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Report 918: Skiing Val d'Isere and Tignes

By SeaJay from Virginia, Winter 2005

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Page 2 of 13: Thursday, January 20 - Departure

Continuing with the pipe-dream theme of “finally” getting some R& R the alarm goes off at 0630 to allow time for showers since it will be two days to our next opportunity. There is surprisingly little traffic to the airport as a result of the snow. Many schools are closed or opening two hours late. We have packed a single ski outfit in a carry-on for each of us. We check the ski bag and our large utility roller, unfortunately without a snowboard. The roller has become our journeyman ski and dive bag.

We have the first of our long airport waits in Norfolk. US Airways is beginning to compress their flight schedules due to the bankruptcy. We were originally scheduled to depart at 1:30 but they no longer have that flight. The alternative is a 1030 flight. By 1130 we are in Philadelphia. After walking all the way over to the A terminal we find the Envoy (business) class lounge is closed between 10:30 and 2:30. We walk back to the food court that is located between the B and C concourses and have a light lunch since there will be food and drink in the lounge.

Following lunch we check into the domestic US Air Club. When you have international first or business tickets you have complimentary access to the lounge. The lady at the check-in counter is very nice. A few months ago a business associate brought CJ into this lounge and he realized that he’d left his windbreaker on the plane. Although to no avail, she was very helpful trying to help retrieve the jacket. This time she offers complimentary drink coupons since you pay for alcoholic drinks in the domestic lounge but they are free in the international lounge. We pass 2 ˝ hours reading the short selection of magazines and newspapers and having our two glasses of wine per person. Carol catches a short nap. The Presidential inauguration is on but we are not interested.

At 2:30 we complete the move to the international departure lounge. Here there is an open bar and some minor food like pastries, fruit and bar snacks. Eventually they put out sandwich fixings and veggies. We are looking down on the gates A17 to A25 (the odd numbers). Our departure is planned from A23. Our plane is the first scheduled departure at 5 pm. All of the other planes with departures after 8 pm arrive. Our plane finally arrives around 4 pm. The announcements in the lounge are confusing. We leave early for the gate. The plane loads late. We depart late and a long line of aircraft waiting to take off makes us nearly two hours late lifting off. The meal on the plane is a spicy chicken, perhaps the best airplane meal ever. Carol gets some more sleep while CJ watches a movie and finally dozes for about two hours.

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