Delayed as I’ve not been able to get to the computer for an extended period of time – below is a quick run through of the journey to america.
Well the journey to the states started off ok – I left the house about 8am and headed to th airport. As I was pretty early I was about fourth in line to check in, and therefore had the priveledge of having my bags searched. Seeing as though Kristen had actually packed the bags and I had just thrown a couple of extra things in the bag I didn’t really have any idea what the security guy was going to find. He insisted on taking practically everything out of the bags and I was really hoping that he was going to pack it back up himself as there was no way that I was going to be able to do this. However it looks like they undergo a memory and packing training course as he managed to get the stuff back into the bags. It wasn’t until we tried to zip up the big duffle bag that disaster struck and as the zip finally closed, it popped open behind the zipper. My heart sank as I had no way of keeping the bag shut, but fortunately I was able to unzip the bag and rezip it.
The plane ride over to Philadelphia was uneventful – I managed to watch Collateral – ok, but nothing spectacular and then all but the last 10 minutes of I-Robot. As it go towards the end, the inflight entertainment system rebooted (no blue screen of death). You can fast forward and rewind the movies, but there is no chapter seeking so I would have had to watch the entire movie again at double speed and I couldn’t be bothered to do that. Instead I read some more of my book and tried to sleep (unsucessfully).
The plane arrived about 30 minutes late to the airport and I had to wait a while to go through the immigration lanes. When I finally got to the counter, I was told to go to the secondary immigration room and wait for my name to be called. However, at this point I was officially welcomed to the United States – so I took this as a good sign. I was given back the paperwork that was in the sealed envelope I had been carrying, and told that they wouldn’t need my chest xray – (I wonder how much I’d get for it on ebay?). As the paperwork was now in a red folder I had a quick peek on my way to the secondary room and saw that it was all the originals/photocopies of the supporting evidence for my visa, so nothing unusual.
Whilst waiting the 45 minutes to be seen at immigration I was able to witness a polish lady getting asked why she hadn’t used the visa she had been issued 2 years previously, and another guy get accused of having a fake passport. I was suprised that this guy wasn’t bundled off at gunpoint! I had my fingerprints taken (again), but this time with the proper ink on the forefinger process instead of the computer scan that they now use at the standard immigration booths (which is also weird to see that they use logitech webcams to capture the photos of visitors.)
After being told “You’re done” and not getting the “Welcome to the US” that I was expecting I then went to the airline desk to see what was going to happen about my next flight which should have left by now. I was told that the flight hadn’t actually started boarding yet and that if I ran down the corridor I might make it in time…..so off I ran – and ran – and ran and then stopped for another hour whilst the incredibly long queue to get through security didn’t move. Note to security – when searching a lady with twins and a buggy, move them to one side so the rest of the queue behind her can carry on through the process. Also, when the queue has not moved for 30 minutes, shutting one of the three xray lines because you want your tea is not a way to raise morale for the waiting travellers who are missing their flights.
By the time I had got to the far end of the terminal I was told that the flight had left, but the next flight left in a couple of hours – and that was at the other end of the airport which I had already gone past.
The flight that I got was the last one of the day, was delayed by an hour and totally full. We eventually arrived in columbus airport and then had to wait, and wait, and wait for the baggage to arrive. After about 45 mins it arrived and we went out into the snow filled roads and a slow drive back home.
We arrived home about 1.30am – about an hour quicker than Kristens 22hour trip the previous sunday!
It seems that this year is not a good year for travelling as noone arrived on their scheduled flight, bags have got delayed (and then left outside overnight in the snow) and the B-i-l was told that the reason his flight was delayed was because there were not enough pilots!!