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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Impressions of a Novice Traveler - The Hop Across the Pond

     


     Our flight to London was scheduled to leave Minneapolis around 11 p.m., but first the airline had to find some passengers who they could bribe into delaying their departure until the following day. It seems that the flight had been "accidently" overbooked, as happens so often these days. We did not want to be separated from our traveling companions, so none of us took the bait. The ante was upped from $500 to $1000 and eventually a few willing volunteers were found. At least nobody would have to be dragged off the plane. Soon we had boarded the plane and were on our merry way to England.
     We no sooner had taken off and gotten settled in the darkened cabin with our airline-supplied earplugs, blankets, and pillows when the lights came back on again and we were served supper. It felt odd to be eating chicken cordon bleu at 11:30 at night but it was "free" so we ate it. Then once again cabin lights were dimmed and so began 6 or 7 hours of attempting to sleep while cramped into a seat with your knees pressed up against the seat in front of you and nowhere to put your head. My 6 foot two son inch tall son was particularly uncomfortable. He finally got a few winks by balancing his backpack on his lap and leaning against it. Although I disagree with her Twitter beratement of airline employees and innocent fellow passengers, I do understand why tall and lanky Ann Coulter was upset at losing her specially chosen seat with the extra leg room.   Airline seats are not built for the average American frame.  Even for me, a petite five foot two inches, trying to sleep was futile, so I gave up trying and settled for closing my eyes and resting my brain.
     One thing I did notice was that once we were out over the open sea, the flight seemed to get less bumpy. It remained that way until we had crossed the Atlantic and were over land again, and then the gentle jostling returned. We never got into any serious turbulence, thank goodness. We were flying above the clouds so by about 4:30 a.m. the sun was shining brightly through the windows of those who had them unshuttered.
     Those who did manage to drift off were awakened in about the sixth hour of the flight by the stewardesses serving breakfast. Soon after breakfast was cleared the plane dropped down through the clouds,  approached London Heathrow, and we were on the ground. We were quickly herded through customs and had our passports stamped. We had arrived in the UK!
     Next: London - A City With a Past