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Report 918: Skiing Val d'Isere and Tignes

By SeaJay from Virginia, Winter 2005

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Page 12 of 13: Sunday, January 30 - Departure

This is going to be a very long day. Our wake up is at 0430. Keep in mind that is 10:30 pm, Saturday evening in Smithfield. We are showered, packed, and down in the lobby by 0450. Our taxi is waiting. There is a minor delay at reception. There are two “couples” checking in. The first supposition is that they have just arrived on an overnight flight. One guy wears a Hell’s Angels jacket. The two women look like runway models. Both are tall, slender and attractive. One wears tight jeans; the other is in leggings and a mini skirt. When the guys have to ask the girls if they want a smoking or non-smoking room we develop an alternate theory. There is a casino next door and we’re now thinking that these guys won big and “purchased” these two girls for the day. If you were in the market to buy, these two would certainly be what you were looking for. CJ is still trying to get his teeth back in his mouth.

We find the airport deserted when we arrive the suggested two hours prior to an international departure. We are among the first to check in. There are no lines anywhere. We even have to wait for the business class lounge to open. We spend about an hour in the lounge. There is a long walk out under the runway apron to the satellite terminal. One of the neat things they do here is have local security out by the terminal so there are much smaller lines near the gates and not one big central cattle call. The flight to Frankfurt affords us a beautiful high altitude sunrise over the Alps.

We make a pass of the duty free shops in Frankfurt but the brutal exchange rate has curbed most purchases for this trip. They have really gotten serious about security here. We pass through the detector completely detection free having put every conceivable metal object in the backpacks going through the machine. Even so, there is a 100% pat down screening. We relax in the business class lounge for the four-hour wait. The men’s finals of the Australian Open and the Iraqi elections dominate television in the lounge. This is a different lounge than the one we used on the trip over. Here we have coffee, tea, Becks on tap, wine, soda, juices and munchies available at self-service bars.

A bus takes us to our Airbus A340-300, a big double-aisle wide body. We’ve come to be very impressed with the interior design of the Airbus aircraft. They normally have much more storage space and room than their Boeing counterparts, up until this aircraft. I’m not sure if Airbus or Lufthansa is to blame but this is unacceptable. There is no overhead storage above the center seats in business class for carry-on luggage. In addition, when the seat in the row in front of us is reclined, Carol cannot get out from her window seat. There are no air vents above the seats.

Following an announcement that we are delayed for de-icing, we see maintenance guys heading to the cockpit. It must have been something minor because we are finally airborne at 2:50. We are putting up some impressive numbers during the flight. We are flying at 38000 feet (11582 m) with outside temperatures of -74F (-58C) while trucking along at 573 mph (914 km/hr). Readers are pleased asked to refrain from thinking anal thoughts about the author. We arrive in Philadelphia in sufficient time to make our connection and finally arrive home and get to bed about 24 hours after we woke up to start the day’s journey.

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