Monday, January 18, 2010

i landed in london and had no idea what was going to happen...

when i got off the plane, there were a lot of ba agents with signs for other cities' flights, but not stockholm. i was a little worried, but i figured the further i walked out, i might find one. no luck.

so i follow the signs described in the video on the plane, (apparently its a pretty confusing process...) and i felt so lost. for most of you, you know how often i fly, and how much of an "expert" a lot of people think i am. i have never felt like such a rookie, so i asked the agent for the munich flight if i was going the right way. she was certain there was an agent for my flight, but eventually she changed her mind -- because there wasnt... -- and agreed to escort me to the gate.

we got on a train, like the ones they have in the atlanta airport, to the other terminal. we get off, and she takes us to the express customs for connecting flights and the agent asks the other woman at the counter if i even have time to get to the gate, doesnt even look at my passport or anything, and says that its not gonna happen. i have to rebook... again.

i waited in the line for a few minutes before i made it to the desk, and i did not want to wait another day to be in sweden. of course, the next flight was the next day. at 10:45 a.m. great. lucky me, i wasnt just staying in the uk for a few minutes, i was staying for hours. almost 17.

they set me up with a hotel and the shuttle pass for there and back.

i went through border patrol, customs and had to ask someone at a travel desk which post to stand to catch my shuttle.

since the weather was nice in la, and i knew i would get uncomfortable with the uggs on the plane, i wore flip flops. i packed the uggs in my vera duffle and planned to don them once i got to the airport in stockholm.

i was so warm from being on the plane for so long, i was out in 40 degree weather -- or colder -- in sandals. i didnt care. i was just ready to get somewhere, even if it was the ibis heathrow in london.

a bunch of little girls were on the shuttle, and of course, they freaked out when the bus started moving and they werent holding the rail.

once we made it the hotel, the lobby was crowded like half of the world traveling through lhr had flights canceled and were staying there. all they wanted at check in was my name and passport number, i guess to cross reference with the airline.

i got dinner from the buffet of english food, which isnt the best in my opinion, and tried to watch a little tv -- perhaps the office? -- but i couldnt get the tv to turn on. so i went down to the front desk to exchange some currency to get a beer. after that, i laid down to read and fell asleep not long after.

i thought i might sleep through the night since i was so exhausted from traveling, but i was up around 6 the next morning. the breakfast buffed opened at 6:30, so i piddled around for a while then got ready and finally went down to get some grub.

"traditional english breakfast" does not include english muffins... and definitely does not include the sausage egg and cheese mcmuffin! it was ok, but i really didnt care for it much. plus, i was going to get fed on the plane, again, right?

figuring it might take a few minutes longer to get to the airport from the hotel than it did to get to the hotel from the airport, i decided to go ahead and get ready to leave on the next bus. lucky i did that, because i swear it took 30 minutes to get there.

since i already had my boarding pass, i didnt have to check in, but i wanted to double check so i talked to an agent once i got there. no worries, i could head to security. but hold the phone! you cant have two carry ons in london? what? i had to check vera!!! i was a little upset, but i let her go and wished her the best.

with just my backpack, and raffe, i headed in to the security line. no full-body scanners here. but it wasnt as strict as in the states. at home, you have to put your laptop in a separate bin, by itself. no, there, it goes in with your coat... interesting. they must know something we dont.

but it gets better. when i talked to the agent earlier, she told me something about a gallery where i could wait. i thought this was just the fancy british word for waiting area at the gate, but no. i got there, and it was just like what i figure the admirals club would be like, but better.

theres food everywhere. free wine. free internet. a bar. a huge window overlooking the runway. it was so much better than i anticipated. i definitely took advantage of the internet as it had been nearly 24 hours since i last checked facebook.

after a solid 45 min of charging my battery in the international outlets in the gallery from heaven, i packed up my macbook and headed to my gate. i didnt know where it was, so i asked the woman at the entrance.

i took the escalator downstairs, and i feel like im on rodeo drive. theres a gucci store, prada, all that crap, and im in the airport... i stop at a newsstand to get some water, and my free paper, and head through the "mall" to my gate.

this airport is way to glamorous. it just seemed like they want to put the luxury back in flying, but who can afford to shop prada in the airport? that seems a little excessive.

i make it to my gate, and check with the agent there about my miles. my american advantage number is no where to be found on my ticket, so i am a little worried i havent gotten my miles. again, if you know me, you know my miles are a big deal to me. surprise! they arent there, but this flight will be. ugh. so its another thing i have to do when i get to sundsvall; get my miles.

i sat down at the gate, and i just felt like the people were eyeing my adpi sandals and thinking, "this chick is crazy. doesnt she know its f**king freezing in stockholm?" but nevertheless, i went on with the flip flops, and it was just fine.

not long after, we started boarding. we took an escalator down one more floor and walked (what seemed like) a mile to the plane. i got to sit in club europe, which is like a first-and-a-half class. still leather seats, but theyre not as big as standard first. better food, and champagne with breakfast!

the flight wasnt bad, except for when i went to get something out of my bag, someone had spilled coffee on the floor under the seat in front of me, so it was all over the back of my backpack. this was going to be fun to smell for the next four hours. dont forget, i despise the smell of black coffee... well most all coffee.

i read my free newspaper for most of the way, then we landed in stockholm. i was almost there!

1 comment:

Test said...

Oh my god... I feel sorry for you! This experience will make you think twice before going to Europe again!

Anyway, you have made it!