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Old 10 Jan 16, 06:20 PM  
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WileyCoyote
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Thrillin',Chillin',Feet are Killin' Day 14: Leaving on a Jet Plane or 2 or 3.

Tuesday 1 September

The previous day is HERE

Going Home Day

And its going to take All Day as well

At least we don’t have that “ how shall we fill our last few hours” dilemma – we will be spending them all in airports.

Andy was up first and we had our finally dose of Coffee, Donuts and WESH news – life is just not the same without these

We did the final round of tidying, a quick clean of the kitchen, I am sure we checked the tumble dryer and all the drawers – so to this day it is a mystery how one of Andys new Lacoste tops, one of mine and a pair of my prescription glasses never made the trip home !

The boys were really good , getting up in plenty of time so that by just after 0900 we are ready to set off for the airport.

Except we do another sweep of the rooms, turning up socks, chargers , watches , wallets and other stuff from under beds and down the back of the sofa !

Finally at 0930 we close the door on the condo for the last time and are very envious of the family walking down the stairs in front of us who are clearly off for a day out. How very dare they

We need to re fuel the car – Andy wants to do this as close to the airport as possible

But the turn to the airport comes up quicker than he expected ( the one near Celebration) so he decides to take a detour.

I am not feeling so bright and being wedged in between the two boys in the back, I am getting queasy.

This isn’t helped by going further and further into Stepford , I mean Celebration, where there clearly isn’t a jeffing petrol station.

The Sat Nav is having a fit, Andy is not in a good mood and we are all just being very quiet.

For goodness sake, how hard can this be.

After much cussing, we turn back round and get back to the 192.

Finally arriving at MCO at 1030 even with our mystery detour.

We had allowed extra time, expecting to fill in paperwork relating to the bump but the car was just scanned and we were waved on – even after explaining , all we were asked for was the police reference number and sent on our way. Result !

It was quiet at check in and bag drop. But the inevitable queue for security.

It seems more fractious and disorganised at MCO than any other airport we have been through. Why is that ?

My notes tell me we were at Gate 76 at 1130 ready to board our flight an hour later.

Bye Bye Sunny Florida



And then my notes helpfully stop so the rest is a bit sketchy.

I know we took off on time and it felt like no sooner were we up than we were landing at Cincinatti.

We only had 45 minutes to transfer across to our next flight so no fancy airport pics – we were hotfooting it to the next gate.

We then get on this teeny aircraft to Chicago



See. Teeny



Andy was almost on his knees trying to get himself down the aisle

We are right at the back – but can see the front



Not a lot of leg room ( and note the ugly trainers )



Getting busy approaching Chicago



Fab pics of Chicago – not






See even the boys heads almost touch the ceiling !



This was like flying in a Dinky toy .

We had about an hour and half till the next flight but as always, it leaves from the farthest point.

It was also mighty hot.

We had to take the train to another terminal



Super Swanky terminal



But .. Just not the same as the Orlando happy train




See what I mean



Ok, this was better





We pitch up into this massive check in area





We were all quite chirpy still – but starting to get hungry. I have no idea what food we had consumed up until this point – there are no pics, so I can only presume it was just snacking.

Amazingly, the Virgin desks were empty ( this leg was on a code share ).

I had booked us the extra leg room seats and we were looking forward to the flight home now.

Andy mentioned to the guy at check in that it was almost Connor’s birthday and could they do anything for him

The guy told us to wait a minute and then said that he would upgrade
Connor – we just had to check in again at the gate. So we said nothing to Connor to leave it as a surprise

Then I am sure he said boarding would be at 5.15

What I now think he said is that last call for boarding was at 5.15 – but we would realise that later.

We had the interminable security to go through again, which was slow and only two lanes so by the time we got through, there wasn’t much time to get anything to eat and by now , we were starving,

We got some chicken tender type things and sat to eat them – then suddenly seeing it flash up on the board that it was the last call for our flight

What The !

So we ran towards the gate simultaneously stuffing chicken tenders in our gobs while trying not to choke and run at the same time. What a sight we must have looked.

Griswalds eat your hearts ( or chicken tenders)out.

The Gate was empty ( no surprise there) and they called out to Connor as we arrived – he was a bit bemused when they handed him a new pass and just as we went to move along, the supervisor stopped us and after checking there were 3 of us, she went back to the desk and presto, gave us all new passes as well.

To top it off as we walked down to the plane the remaining crew began to sing Happy Birthday and started clapping, much to the crimson faced embarrassment of elder son

What a fantastic treat.

We are the last to board, fortunately not having to do a walk of shame or endure a slow handclap through the aircraft as we are in the first row of seats – with Jamie in a window seat in the row behind.

Our excitement at being upgraded means we are somewhat oblivious to those around us who are clearly ticked off at us needing to settle in and move around all their bags to fit ours in

Ah well , could be worse, we could be recliners

Oh wait – maybe we will be !

Bulkhead seats – enough leg room for lanky legs




Ugly trainers removed, normal plane footwear restored and the fab PE footrests



After all that fast food malarkey, we then get offered dinner – it must have been around 6pm now.



Andy Samples some beverages





I am more restrained



We all opted for the Roast Chicken




With beverages ..





This was “ok” – I think the veg was a bit undercooked and the Chicken was thigh – bit chewy, no where near as nice as the very similar Delta meal we had on the way out.

But the cheese and gateau were very nice, especially as I got to eat Connor’s as well.

I know that Andy sampled some of the after dinner brandy but I declined. I have to say that the service was absolutely brilliant.

I know I watched a film, I think it was Tomorrowland – I say this as I am the only one in the family that’s seen it, I know I haven’t watched it at home, so this can be the only other place where I got to see it.

Connor and Jamie both slept , or pretended to sleep for the whole flight – I am both in awe and envy of their ability to sleep anywhere at any time.

Happily, there was no re run of our return flight in 2014 and no sick bags were required.

Phew. Must have been the dodgy BA cottage pie then rather than an airsickness thing. Do hope so.

We both tried to sleep - I thought I had reclined my seat – it wasn’t until we were landing that Connor showed me the full recline – what an opportunity missed eh ! Next time.

All too soon this was arriving



The boys were still asleep so missed out – shame , it definitely is the best plane brekky we have had and was much nicer than dinner !



Egg, bacon, hashbrown and tomato. With a roll and Coffee.

Much nicer than the crummy cold granola bar and muffin we had last year

Andy and I tucked in and despite the overall lackof sleep, felt ok. Just the last few hurdles of immigration and baggage to go.

We exited the plane swiftly , another PE perk , fab.

We had to go through immigration separately – Andy on his own and me with the two boys but it was quick enough ( maybe 30 minutes or so from landing)

Baggage reclaim was going really well – as well as it can in Heathrow which always feels depressing and disorganised compared to its Atlantic counterparts

We waited for an age for the last case to come off – and it just didn’t , we checked the other carousels and after a good 45 minutes, we had to concede it hadn’t made it.

What a pain

Andy went to Customer Services

Now there is a misnomer if ever I heard one

Shocker

The eejit we encountered was just rude – completely oblivious that tired transatlantic travellers may not share their sense of humour .

And no, we didn’t think getting 4 out of 5 cases was “ a pretty good result ” – you know, we kind of expected all 5 – amazing, how very dare we.

And no, we didn’t know that DELTA apparently stands for Don’t Expect Luggage To Arrive - kind of a baggage handlers in joke.

Yeah, right on, absolutely jeffing hilarious.

Not

Definitely Not

Andy, not a man renowned for patience or humour in these type of situations is perhaps not the right person to be getting all jocular with

Hey its not even funny – so no joculating at all (urgh)

Must have been on this training course



Fortunately, the staff member next to said “ service” eejit, stepped in and asked some questions, gave us a form and assured us the case was most likely on the next flight – and that they would be in touch.

So, by now, even more tired, pretty ticked off and really late for our taxi, we trudged off to find our transport home.

With the conversation that went like this

Taxi Driver “Im here”

Us “ where is here”

Him “ Here”

Us, “ yes, Here is good , where exactly would that be”

We scanned the row of people with the name placards, somewhat stupidly thinking maybe he would be there with our name

No , of course not, far too obvious

So another few minutes of telephone tag and Andy trying really hard not to go all Michael Douglas after what has been an exceedingly trying 60 minutes on UK soil and the driver appears rather like the shopkeeper in Mr Ben.

Happily we are soon stowing tired teens, grumpy adults and , ahem, slightly less than expected luggage into the taxi and on our way home

Well, look at the plus side, its not raining, we haven’t got to drive ourselves and Andys Mum will have the kettle on

And surely there can’t be maggots in the bin to deal with for a second year in a row, or flat batteries.

We finally arrived home just after lunchtime after an event free journey

The pooches were pleased to see us and we began that horrible task of unpacking and working out what was in the missing case

Most of Andys new clothes it seems

But more importantly almost all my underwear

Deep joy

Even deeper joy when Andys mum started to tell us about that place where they auction off all the cases that never get claimed

Yeah, thanks for that

Why do parents do that – just make it all so much worse than it needs to be

I was convinced said case would never be seen again. Andy was confident it would turn up

So wasn’t in the least bit smug when it arrived at 11pm the following night – just making the 24 hour deadline that they are apparently obliged to meet – or pay some compensation.

Well we were just happy to have Man and Lacoste re united – as well as my undies and the new Disney decoration .

2 days later Connor turned 18 – a low key affair but rounded off the week.

Neither of us had gone back to work yet and the boys only had target setting appointments so we had 4 days to recover from jetlag.

By the time I had caught up on some work stuff I was wishing we were off on holiday again but I guess that’s pretty normal

And there were maggots to contend with ... again ... sigh.

And so what next

Edited at 09:26 AM.
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Old 10 Jan 16, 06:23 PM  
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WileyCoyote
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The Afters

In time honoured tradition I would end my trippie by saying no Florida next year

But that would be a flagrant untruth as its already this year

I really do think this could indeed be the last Orlando trip for a while

Florida remains on the cards but probably Miami down to the Keys and just for me an Andy – but that’s a way off

This year Connor and Jamie will finish school at the end of June

Yes that’s right

Double exam trauma

GCSE and A Levels – perfect

But with Nick finishing college too , an opportunity presented itself to beat the school holidays.

The only issue was not knowing when 6th form induction days were set for – assuming that darling offspring a]gets the grades to get back in and b] they will have him back anyway

We have toyed a number of times with a trip to NY and Nick really wanted to come .

Being on the East Coast we thought we could balance the cost and pace of an NY stay
with one last Orlando fling

But no Disney , which we are all cool with

So I started to look at flights , nothing serious – I did kick myself when some Delta flights came out for silly money .

I saw them, hesitated and within hours they had gone .

And then the good folks at Aer Lingus changed their website

And for a few precious hours there was a Dibb thread running about reasonable flights

But I was in too much of a dither so went to bed and didn’t do anything

The following day, it seemed the glitch was still going.

I typed in a few dates and it was looking good

Many texts and emails were exchanged with Andy – with him ending most of them saying “ JUST Jeffing BOOK “ And me still faffing about

Because I just couldn’t be sure on term end dates

So I rang school who couldn’t tell me the 6th form days but were helpful looking at last years’ dates and trying to work out when they might be ( the dates just came out last week, its before we go, phew)

When I explained my dilemma, they kind of got why I just needed to book it

So I did

And that’s the start of the Next Trip

Ingredients so far are the two of us plus three of them

LHR-DUB- JFK on 2 July

MCO-DUB-LHR on 21 July

Everything else in between is still in the mix

Let the chaos commence

Edited at 06:31 PM.
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Old 10 Jan 16, 06:24 PM  
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WileyCoyote
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If you made it this far

Thank You x

Stay tuned for more travels with teens ...
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Old 10 Jan 16, 06:40 PM  
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JoB
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Great trip report. Have loved reading it, thanks for sharing 😊
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Old 10 Jan 16, 06:46 PM  
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Wow what a result with the upgrade. Isn't it awful how real life seems to return within a Matter of hours and you think to yourself "did we really go away?" Chicago airport is enormous isn't it? Makes Heathrow look like stansted. Glad you've got plans already in place for this year. Thanks for posting I always enjoy your reports.
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Old 10 Jan 16, 06:52 PM  
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SammyScotland
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Great trip report Amanda. Looking forward to hearing about your plans for this year.
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Old 10 Jan 16, 06:54 PM  
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What a travel day! Sounds exhausting and thank god your last case showed up! Fab news about the next trip - will look forward to it!
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Old 10 Jan 16, 07:07 PM  
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Great trip report Amanda, glad travel day went smoothly & fab recoup grade! Thanks for sharing.

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Old 10 Jan 16, 07:52 PM  
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Loved reading about your trip, enjoy planning the next one x
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Old 10 Jan 16, 08:01 PM  
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Fab report, nice upgrade on the way home and yeah, ain't British customer service the dogs wotsits eh!
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