Friday, We Leave for London

Filed under: London Trip Diary    

Susan has been packed now for several days. I packed yesterday. We planned to leave at 1 p.m. Atlanta time. We finally left at 1:09 according to the clock in my car.

As we were pulling out of our subdivision, Susan asked me if I had my teeth. She was referring to my retainer. I left it soaking in denture cleanser and forgot to put them on. I had to turn around and get them, as I’m still trying to keep my teeth from moving and wasting the thousands of dollars I spent on Invisalign braces (yes, they really do work and are practically invisible).

So we turned around, I ran back and grabbed them along with the prescription eyedrops I forgot too. We were back on the road at 1:16 p.m.

On Georgia 400, we encountered slow traffic, which delayed us by another 10 minutes or so. We got passed the three car accident and got back up to normal speed. We finally made it to mom’s house about 10 minutes till 2 p.m. Her friend Ming Su was there. She quickly left, and then the three of us got back in my car. I drove us to the Marta station at Perimeter Mall, and went to the kiss-ride area. We unloaded our bags, said goodbye to mom and went into the Marta station. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a train to arrive. The train was quite full.

As we rode the train south to the airport I had hoped to see massive traffic jams on 400 and I-85. Alas, I was not rewarded with views of fuming motorists. The roads were clear and moving at the speed limit and above. At least we will save paying for seven days of parking (about $7/day) and tipping the parking lot bus drivers.

We reached the airport around 3 p.m. The British Airways ticket/check-in counter was at the very end of the ticketing area, so we had to walk quite a ways. We waited in line for about 10 minutes, checked in and got our boarding passes, and proceeded to the security screening for international flights.

The funny thing about flying international is that I’ve always heard to get to the airport two hours in advance of your flight, while the guideline is one hour for domestic flights. Maybe Atlanta is different due to its busy nature, but to me, getting to an international flight actually took less time than for domestic flights.

The security screening for domestic and international flights is separate in Atlanta. I’ve spent 30 minutes waiting in line for a domestic flight. Today, we went through the international security screening in five minutes.

So here we sit 2 1/2 hours prior to our departure time. At least we have time to relax, write this journal entry, and eat dinner in a while.

We got a drink in the food court from McDonald’s.

Susan went to a pay phone and called her parents to say goodbye. We didn’t carry our cell phones on us. I did pack mine in my suitcase so I could easily call my mom when we got back. She’ll be picking us up, so I’ll need to call her.

Susan says the ladies bathroom at the airport was one of the worst she’s seen.

At 4:50 p.m. we ate at Panda Express in the food court. It was extremely busy, but the food was good.

The large waiting area at the gate slowly filled up. At least twice we saw multiple police officers walk through the area, as if they were looking for something. I was pleased to see the increased police presence in light of the terrorist plot recently uncovered and foiled in London.

Around 6 p.m., the gate representative announced that they were running a few minutes behind schedule because the plane arrived late. But it was only about 10 minutes before boarding began. The plane was a 777, which is very large, carrying several hundred people. The first class is very unique. Some seats face forward, some backward. The seats have privacy screens around them and they are in a reclining position. Back in the “commoners” section, we had seat 33A and 33B. Seat C was next to ours, and a quiet guy was sitting in it.

We pushed back from the gate about 15 minutes late, taxied out and took off.

Very soon after getting airborne, the flight attendants came around with beverages and pretzels. Shortly after that, dinner was served. Quite a number of people received their meals in a seemingly random order, and before everyone else. These were people who requested special meals.

Finally, our meals arrived and were very hot. We had a choice of chicken or beef. Both Susan and I chose chicken, which was a chicken and rice dish. The meal included a roll, a small candy bar, salad and a piece of chocolate cake. It was a very good meal, as far as airplane food goes. I ate all of mine and much of Susan’s. British Airways gets a thumbs up from me for their food quality.

Soon after we finished eating they turned out the cabin lights and started the video system. Each seat has its own video screen, headphones and controls. Multiple channels allow each person to choose from several movies, TV shows and music channels. There was also a map that shows exactly where your flight is, how fast you’re going, altitude, estimated arrival time, and more. The shows and movies kept me occupied all night (no, I never went to sleep).

Next Day: Our first full day in London

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