Posts Tagged ‘Flying’

We’re In London!

I got to London Saturday afternoon, and had an interesting journey into the city, lugging my 70 pound suitcase through the Underground and down the streets to the dorm room I rented for the night at the London School of Economics. I was exhausted by the time I got there — I didn’t really sleep on the flight — and I took a little nap before heading out to get some basic necessities like a London cell phone, a plug adapter and, of course, dinner.

The next day, I dragged my bag through more of the city and down to Evan’s office — he was arriving that afternoon, but my checkout time was 10 a.m. Why tube stations don’t have adequate escalators or elevators is beyond me. Thankfully once people saw me struggling up flights of stairs, dragging my big suitcase up one step at a time while also carrying a backpack, laptop bag and purse and wearing a winter coat, they took pity on me and helped out a bit. Still, I was sore by the end of the day!

After dropping off my luggage, I started exploring the city. I walked down Oxford Street and Regent Street, though Picadilly Circus, by Hyde Park, through Trafalgar square and to Big Ben and Parliament. I saw Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, the Thames and even made it to Buckingham Palace during the changing of the guards. I couldn’t see all that much since it was very crowded, though. I also didn’t have my camera with me, so no pictures yet.

After that, I explored my new neighborhood a bit, had a cup of coffee and then went to meet Evan since he’d arrived.

So far, so good — it’s been very easy to get around, our place is nice and surprisingly big, and we had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant named Prezzo down the street.

We’re still not totally unpacked and settled, but I’m sure we will be soon. I can’t wait to get out and explore some more.

A 24-Hour Trip Back to LA

My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. in Budapest on Saturday. I got up, showered, and was ready to be taken to the airport at 6:30. Evan came along, too, just to drop me off. His flight was later in the day. I got through check-in, passport control and security in about five minutes. And I was supposed to have about an hour before my plane was boarding. That hour stretched to about 3 hours — there was heavy fog in London slowing things down.

Everyone at the Budapest airport was really nice about it, though. The captain for our British Airways flight even hung out with us and talked to us about the delays. She was very nice. Anyway, I got a new flight to LA, since I was going to be missing mine, and I just waited until we could finally leave.

We got to London at noon, and I had about three hours to wait before my next flight. Evan’s flight was delayed a bit, too, but he was able to make his connection.

I got to my gate, and looking at my new ticket, I realized that they’d put me in Word Traveler Plus — the BA premium economy section. I was excited about it. And when they finally scanned my ticket, they said it was changed again — turned out that I was flying business class! I’ve had some good luck on BA. This was my second business class flight this year with them.

firstclass.jpgI sat down and enjoyed a glass of champagne, and we ended up sitting at our gate for an hour and a half or so before getting any sort of start. Our 10-plus hour flight went by smoothly. I enjoyed lying back and putting my feet up, and I didn’t sleep, but watched a bunch of on-demand movies. This was I think the first time on a BA flight that the entertainment worked properly. On the other 3 transatlantic flights I’ve taken recently, there were a lot of issues with the system. I watched:

  1. Stardust: Very entertaining! I’d definitely recommend it.
  2. The Simpson’s Movie: If you like the show, you’ll enjoy the movie. I chuckled quite a bit.
  3. The Darjeeling Limited: I enjoyed it a lot.
  4. Ratatouille: Cute, though doesn’t make all that much sense.
  5. Hairspray: Rather annoying. Especially John Travolta’s role. I can’t believe I watched the whole thing.
  6. Shrek the Third: I only saw the first bit of it. Wasn’t terribly interested.

Of course, the waiting and long lines didn’t stop once I got off the plane. Immigration had really long lines, the baggage claims were packed and then the lines to get through customs were completely chaotic and winding all around the various baggage claims and columns. I finally got out, and my mom and sister picked me up. And it took quite a while to get out of the parking garage, too.

I finally got home at 9 p.m. or so. Long, long day.

Evan got home to Syracuse a bit after that. He had 3 flights.

The Comment That Made My Day

If you’ve been following the blog from the beginning, you know that I started this trip on a British Airways flight sitting next to a Romanian film distributor and an Italian porn star (totally unrelated). Anyway, Cristina, the film distributor and I have emailed a few times, and today she finally read the post about my trip over here–and commented! Check it out.

If You’re a Nervous Flier, Don’t Read This

From the scary news department at ABC comes a story about airlines underfueling their planes to save on gas costs.

At Newark Liberty International Airport, just five flights landed under minimum or low-fuel conditions over a six-month period in 2005. In a similar period this year, 73 flights came into the same airport with minimum fuel.

Perhaps most disturbing, an additional 10 flights had to declare the more serious emergency fuel situation — meaning they needed to land immediately or they risked running out of gas. [ABC News]

The report also goes on to talk about a pilot called out by his airline for fueling up his planes too much and it quotes air traffic controllers on the problem as well.

Though I hate the title of the story and think it’s over the top–really, “Danger in the Sky: Underfueled Planes”? It’s really everything that’s wrong with TV news. Still, I wouldn’t want to hear my pilot tell me we’re going in for an emergency landing because we only have X minutes of fuel left, and I certainly wouldn’t want to hear that this is a new ruse to get priority landing.

A Film Distributor, a Porn Star and I Get on a Plane Together

I know, sounds a little crazy, but on my flight to London, I sat next to a Romanian film distributor and next to her was a young Italian man heading home from LA after spending a year doing porn. At least he still talks to his family, right? He kept talking about his future wife and kids, too. They both turned out to be fun seatmates and we chatted for a good portion of the long, long flight.