will likely find this funny). had to collect my luggage go through customs and re-check it, which turned out to be surprisingly easy. got to my gate in plenty of time, read for a bit, waltzed onto the plane, sat next to a slightly tipsy, very Minnesotan kid just out of Army basic training who was headed to Iraq in a week and was terribly concerned that myself and the girl on the other side of him would think him a terrible drunkard (told him i thought he had every right to spend the next week totally pissed). read some more.
made it to MN in one piece and miraculously, my luggage arrived as well. both of us were unscathed. lugged said luggage around attempting to acquire American money and a taxi (and was cheered at one point by two punk rockers for my Herculean efforts), navigated the taxi home and found _goodmanbrown_ there. had a nice but strange chat, ate some dinner, he buggered off to sonnetofthemoon's, and i came back to email/IM folk so they didn't worry and then collapsed in a heap of tiredness.
i miss you, pir, blackberry_roan, nephster13, nodis, endon_neu, solo_beckett, ickle_tayto, hizhnik, gothicfurby, blaquewraith, and alan_ie. and lots of others who aren't on here.
(bonus points for anyone who can identify the video game reference in the subject of this post)