Organising ourselves for our 2013 trip to France, we managed to avoid too much packing-panic. After all, travelling overseas every year, you would think that we would have it down pat. And packing for a few months is not that different to packing for 2 weeks anyway. This year is a bit different however, flying via the US to take a transatlantic cruise to Europe. An ideal way for Tony to continue his recuperation from his recent heart surgery, and despite still waiting for his leg to heal after complications, we got the go-ahead from the surgeon the day before departure. Phew.
Encountering a traffic jam on the Tullamarine Freeway (the only way to get to Melbourne airport) was not an ideal start. Lucky we had left home early.
An online check-in always saves a bit of time and, after surviving the usual security and immigration checks we were at the departure gate at what should have been boarding time… only to be advised that the plane was running 15 minutes late. No biggie hey? Except that 15 minutes turned into an hour. Patience is a virtue as they say.
Once on the plane, there were further delays –firstly some technical hitches, then followed by not just one medical emergency, but two!
As time ticked by it became obvious that we would not make our next flight and as it was on a separate booking we had to take care of that ourselves. Tony made an international call to get us bumped onto the next flight, and we thought that was under control.
Three hours after our scheduled departure we were finally in the air. Yes, three hours!
Then, probably as a result of all that extra waiting – and not having had any breakfast before we left – I had my own medical emergency when I came over all hot, clammy and faint. I had to get assistance from the cabin crew who got me to lay on the floor in a galley area with my legs elevated and put me on oxygen for half an hour. They said it was very common, but it’s never happened to me before. Rather embarrassing – but at least I got to stretch out for a while. Cattle-class on the A380 is super-cramped.
The dramas didn’t end there. Finally on the ground in LA we found out that no, we weren’t actually booked on the next plane to Dallas and anyway with the extremely slow queues to get through security in the domestic terminal we would have missed that one too. At the desk they shortlisted us for the following flight and by the time we got to the gate we basically walked straight on the plane. It wasn’t quite so finely tuned to get from Dallas to New Orleans. We had to wait until that plane was already due to depart before we were allocated seats, and those weren’t even together. But at least we were on our way!
So a 14 hour flight from Melbourne to LA, 3 hours to Dallas, and an hour and a half to New Orleans (plus all the waiting time), then 40 minutes on an airport hotel shuttle bus to our hotel, a bed never looked so inviting!