Friday, June 16, 2006

Manchester to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

We were delayed a few hours at Manchester Airport by a technical problem but as we had plenty of time to make our connection in Chicago it didn’t really matter. The flight over the Atlantic was very smooth and surprisingly clear. We flew over Harris and Lewis on our climb to altitude and could see quite clearly many of the features, especially the beaches, we had visited a week before.
Even more special was our flight over the southern tip of Greenland. From 10,000m we could see the deep blue ocean with ice flows and icebergs, glaciers, snow capped mountains and the ice sheet. We were unable to take good enough photos but using the resources of Google maps the link below gives you some idea of what we saw. Take time to scroll around.,44.391975&spn=0.095663,0.310707&t=k&om=1
We arrived at O’Hare with many other international flights so passage through USA immigration was very slow but we still had plenty of time to make our connection to Sioux Falls.
Our flight was delayed, then delayed again and finally cancelled!
Bad weather in the Chicago area that morning had caused a huge backlog of flights and air traffic control had been forced to reallocate slots. Obviously flights to the main centres took priority.
The airport was full of angry and frustrated passengers, many of whom would have to spend the night there. My partner was quickly on the phone to rebook flights for the next morning, albeit separate ones, while I organized a room at the Airport Hilton. No way was I going to sleep on the floor of the airport! Been there, done that!
This was a very expensive exercise but worth every cent. A hot shower, a comfortable bed and a burger and beer in the bar eased the pain of our delay.
Next morning we were early to check in and soon on our way, together, and upgraded to first class. Thank you United Express!
We headed into town for some lunch, a Caribou Coffee (maybe the best in the world!) and some shopping.
We spent the next few days fighting off jet lag and catching up with family.
We would soon be heading to Tucson, Arizona for an extended stay.

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