May 16, 2006
Departure Time: 2:15p
Photo © Vladimir Kostritsa
I arrived at RIC at around 10 something to check in. I got there way too early. I got something to eat, a BBQ sandwich, and a diet Coke, this set me back over $10. I made my way thru security, where they gave my hand luggage a good going thru. It took about 15 minutes total for them to go thru it all. I got down to the gate, where not so many other people were waiting. At about 1:30 the aircraft we were to take arrived. It didnt take long for them to turn the aircraft. They soon made the boarding announcement, and that most hand luggage would have to be gate checked. I observed the rampers offloading the hand luggage for the incoming flight, and needless to say, they didn't handle it well. I immediately asked for a fragile tag, and got a blank look. I had in my bag, all my camera gear, certain medical supplies, and various other things. They called for my zone to be boarded, made my way down the jetway and left my bag at the end. I got to my seat, almost near the back, and had a rough time putting on my seatbelt. I got it on, but it was the closest I had ever come to asking for an extension. If they had put larger seats on these little planes, I certainly would have used it. A few minutes passed, and a young Marine took the seat next to me. He was on his way home, before being shipped back out. Before long, everyone was on, the baggage was loaded and the doors were closed. An unemotional voice - almost like a mechanical voice - went thru the safety briefing, and we made our way to Runway 34. This runway is on the opposite end of the airfield, so it took a few minutes to get to. We were cleared immediately for take off. While climbing, I noticed we almost went right over my work. It is pretty easy to see from the air we all the crap they have there. Not too long after that, we started to do a circle. It was explained later that this was needed for spacing. There was no drink service on this flight, and we arrived in Charlotte in no time. We landed on 36R, and taxied to some gate on the C Concourse.
May 16, 2006
Departure Time: 5:55p Actual 7:20p
Scheduled Gate: B8 Actual Gate: D7
Photo © Joseph J. Wagner
After we arrived in Charlotte, I passed thru the central atrium. It had been quite sometime since I have flown thru Charlotte. The last time was in the 80's on a Piedmont flight to SFO. The airport had changed much since then. I spent a few minutes looking around for a smoking section, and didn't locate one in the atrium. I then went to my gate, which was supposed to be B8, and found a bar between B4 and B6 that allowed smoking. I took a seat and ordered a Diet Coke. I was seated next to another truck driver (I am one as well) and we talked for a bit. He was headed to LAX to drive for a new company. He asked me where I was going, and I told him Denmark. His reply made me think his geographical knowledge was not all that great. He asked to see my passport stamps, and was impressed that I had been to Amsterdam. I told him, that I drive so much in the US, I want to vacation somewhere else other than here. He seemed to agree with that. As it came close to boarding time, I went to look at the monitors to verify my gate was still correct. It wasn't. It had been changed to D7. I went back thru the atrium and hopped onto the moving walkway that headed to D. It became even closer to boarding time, and an aircraft had yet to be parked at D7. Eventually one arrived, I assumed from the Carribean, as the bags some where carrying advertised Jamaican Rum or something like that. The aircraft scheduled for the flight was an A321, but what was parked at the gate was a 319. They eventually annouced an aircraft swap, and had us come to the podium to get a new boarding pass. I had my laptop out, and had to put it away before getting in line. The line eventually ran across the entire concourse, and lucky me was near the end. There was a podium close by, and one of the gate agents came over and started processing my end of the line. I was first in her line. It was a good thing, as I was able to keep my First Class seat. Little did I know at the time, that the First Cabin on the 321 has 26 seats, while the 319 only has 12. I figured out then that if I was still at the back of the line, my ass would have been back in economy. I couldn't have had something like that screw up my first time in first. They called for boarding, and since I was in zone 1, I was one of the first to be boarded. I stowed my big bag in the overhead, and put my laptop under the seat. After boarding they annouced that the flight was oversold, and was looking for volunteers. A few accepted, and a few got left behind. The plane was loaded up, and we made our way to 36L, and made our way into the sky. At 10,000 ft, they allowed the use of personal electronics, and I pulled out my laptop, and was for the first time, able to try the power connection at the seat. I pulled out the GPS antenna for my laptop, and opened up my GPS program. It started out, over SW Virginia, and I ended up turning it off over Cleveland somewhere so I could have room for my dinner. The dinner selection was a chicken dish, and a pasta dish - ravioli. I had the ravioli. It was pretty good. After dinner, I watched what was left of the movie King Kong. Afterwards they had some odd programming and what not. It didn't seem all that long, but we were almost to Seattle. The Captain had made pretty good time in the air, and we arrived about 45 minutes late. After getting off the plane, I followed the signs that said baggage claim. Well I walked for a bit, turned around, and a sign said baggage claim back the way I had come from. I found someone and asked where do I go? They explained something about changing the stuff around, but hadn't gotten to the signs yet. I finally found baggage claim. It took forever before my bag came out. I got it, and went to the Thrifty rental car desk and signed the paperwork for my rental. They had a shuttle take us to an off airport location and I picked up an almost new Suzuki X7 or something like that. I got in and left for my hotel.
May 17, 2006
Departure Time: 6:55p
Photo © Anne Deus
After spending the day at Boeing Field, and the Museum of Flight, I returned to SEATAC to catch my flight to Denmark. Check in for my flight started at 3pm and I got there shortly after. I hopped into the Business Class line and gave them my passport. They printed out my boarding pass, and I headed back outside to enjoy a few smokes before my 9 1/2 hr flight. I went thru security and opened my bags and etc and put everything into the bins. This saved me from having to wait 15 minutes while they sorted thru my bags. I walked downstairs to the train that takes you to the South gates. I noticed that there was no driver for the train. I was a little apprehensive about this, but arrived without a scratch. I came real close to walking into the SAS Business Lounge, but decided against it. I don't know why, I guess I was a little nervous for not having been in one before. Before long, OY-KBD arrived. I guess it took awhile to turn the plane, and eventually they called for boarding. They first called for the kids and others that needed assistence. I think that this is abused sometimes. After that they called for Business Class, and Y+ to board. I happily handed over my first trans-atlantic business class boarding pass, and then got on the plane. I showed the FA my BP and she motioned the way I needed to go. I put my bag in the overhead, and my laptop beside me. I was informed that everything needed to be in the overhead for departure. As boarding continued, they passed thru with a drink tray. There was a selection of water, orange juice, and I guess some kind of alcohol. I opted for the water. Not long after that, boarding had ended, they checked the cabin, and they showed us a multilingual safety video. We took off, and made our way into Canada. After a bit, they came thru with more drinks, this time I chose a Diet Coke. They also handed out the appetizer for dinner. I don't remember what it was, but it was something on a stick. Oh, it was some veggies and cheese. Then came the saled, bread, some fruit, and some other stuff. I tried my best with proper Europeon table manners, but I was a bit rusty. For the main course, I chose some kind of Lamb dish. It was pretty good. On the PTVs they had a selection of movies, none of which really turned me on, but I settled for Minority Report. After it ended, I played with some of the games, but they were too 1980 to really enjoy them. Eventually I tried for some sleep. I set the seat for the sleeping configuration, but wasn't really comfortable. After awhile of tossing and turning, I pulled the screen back out, and started playing more games. I really can't remember much after that, but I imagine I played on my laptop some, becuase I remember trying the GPS and not getting a signal, so I put it away. I tried listening to some mp3s, but the volume thru the headset on the laptop is really low. It dosn't help that I my hearing is bad as well. Before long they turned the lights back up. It had been light outside the whole trip, even though it was an overnight flight. My past trips over the atlantic, had never taken me that far north. They served us breakfast, some eggs and potatoes. Then they started packing up for landing. I had the call of nature, and decided to try the lav. It was a little more roomy than what I have experienced before. I finished and took my seat. The captain put on the forward screens, the camera that faces below. It was pretty cloudy, but you could make out some stuff. We got a little lower, and over a patch of water, it was there that the captain put the forward facing camera on. It was a view I had always wanted to see. The forward view during landing. (They turned on the camera for take off, but I forgot to mention that) We arrived at one of the far gates on the C Concourse at CPH. This is it for now, its past my bedtime, I will write the rest in the morning. I know this is boring, I tend to ramble at times.