Air travel is a tricky thing. Even in a familiar airport and route, you should expect a curveball now and again.
We live in Tampa. If I had not found inexpensive tickets Skiplagged, I would not have booked this trip, however I did. Though there was a caveat: to get to Europe for $200 less, we had to fly out of Orlando. That involves over an hour on the hellscape that is I4. Luckily, we have amazing humans in our lives who were willing to brave it.
We arrived, were dropped off 3 hours early, waved goodbye, and were on our way. I had planned the three hour tenure because 1) I’m paranoid and 2) I figured it would give us time to catch some things, maybe battle some gyms or do a raid.
I should mention, that in our final cleaning sweep of the house, I was washing my favorite vegetable and it took it’s vengeance on me for not including it in our travels. My right middle finger big knuckle got a nice inch long slice when the knife slipped off the sponge and into my hand. At least I know I’m keeping it sharp! It was 45 minutes before our pick up, and having worked in kitchens and seen my weight’s worth in Top Chef, I knew that it was not going to stop before then. I prepped medical tape to bring along, some extra paper towels, and decided we would find someone to help us tend to it better at an airport.
So first lesson: Orlando American Airline side is a bit slim. I had never flown that side of the airport before so I wasn’t expecting the amenities to be so… non-existent. No one was at the first aid station. Non-greasy food was as hard to find as an outlet, and in the whole wing there was a single Poke Stop. So I was pretty glad we had downloaded all of Voltron to watch as we waited and caught Pidgeys and Heracross (there are tons of them in Florida) and I tried to ignore my heartbeat in my knuckle.
The plane however, was spectacular! To the level that I thought to myself, sitting in the plush seat and getting prepared to cry at Infinity War, “Maybe we should fly American more often.” Boyfriend and I are avid Southwest flyers when we do domestic travel. Seats were spacious, and I didn’t have to share any of my space with 6’4” Boyfriend.
We’ve been out of hurricane season for a minute, but Florida still likes to get me nervous when we travel, so a good ol’ hour delay occurred thanks to some lightening within range of the airport. I thought about our 2.5 hour connection time, usually a solid a buffer, as it was sapped away on the tarmac. We landed with 35 minutes until doors would close on our transfer to Amsterdam, and there were more than a few of us fighting the locals to get off the plane in a good amount of time.
Being in the same wing helped, and we were even able to grab a snack on the way. Thank goodness because we were not prepared for the next flight, BA1626 service PHL – AMS.
Ever step in a time machine? We did! It had to be one of the old United Airlines stock, because not only did it smell of stale cigarettes from the ghosts of yesteryear, but I’m pretty sure the plane hadn’t been updated for 30 years. The seats were cramped, even for my tiny little legs, the seats were rock solid, there was nowhere near enough overhead bin space, and I think the food made us sick. As for the tech, the TVs were tiny, and I sadly remembered the USB ports on the last plane that I didn’t properly take advantage of.
Bless the complimentary wine, because that was easily the worst flight I’ve been on. Everyone was super nice, but oof. How can you take a thing that’s such a modern of modern tech and make it so ridiculously miserable for all aboard? I did my best to wine-drink myself to sleep with a combo platter of double dosing my Relax Now / Sleep Now pills. On a normal day, that would put me into a sleep coma NyQuil would be proud of. As the airplane rattled screws slowly off in the turbulence, my anxiety got ahold of me and I just settled into Ant Man and the Wasp, and probably irritated my neighbors with my delirious gasps and drunk girl laughter. Whatevs.
7ish hours later we bounced to the ground. Boyfriend got about 3 hours of sleep. I think I racked up 55, though my Garmin would say 5 hours simply because I was sitting so low. Hungry and tired, but ready for anything, we stepped onto Euro soil, did some laps of the airport trying to find the first aid station (only to find out it would be E15 for someone to bandage me up), and we headed towards customs.