Sunday, January 8th, London to home

Not a lot of sleep as usual; London to home; early morning ride to Heathrow; being trapped in a window seat but with incredible views of Winter landscapes once over the Atlantic; a short flight from Newark home after an almost four hour delay; too tired to go sleep upstairs once home; is my heating/AC working in the house?

2/2/2017

I only got a couple of hours of sleep Saturday night and was awake before 4:30 AM. I called the reception desk downstairs to let them know they didn't need to give me a wake up call at 5, took my shower, dressed, had my last Slimfast, finished packing everything else, and was downstairs and checked out and waiting for my ride before 5:30. That was just a little confusing since there was another person doing the same, but the drivers and one of the guys working the reception desk made sure we both hooked up with our individual driver. Mine seemed to be from Africa and spoke English with a very heavy accent, so it was a quiet ride out to the airport which was fine with me. It was clear but cold that morning.

I actually felt reasonably well in spite of having so little sleep, with much less dizziness than I sometimes do. My stomach also was OK except for mild gassiness for the rest of the day for some reason.

I was flying from Terminal 2 at Heathrow. I was on United for both trips this time, from Heathrow to Newark and then from Newark home to Hollywood/Ft Lauderdale (http://www.broward.org/airport/Pages/Default.aspx).

Heathrow is a huge airport, and Terminal 2 is a large terminal. When I checked in at the United desk I learned I could check a third bag for free and so I checked my hat box as well and I'm glad I did because that way I didn't need to carry it with me in either airport. Since I was flying business class on United each way, I could hang out in the business class lounge at each airport instead of at the much less comfortable departure gate and enjoy the free food and drinks. The United lounge in Terminal 2 at Heathrow was quite close to the gate.

The Boeing 757 I was on has four seats in each row in business class, two on each side of the aisle. I usually try to get an aisle seat when I fly, especially on longer flights like the one from Heathrow to Newark, because it makes things much easier when I need to use the small bathroom on board. I might have misread which seat was mine since I was a bit less aware than usual due to sleep deprivation and wound up in the window seat. This turned out to be a bit of a problem because the slim, attractive young woman in the aisle seat next to me slept so deeply for most of the flight I couldn't wake her and it took one of the cabin attendants actually having to retract her seat to the upright position so I could get out before the woman woke up. I think she might possibly have been sleeping off the after effects from cosmetic surgery since she had a couple of tiny bandages across her nose.

Was being semi-trapped in the window seat worth the trouble? The weather for almost the whole way across from London to Newark was very clear with thin, wispy cloud cover. For most of the way, of course, there was nothing to see because we were over the ocean. We did, however, fly across the Southern tip of Greenland which was incredible to see from the air, with mountain ranges covered with snow. From Greenland we briefly crossed over more ocean and made landfall again over Newfoundland and from there down to Newark we flew over more rugged Winter landscape. When we got to Newark it was 21 degrees F and although the skies were then clear you could tell it had snowed there recently.

On the flight I actually read quite a bit and watched some stuff on the plane's in flight entertainment system. At the moment I can't remember what the first movie I watched was but I did watch all of it. I also listened to the first part of a radio program but couldn't get back to where I had left off after I switched to the flight map to see where we flying over when we hit South Greenland. The same thing happened when I switched from the second movie I was watching, the new "Magnificent Seven", to see where we were when we hit Newfoundland. From there I just watched the ground and Winter landscape all the way in to Newark.

Since I was continuing on to Ft Lauderdale on a connecting flight from Newark, I had to collect my bags, take them to the nearby transhipment desk and have them rescanned to be sent to my flight home, then go through security and out to my gate. I asked at the nearest United desk in the first terminal I was in where I'd be leaving from and was told to go to gate 132 in Terminal C and to take the tram over to it. I apparently got off the tram at the wrong location in the terminal or it's very poorly signed because I couldn't find any signs for 132, just for the 70s-99. I did find the United lounge in that area and they told me how to get to gate 132, which was a few turns of corridors away and has its own United lounge there not far from 132 as well.

It's a good thing I could hang out in the lounge because that was the only thing about United I was impressed with for the rest of the day. Our departing flight from Newark to Ft Lauderdale wound up being delayed for almost four hours, and it turned out it wasn't due to unforeseen circumstances. The plane we'd be flying out on was coming in from the Dominican Republic and had left there late. Once it arrived here in the US at Newark not only did it have the usual cleaning and inspection but the TSA, Customs and drug enforcement all had to do a thorough sweep as well. I wondered since they knew the incoming plane was going to be so damn late why they couldn't arrange for us to leave on a different plane that was already there instead. After all I'm sure this kind of thing happens every time United flights come in to Newark from the DR.

We left about 8 PM when we should have left at 3:40. We were even delayed a bit from actual take off after pulling out of our gate.

I was in business class again, this time on a seemingly older Boeing 737 where the in flight entertainment and food options were fewer than on the 757 coming in. I read a bit and mostly just sat there in the dark and rested a bit since there wasn't anything I wanted to watch.

We landed shortly before 11 PM, almost four hours after we should have arrived. It didn't take too long for all three of my bags to show up so I loaded them on to one of the pay for luggage carts to go out to the Go Airport Shuttle dispatch desk for my ride home. In this case, their system of not calling a car already on site to come pick you up until you check in with the dispatcher worked well because no one had been waiting for the four hours I was delayed. As usual the dispatcher and the driver had a bit of trouble reading my printed receipt showing I had already paid for both the trip from home to the airport and then from the airport back home, but they each soon figured it out. Traffic within the airport at the terminal was quite heavy but once we got out of there and onto the Turnpike (http://www.floridasturnpike.com/) and on the way to my house it was very light. It was almost midnight Sunday night then anyway.

Once I got home I texted Michael & Tim to let them know I'd safely arrived.

It was quite chilly here Sunday night and when I got home I tried to turn on the heat but nothing seemed to happen although the fan part of the AC was working OK.

Because I'd been gone for the last three weeks I didn't have much unfrozen food here but did have plenty of still good yogurts in the fridge so I had one for a late snack, unpacked only my Kindle Fire, and went to bed. By now I had been awake and up for over 27 hours with only about 4 hours of sleep the night before. I was too tired to go upstairs so I slept in the guest bedroom on the main floor.



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