Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Saturday - The flight home....

Our flight home was supposed to depart at 21.20....... when we got to the airport we were told there was a 3 hour delay until 00.15.......
We hung around the cafes on the floor above the check in desks until we felt hungry enough to cash in our $9 courtesy food vouchers BA had issued. $9 does not get you much in LAX!!!!
Anyhow, we went through security expecting (as you would with a large international airport) a whole host of shops. How wrong we were. There is sweet FA beyond security at LAX. There was a tiny duty free where Minty got her gin and we both got a selection box of smellies but our garden shed at home is bigger than this shop!!!!
Also, there is nowhere to grab a beer or something to eat... you can get drinks from a vending machine, but only soft drinks.....

So, we get called to the gate at about 11.30, and they have to bus us to the plane! It’s a bloomin’ 747 transatlantic jet and they can’t provide a gate anywhere near the terminal!
Now we are on the plane and it is past the delayed time... the pilot comes on the intercom...... engine problems – they can’t get one of the engines started and the engineers are coming out to have a look. Minty is by the window and can see the kurfuffel going on.... 1 man can’t fix it, 2 men can’t fix it... in comes a 3rd man......... 20 minutes later they get the engine started but by God there is an almighty puff of smoke!!!!
So, 1 hour and 15 mins after our delayed time (so 4hrs and 15mins late) we finally get airborne and fly at 39,000 feet. We are just behind the sunrise across the central belt of the USA.....
Dawn breaks across America
The crew are mean though and make everyone close the window blinds so that the rising sun doesn't wake the sleepers up!
But they come around with a free bar, then served a dinner. The Beeb, being a veggie had pre-ordered a veggie meal... which was actually one of the choices for everyone on the flight – veggie lasagne. This is what he had with his $9 voucher at the airport too.

The Beeb's dinner
Minty opted for the chicken curry, which was actually very nice. A few gins, a couple of glasses of wine, an episode of Doctor Who, The Beeb fast asleep, Minty settled down to watch “RED” again... and promptly fell asleep herself.
Minty's dinner!!!
The Beeb didn't sleep for long as the German passengers congregated at the back of the plane for some quite loud conversations together!
The flight was 9 and a half hours and just as we were heading towards the North West coast of Scotland, breakfast was served and Minty woke up!
Over the UK countryside on the approach to Heathrow
The engine is the one which refused to start!
After a few circles just west of Watford, we touched down in Heathrow at 7pm, coming in from the West. It's a shame we didn't come in over London and the River Thames as this would have provided some great pictures in the fading daylight.
Final approach into Heathrow
 After a bus journey from the airport to the car park that felt longer than the flight, we picked the car up and it was onto the M25 back to Hemel Hempstead...and a plate of beans on toast and a right proper brew!

We'll never forget this holiday for hundreds of reasons. The generosity of everyone we met with their time for us...you can't put a price on that. We went on holiday with high hopes, and they were exceeded a thousand times over. Thanks to everyone we met...you know who you are!

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