Monday, August 30, 2004

The Trip Home

The night before departure I found out that my early morning flight had been delayed by over 2 hours. This would make local connections very tight and I didn't want to miss my flight home out of Los Angeles (LAX). If I did, it would mean a 24 hour wait for another.
So United Airlines changed some bookings and I felt confident that if I could get my baggage checked through to Sydney I would have a good chance of maintaining my schedule.
I turned up to Minneapolis Airport early next morning to check in and make sure the baggage situation could be settled. Sure enough my bags were booked through to Sydney, one of the advantages of flying with Star Alliance members. The reason for the delay was that the plane had arrived late the previous evening due to bad weather in the Chicago area. As the same crew was rostered for the next morning, rest period regulations prevented an on time departure. We boarded the plane on time but then just sat there. The captain had decided we hadn't enough fuel and was topping up. This delay caused us to miss our "spot" so we sat in a queue of planes waiting for take off. Another hour's delay!!!!!!!!
As a result, our arrival in Denver was very late and, yes, I had missed my revised connection. In fact "my" plane was pulling out as we were pulling in. A quick trip to a service agent got me another boarding pass for the next LAX flight which was leaving in 10 minutes. So it was quite a rush from one end of Denver's terminal 2 to the other but I made it. Once in LAX, I had an hour to make my international flight. It was another rush from United's terminal 7 to Tom Bradley International, over a mile. Luckily I got there in time and fought through the scrum that is the TBI to get checked in. Eventually I settled into my seat for the 12 hour flight to Seoul, hot, sweaty, stressed and thinking I was too old for all this. But I quickly fell asleep and later enjoyed a few good movies and some nice food.
I spent a few quiet hours at the wonderful Seoul airport relaxing in the Asiana lounge before another 12 hours to Sydney. Asiana Airlines is great to fly with. They have excellent service both on the ground and in the air and despite the extra time it takes to get to/from the USA via Seoul it is worth it. And you rack up extra flyer points as well.
In Sydney I was surprised to see my bags come out of the shute as soon as the belt started. Considering the very short transit times I had experienced en route, I was amazed my baggage even arrived in Sydney on the same flight.
So that was that!
Well, almost. I still had a 3 hour drive to get to the farm.

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