Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1425: Portugal and Bilbao
By Andrew from Missouri, Summer 2007
Page 5 of 5: Transatlantic Flights
My planning blog shows how I got this trip on Northwestís frequent flyer program, with Continental (CO) flights. For my departure from Kansas City, I got advice to check-in online but print the boarding passes at the airport. The online check-in required my passport number and expiration date; there was an initial problem that I got fixed by phone. When I started the printing process at the airport, I missed the prompt for reprinting the pass and got some scolding from the agent. I made sure that my bag got a priority tag, since there were stories of long waits for bags at Lisbon.
The KC-Newark flight, on an ERJ regional jet, was scheduled for 1:45 and postponed to 3:15. They paged people making other international connections, because they would miss them. An earlier flight had been cancelled and people from that flight were standing by. This was announced as an air traffic control hold; the plane was there and the weather was fine in KC. I boarded at 2:50 with the only Elite Access pass on this Saturday flight. The door closed at 3:20 and takeoff was at 3:30. Scheduled landing at Newark was 5:37, there was haze, and it landed at 7:17. As booked, I was allowed a long layover before my 10:05 departure; I was glad I wasnít on the later inbound on which I was booked for a while; I think with its delayed arrival, I could have made the connection, but it would have been close.
I was going BusinessFirst (BF) to Lisbon and had access to the Presidents Club, which I didnít find that special. An hour before departure I went to the gate area, where I found a feeling of excitement looking at the many, mostly minor, international destinations in lights over the gates. I boarded when it opened and took my BF seat, nice on this narrow-body 757. The male flight attendant in charge of the section gave me menus and asked if I wanted to be awakened for breakfast. The captain announced late connectors from Central America who were clearing customs, and they would wait just a short time for them. I donít remember anyone else boarding, and they closed the door at 10:15. I think they waited to get baggage and left the gate at 10:30, taking off at 10:40 (a late hour helps cut the wait before takeoff at Newark.) The flight was announced as full in Economy, and I had an empty seat next to me in BF. I had a steak dinner, it appeared that the seat belt sign was on all the time, I reclined to near-horizontal and got a good amount of sleep.
I was awakened for breakfast (involving warm croissants and yogurt?), and there was the great view of central Lisbon on the approach. Scheduled landing was 10:05am, it landed at 10:30, and was at a stand at 10:40, requiring a bus to the terminal entrance and passport control. As reported at the top, with this small delay I had plenty of time to get to the train station.
The return flight was in Economy, Iíd seen warnings about this on narrow-body long flights, and I was glad to check-in to the exit row. I got to Lisbon airport around 9am and the CO counters were busy checking in their earlier flight; I needed to wait. At 10 the sign over the counter hadnít changed but I was able to check-in. I got through security and exit passport control. Our gate was small and occupied with a low-cost carrierís flight to Manchester, England; people were reaching the gate and boarding past the departure time of 11:20. As they were wrapping up, CO agents set up a sign and blue carpet for their BF passengers. My Economy group was admitted, meaning going downstairs and onto a bus, and up stairs to either end of the plane. I got to my exit row, and the middle seat stayed empty. I was on board at 11:45, scheduled departure was 12:15, the door closed at 12:11, takeoff at 12:30. I have notes about taking the beef lunch selection, with just a ďchicken or beef?Ē question. There was a snack of a sandwich with German mayonnaise and Breton potato chips.
Scheduled arrival was at 3:05, it landed at 2:43 and was at the gate at 2:48. As we got off, law enforcement officers were coming on the other way: was it because of the man who repeatedly got up to go to the lavatory after being directly warned to stay seated because of turbulence? Claiming my bag and entry formalities were quick, but there was some confusion about where to drop the bag off for the connection; it was upstairs. I had another five hours to spend at Newark airport. I walked around the concourses, not too satisfied at what I could find to eat.
My regional jet flight to Kansas City was from a different gate than previously announced; it was in the lower level at the end of concourse C-1 , where there have been stories of hot tempers. This time worked fine, but the seat on the plane was uncomfortable: scheduled 8:15, door closed 8:10, takeoff 8:35. Landing at Kansas City scheduled at 11 (ready to cover long delays out of Newark ) landed 10:23, at the gate 10:27. I got my car and stayed at the KCI Sleep Inn to go with a new Choice promotion.
This trip fulfilled several longtime dreams, letting me see the mix of history and modernity in these countries.
|Car Rental||Hotel Booking||Flight Booking||Train Tickets||Books, Maps, Events|
|Europe Cell Phones||Long Distance Cards||Luggage, etc.||Travel Insurance||Classifieds|
Copyright © 2000 - 2013 SlowTrav.com, unless noted otherwise. Slow Travel® is a registered trademark. Contact Slow Travel