Ah, jetlag.

by sam on 03/5/2007

I tried not to sleep on the plane, because I knew it would screw me up, but then? I fell asleep. for most of the flight from London. Oh well, I suppose I’ll have to take some sort of power nap later today, as I woke up at 5:30 this morning once I did go to bed in my apartment.

As always, traveling home from Europe is a singular experience. This time, I didn’t have to sit next to a senile old lady, but people may have thought that I was crazy, with the muttering under my breath at various points in the process.

To start off. When I booked the trip, I opted for the latest flight out of Milan possible. I didn’t know what my schedule was going to be the last week there, given that the deal I was working on was supposed to close that week (and when I was booking, the schedule was still a bit up in the air). Given that, I thought having as much time to pack over the weekend would be the ideal option. But we ended up closing on Wednesday, so after that, I really had nothing to do except pack. Taking the latest flight though, meant that I would have to change planes in London. Given what happened last time I had to change planes in London from Italy, I was, shall we say, a little nervous.

OK. So I get to Malpensa plenty early (no traffic). the BA flight from Milan to London is scheduled for 5:35pm. at 5:20, they haven’t started boarding the plane yet, and I start freaking out a bit (just to myself). Amazingly, at 5:25, they start boarding, and actually get everyone on the plane and seated in about 10 minutes. I’m duly impressed by this, and given our estimated flight time, we should land on time, at 6:35 UK time. Now, this gives me just under an hour and a half to get from terminal 1 to terminal 3 at Heathrow. The little pamphlet I get with my ticket says that it should take 75 minutes to get from plane to plane. OK. I’m cutting it close, but still within the allowable time frame.

Miracle of miracles, we actually land on time. The flight attendants, knowing that I have to hurry, actually move me up right near the exit door (along with another gentleman transferring to dublin) so that we can be the first ones out of the plane. And then we sit there. because there’s no one at Heathrow to operate the jetway so that we can actually get off the plane. For 25 minutes. 7pm rolls around, and they finally start moving the jetway. To the other door. So now I’ve got to push my way through an aisle full of people (A flight attendant actually pushed, I just followed in her wake). And of course, I’ve now got less time than the little booklet says, so I’m just a little stressed. I literally run off the jetway, through the terminal following the signs, and then I get to the security checkpoint. Where they tell me I can’t go through unless I somehow figure out how to make my carryon and my backpack (purse sized) into one bag. Because apparently at Heathrow, you’re only allowed one bag, even if your transferring between two different airports that allow two bags. And your flying business class, which usually means that you can bring a damn steamer trunk on board and they’ll just smile at you. And your in danger of missing your connecting flight if you don’t hurry. Needless to say that while I was cramming my backpack into my carry on, there was a bit of vulgar muttering. As soon as that’s done, I don’t even look at the guy and just push past him to be able to get in the actual security line. I knew there was a reason that I didn’t want to overpack my carryon before I left.

Security goes pretty quickly, as there are only three people in line.

Book it down the escalator, to the bus. Where the bus is sitting there, but the doors won’t open (the terminal doors leading out to the bus, not the bus doors). When I ask the woman why the doors won’t open, she basically tells me she’ll open them when she feels like it. There are now three other people with me, at least one of whom is trying to get on the same flight as me. Apparently, the door lady has been saying this to everyone. three seconds later, she opens the doors. Nothing like a power trip to stress me out even more. The bus ride takes about 10-15 minutes, and then we’re at the new terminal, in the main shopping area. If you’ve ever been to Heathrow, you know that it’s about 100 miles from the shopping area to the actual gates. So my new friend from the bus and I just start running. get on those moving passenger walkways, and push people out of our way (seriously, how hard is it to read the sign that says stand on the right, walk on the left?). Get to gate 16, check in, and realize that it’s only 7:30.

That’s right. I did a 75 minute connection, including a terminal change, in 30 minutes.

We boarded shortly thereafter.

And then we sat at the gate for another hour and a half.

Frankly, I was so happy about making it onto the plane and not having to stay in London overnight that I didn’t care. Plus, I had been able to do a mileage upgrade to business, so the free champagne was a pretty nice relaxant. No wonder I fell asleep.

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