So here I am in the smoking lounge in Atlanta airport again, this should be the last time for a while as we are finally on our way. It is Sunday and we completed the walk through of our huge home in here and we need to get used to the fact that we will be living in a 139 sq meter apartment for the next couple of years. I want to say the new place is 1/10th of the US one but not sure.
The day is going ok. Stayed at the DoubleTree last night a mile from where we live and left Eric at home thinking it would less stress for her to be in a place she knows. At $110 for one night I thought was excellent value and the rooms are well laid out. Only slightly soured by being charged $27 for breakfast (should have gone to the Waffle House). An hour or so doing the house check out. No real problems as it actually in better shape now than when we moved in.
Arrived at the airport at noon for a 4:45 flight (got to love that girl) dropped Judi and Eric outside the check in and took the car back to the rental. Momenterarly forgetting I then have to drag the cases back. Into the ticket queue no minders this time bit of a shame I was planning to tell them we were sending the cat as an unaccompanied minor. Little did I know Delta would get their own back. $150 to carry the cat on the plane and sit under our feet. Still no turning back so smile as we hand over the credit card. Next the scanners I hold back the crowd by acting dumb (no comments on that please) whilst Judi gets Eric out of her bag to be carried through. Trying to get her back in the carrier proves difficult as the staff are busy collecting the bins so the carrier keeps moving along the conveyor. Amusing for everyone watching but not for those involved. Done so I scoot through.
I have a plan to strap the carrier to my walk on thinking it would be easier than being jogged up and down on my shoulder. A good plan however every time she moved she upsets the delicate balancing act and the carrier falls to the floor. Judi decides after three drops that she will carry Eric as it will be safer. We head for one of the Delta lounges only to find it does not open until 2pm. Now am I picky or should I expect that the largest Airport in the world and the home of my carrier of convenience would have their lounges open 24*7 especially given you have to pay for the privilage of getting in (or not as the case may be). So we find another lounge which is of course packed and settle down. The only point to note is 3 guys regaliing each other about the different types of aircraft and the plusses and minuses for each. Now it has never interested me as to what type of aircraft I am on. my only thoughs are around takeing off and landing on time. I notice aircraft by how clean they are and the level of service I get not by the mechanics. The only way I can tell what aircraft i am on is to look at the emergency card in the seat pocket as it allways tells you there.
I get bored and wander off to go and check the gate which is not open. Wander around then go and relieve Judi. She finds the gate open when she goes past and hands over her US I-94 and gets her Russian visa validated. Next my turn to go again, the queue is about 15 people and after 15 minutes it is 10. The two staff behind the counter seem to be preoccupied one with the flight crew and the other on the phone. By now I am bored so decide I will do when board given I have checked luggage they won’t take off without me. So head for the smoking lounge.
This is when I spot this guy with a tattoo of who else “Elvis”. I take a few looks and try and get a shot on my iPhone but it is too far away so i decide to go and ask if I can get a close up. He is Dutch and more than happy to oblige even showing me the one on his other arm which I had not noticed. I casually mention I was in Graceland a few weeks back and would you believe it so was he. So we have a great chat about all the things we saw the rooms and general Elvis related stuff. Sun Records, Beal street and all of the other things we got up to.
He and his wife even went to Tupelo. So there we are having a great time smoking and chatting when my phone goes off and I know what’s next. it’s Judi asking if I am lost, it’s time to board so off we go.
I queue jump to get my visa checked then cut across the lines to catch up with Judi. Dump Eric on the floor in front of us and settle in with my iPod and bag of peanuts. Eric is slightly dozy given the amount of drugs I have given her. Not asleep just dozy and she is find when not on the move just a little skittish when the bag is moving what you hear is this low yawl. This is what everyone hears as we take off. The plane has 3 cats on board which the girl on the phone informed me is the maximum allowance. Not exactly how they came to this valuation but at $150 each I think they should let more on. Eric is of course the only one making a racket.
I decide probably best not to drink given Judi has had a couple of glasses of champagne before we take off. She has travelled with the cat before on her own and I think she should have got a medal. It is difficult enough with two of us trying to manage it so you have to admire her fortitude in doing all on her own when we moved to the States. Ok so what is the entertainment “Hotel for dog’s and Race to Witch Mountain”. Not a surprise given these seem to be the only ones they have. Not bothered at all as this is our official move and the flight is over 10 hours we got business seats and can choose our films. Well we would have had it not been for the fact that a couple of hours into the flight just after dinner the power to the interior of the plane went off. No Tv, No moving the seats, no hot water for coffee no reading lights and od course critically important no inflight quiz for Judi to play. After another hour the pilot tells us he has decided to continue as turning back to JFK would be disruptive to us. Well it would be disruptive to and also very expensive for Delta as well, having both plane and crew on the wrong continent so we all decide to go with the flow. One notable incident when I got up to see why a couple of people were talking so loud only to find both had earphones on. I as tactfully as I could suggested they may find it easier to communicate if they took them off for a moment which seemed to surprise them ome what.
Landing slightly early I fully expect to be checked for swine flu again however there has been another change in the process and all we have to do is fill out a form saying where we have been recently which gets up off the plane and we quickly get in the queue at customs. Get through and wait for the cases. As a final parting shot our “Priority” luggage makes it onto the carousel as part of the last bunch of bags so if you ever get one of those yellow tags attached to you baggage don’t get too excited as the it makes not a jot of difference.
If I did not know better I would think Delta had been getting their own back for all my bad behavior over the last couple of years.
They cannot possible run a profitable airline like this can they ??.
Busy, busy, busy