Thursday, November 18, 2010

Belatedly but Safely Back in Richmond

We arrived here at 2:10 this morning after a very long journey in which amost everything else that could go wrong did.

Hint: Do not stay in a Travelodge Hotel. That is, unless every other hotel is already overbooked because half the people staying in them didn't intend to but had to because the fog caused their planes to arrive so late.

Thank you: to Andrew Kerr, for driving two foreign strangers to the Travelodge after the shuttle bus service had ended for the night. We shall never forget your kindness.

Hint: Do not fly USAir. (We ignored the advice of a friend on this matter and now regret it.)

Hint: It would be really good if everywhere you went your carry-on bag didn't have to contain 19 medical books plus a laptop computer.

Complaint: London's Heathrow Airport only informs you of your gate number 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Departure time, not boarding time. Then you have 20 minutes to find that gate and walk a mile or more (no exaggeration!) to get there, towing carry-ons.

Hint: If you do fly USAir, be aware that their policy nowadays is that every plane shall push off 10 minutes earlier than the scheduled departure time. Of course, that's only for your connecting flight. Your original one is more likely to be 3 hours late.

Hint: Your gate number is actually printed on your boarding pass. Of course, it's only the planned (as distinct from the actual) gate number, so if you go there in time to board, you may find yourself further than ever from wherever your plane really is boarding.

Hint: Phildelphia's airport also has mile-long distances (yes, really) between concourses. Take the electric shuttle cart. It isn't only for the aged and the infirm, and it's free. Tip the driver anyway because she will probably be the only person at the airport who is going to treat you with a kind and cheerful attitude.

Hint: Major road work on interstate highways is usually done late at night and into the wee hours of the morning, causing lane closings and hour-long traffic jams.

Thank you: to my brother-in-law, Daniel, for picking us up at the Baltimore Airport, later than planned. Also for keeping our car all summer. And returning it to us cleaner (and with more gas) than we left it.

Hint: A hot bath will (temporarily) soothe leg muscles that have been running several miles and arm and neck muscles sore from getting carry-ons (with 19 medical books and laptop computer) in and out of overhead bins.


elizabeth said...

Whew! glad you made it back safely.

margaret said...

When I used to travel to Denver regularly I flew BA out of Gatwick which was just fine and then they changed it to Heathrow and inevitably, for the reasons you described, I would get on the plane a wheezing, hysterical wreck. I HATE that about Heathrow with every fibre of my being.

But I am also glad you are home :)

Anam Cara said...

Welcome back. East, west, home is best!

I've only flown into Heathrow once, usually landing at Stansted which requires a train that takes forever to get to London. I've also flown into Mindenhall on occasion, but of course, that isn't an option for most folks.