A Travellerspoint blog

March 16/17 flight

learning what it means to flight a long distance

sunny -50 °C

The Flight
It is now 2 hours before flight departure. i.e. 10pm and people are beginning to arrive from different directions. From the sound of the conversations, mostly people from Australia.
I ended up chatting a bit with a elderly gentleman from Perth and two family type couples in their 40s from the Coast. I didn't learn a bunch as we just had general chit chat and it was a pleasant way to pass the time after such a solo time.
I was lucky for boarding because I was in row 65 which is near the back and that boarded first. Yeah!
So I had a window seat and was 10 rows from the toilet. Actually good positioning for me. I was praying that no one would be seated right next to me. Again luck was on my side because no one at all sat in the two seats next to me! In the center row across from me was a mom and dad and two kids looked about 5 and 7 yrs. Exact for a little moaning, they were troopers for such a long journey!

So we were all on and ready to go by midnight – then....an announcement...wouldn't you know....security had declined a traveller and Qantas had to find that traveller's suitcase and pull it out. This is a 747 plane with many passengers. They thought they knew where it would be and assured us the delay would be short...not so much. After many apologies explaining that we are not allowed to fly with baggage that does not belong to a passenger, we finally flew out at 1:36am.

(I am writing this 2 days after the event, so the impact has been softened by distance of time!)
We are given a timeline of events for the approximate 13 hours travelling time. We are provided a nice supper. I had a very good chicken in a sauce with mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables plus dessert, beverage, bread. It was a good meal.

Before the meal was even handed out I was struggling to stay awake, but I knew that if I didn't eat, my body would give me a hard time in certainty! So finally it was time to let sleep come over me. Well although I had the advantage of a three seat lie down, my legs need to be bent and the seats are shaped/molded for comfort, so don't get any impression that this is a comfy place; just better off than those that don't have the same option!

I awoke after 2 hrs to go to the toilet. The plane does rock so I felt almost drunk walking down to the toilet. I had not put my glasses on, so I didn't know which of the three doors was the toilet. Fortunately there was a man there doing leg stretches and he pointed out the door to me, then I didn't know how to open the door, you gotta realize I am feeling majorly stupid and a little sweaty with the pressure. Thank you to my guide to the toilet who demonstrated the middle push to open the door. The walk back to find my seat was facilitated by the fact that I was seated across from this young family and this was my landscaping factor! Too bad for another soul who came into my seating area while my feet were down at that end and he sat down and was quite mixed up as to why I was there, when finally he “got it” he apologized and moved on.

I think I slept reasonably under the circumstances for the next 4 hrs. I had to keep changing positions because of pressure points, but I was able to do this while still staying in the sleep zone, sort of.
I got up and went for a walk to the toilet area, just because it felt good to stretch out and up. I am in a twilight zone state now because my mind does not know what to think about, I am no longer desperate for sleep, and the plane is dark and people are quiet, some lying, some slumped over in a seated position. It is really a movie moment here somehow. At some point I again drifted in and out for the next 2 hours with bouts of thirst. Finally I felt the movement of the flight attendants, morning must have permission to begin. Indeed breakfast was arriving, choice of hot or cold. I had a good meal with yoghurt, raisin bran with milk, cheese and crackers with bowl of fruit, coffee and orange juice. I tried to extend eating time as long as possible. Then breakfast was over, time to watch TV. I watched a few good documentaries, but it is really hard for me to even care about watching any shows, yet it is a way of filling in time.

Then it is time to fill in the customs declaration form that is required for entry into Australia, again it is good to have something to do! Oh, and the attendants asked that all the window coverings were raised to allow the sunshine in. Still just clouds to see. So I turned on the TV again. This time I chose a show of Danny Bhoy, comedian. He was so funny, I was laughing aloud and didn't apologize, it felt good.

I watched the cloud formations and finally started to see evidence of land, by way of two islands. I saw many many white moving specs in the waters and couldn't really tell what they were. A couple of times I could swear that I saw dolphin style over and under type swimming. Then I saw the most beautiful turquoise water that I have never seen before! Turquoise areas interspersed with darker green waters. It is magical to see nature in this real colour and not just a painting or photograph which nowadays can be so enhanced. Then we fly along the coastline, and it is a beautiful sight.

We are asked to delay our landing in Brisbane. Also, many passengers were to have connecting flights from this flight, and since we left an hour and a half late, those connections were lost. So the announcements were made that arrangements were being looked after by Qantas. I can handle one more delay because the ending is in sight!

Disembarking, collecting baggage, going through customs all went well. I moved on the rental car company where I had pre-booked my car, easy to find. What a good start to my journey here in Australia.

Posted by dpanusa 03:26 Archived in Australia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Airports

LAX

16 °C

I om such a neophyte in travellng I was so spoiled with YVR.

At LAX Terminal 4 I have to pay for the internet;YVR offers a free one. At LAX Terminal 4 there are no TV viewing areas with any subject matter ; YVR has this in the waiting area when I went to Mexico on a charter years ago.
I wanted to use my bank debit card at the food place here, and the service representative advised that no store here will tke this debit card unless the VISA word is on it. I used my VISA and I did not sign, nor was I asked for my PIN? I am feeling so tired from sitting so much and there is no type of massage offers here at all, not even a chair massage; I saw this service in Vancouver and I was looking forward to getting a massage in LAX. Perhaps the problem is that I am in Termnal 4? But I can't hang around the main airport like one can in Vancouver. I feel quite containerized here.

then on another topic: my travel agent - she gave me the impression of working with and for me, it would have been nice if she would have discussed with me the ramifications of the long layover in LA. My friends talked to me about this after I showed them my itinerary, but the trip was now in stone, no changes. So beware neophyte travellers, before you pay, ask your experienced traveller friends to have a read!

Ohwell, Live and Learn.

Posted by dpanusa 13:18 Archived in USA Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

March 16, 2010

The start

semi-overcast 9 °C

Today I woke up at 5 am after sleeping in 2hr spurts. So a little tired but a buzz at the same time because I don't want to be late to the airport. I only have to be there at 7am, but still I am running over what to put in the carry on and what I should put in the checked bag. When I am ready to go, and I seem to be stalling calling the taxi. I am now going to have to commit to leaving home and enter into the adventure zone! Oh my.
I called.

I feel like a fish out of water going into the airport. I am so not familiar with what comes next. I try to read all the signs. Fill out the declaration form for going through the USA. The questions so do not fit with I have to do and that is go onward via Qantas. Fill it out the best I can and over to the Alaska Airlines counter.

Nice but not communicative. I seemed to stand there a long time, turns out the agent was having a difficult time confirming the Australian Visa because she couldn't get to the correct internet site. Finally done. Move forward.

Off to checking the baggage and down to US Customs. The agent there...shows me how to fill out the declaration form. Destination = my flight number and the word transit. Nice. Then off to the check me in station. It felt weird to take off my shoes :-) and then pad around to the other side and gather everything together, including putting my laptop back into my carry on and get back into my shoes, while others are behind me waiting to get their stuff also. No pressure. And then....like a creek flows into a bigger river, I am now into the hallways leading to the gates. Free to go. Coffee time!

I eyed the Starbucks counter and got my soy. Then toddled over to get my English muffin breakfast. All along keeping an eye on the counter with power plugs so that I could use my laptop and not use up battery power. I am now feeling comfortable. I am at a counter with coffee in my tummy, food in my tummy and the comfort of emails and access to the internet before me. This is a good start.

Posted by dpanusa 00:52 Archived in Canada Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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