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Unread 14 Jun 19, 11:20 AM  
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Serious Dibber
Join Date: Mar 13
Pre-Travel and Travel Day (21/10-22/10/18)

The plan was to meet at As house in Warrington as she was super close to Manchester airport and had space for us to sleep. H also lives in Warrington so stayed home. I believe she was left home alone while her DH and kids went camping so she enjoyed a chilled evening with a bottle of wine!

DH and the kids drove me to Preston and we met B on the M6 services as she was travelling from the North East. We spotted B waiting for me and I piled out of the car with my very big suitcase. Said goodbye to DH and the kids and we were off!

We arrived at As house not long after, at 6.09 and pulled our cases out of the car. Very quickly we were playing with her children while she made a fabulous curry for tea! We enjoyed tea and had a sneaky glass of red wine to go with it. Once A had put her kids to bed we set about sorting ourselves out (washing hair etc) to make sure that we were ready for our early exit. Once sorted we watched a bit of TV.

On a side note we put on Ambulance on BBC iPlayer and spotted my DH who is a fireman at an RTC! We also enjoyed another glass of red wine whilst we had a catch up and chatted about what we were going to get up to over the coming days.

I think I also used As printer to print off the theatre tickets. At about 9.30 E arrived from Blackpool and we surveyed the damage to her toe! She then got herself ready, re packing bags etc. It wasnt too long before we were calling it a night ready for our super early wake up call in the morning!

Travel Day

I think alarms were set for 6.30 and we were quickly up with them! We all busied ourselves with getting ready and repacked our suitcases ready for the off. I had 2 bags and left my overnight bag in Bs car to take home with me when we returned. Unsurprisingly it wasnt long before we were all dressed and the suitcases were at the door ready to go. H messaged to say she had jumped in a taxi and was on her way across town before the minibus came to run us all to the airport. When H arrived, A popped some croissants in the oven to warm through, we finished our coffees and cracked open the bubbly! As DH thought we had gone mad! Alexa then played Frank Sinatras New York New York for us and we drank our bubbles, sang our hearts out and took a few photos.

It wasnt long before the minibus arrived. We piled into the minibus with 5 large suitcases and 5 carry on bags and were ready to go at 8.21. The journey was quick and easy, we didnt hit any traffic even though it was rush hour but that could have been because it was the school holidays. We were soon pulling into the airport at Terminal 2 at 8.47. Our flight wasnt until 1pm so we were ridiculously early! I blame the excitement and wanting to get the holiday started. We took all of our luggage out of the minibus and H and A filled in a request form for our collection on Saturday morning. They added contact details and flight number and we paid full for both journeys. Remember this come travel home day as it didnt go to plan..

We made our way into the airport and decided to stop at Caf Nero for a coffee. We all purchased drinks and sat with our luggage at the tables outside. We spent a fair amount of time enjoying our drinks, savouring the peace (child free! ) and catching up on gossip (this happens a LOT over this trip!) Once we were happy that we had spent as much time in the lounge as possible we collected our bags and made our way over to the virgin desks to check in. As we came to the barriers there was a green screen, 2 members of staff and a computer and camera. Being the shy and retiring girls that we are we immediately jumped at the Virgin staff and asked them what they were doing and would they take our photo!

The staff were more than happy to oblige and we piled in front of the green screen and struck a pose! Once the photo was taken we then went to look at the computer where the image appeared. The lady then said we could add objects to the picture so we added a parrot on my head, an ice-cream to As hand and as E was in the middle we added a saxophone! This picture was hilarious. The lady took As email address and immediately emailed it for us then printed it off 5 times so that we all had a copy. How wonderful! Great start to the holiday.

Photo acquired we made our way to the check in desks where all suitcases were weighed (all under thankfully!) and we were checked in. I was handed the luggage receipts. Remember this as it is important once we get to JFK!

Now checked in we headed through security. From what I remember this was super quick and straight forward. Once air side, after we had browsed briefly in duty free at watches and perfume, there was only one place we were goingthe lounge! When I booked the holiday I did it online through Quidco with Expedia and it got me 100 cash back, 8 weeks after travel. I decided to pay for the lounge using this to cover the majority of the cost. So in the end we paid a fiver each to use the lounge.

When in the lounge we found a fabulous seating area to fit all five of us in.in the quiet zone as we had no kids! I think we were all getting used to not chasing after 11 kids when we were together! We sampled the buffet which at that point was bacon sandwiches, egg and pastries as well as having a cup of tea/coffee.

Once we had eaten a little bit A went up to the bar and surprised us with a bottle of prosecco. Shes a star! Prosecco popped and out came the 40 glasses! Ha ha! We toasted our past/upcoming birthdays and enjoyed a drink then took it in turns to wear the glass and pose with our glass of proseccoor in Es case, her cup of tea!

We quickly polished off the prosecco then E, B and I headed down to the shops. We had a very good browse in duty free where both E and B each bought a watch (I cant for the life of me remember the brand now but they were both lovely). We then had a nosy in Accessorize where B bought a beautiful mustard scarf before making our way to boots. I wanted make up. I dont really wear make up but thought that maybe I should as I am getting on a bit now! I spent some time browsing and decided just to get a BB cream as a light cover and some mascara.

With purchases in hand we made our way back up to the lounge for final bits of food and drink before we were to head down to the gate. I think at some point in the morning both H and A made their way downstairs to browse the shops again. Despite arriving super early the time had really flown. Once we were done in the lounge we made our way down to the gate. We could see our airplane out of the window. Having never flown Virgin before Ive never had the delight of looking at the name of my plane so I suggested we check it out. Well, what do you know! Our plane was called Pretty Woman! It was a sign of things to come as we had tickets to see Pretty Woman on Wednesday!

Once they called boarding we jumped in line and slowly made our way onto the plane. I hadnt booked seats but when we checked in we were happy with the configuration. We had a row of 4 and 1 in front. A was a superstar and volunteered to take this seat. E sat on the aisle behind her, then me, H and B. We settled in to our seats and we were ready. It wasnt long before we took off. I cant for the life of me tell you what we ate or watched but I do know that we had wine. It was disgusting! Well, I thought so anyway, urgh! I think a couple of us managed to nod off on the journey as well.I know there is 1 photo incriminating me!

The flight went by quickly and soon enough we were landing at JFK. Our scheduled landing time was 4.30pm so Im going to assume we were close to this time.

We gathered our belongings and then headed off the plane to immigration. Heres where it got really scary for me. I went to Florida in summer so had an active ESTA whereas the others were all first timers. Following the signs meant that they went through one lane and I went through the returning Estas lineon my own! Eeek! I waved goodbye to the others and followed the line. I turned my mobile phone on so that it could update whilst I was queuing and spent some time whats aping DH and the girls whilst in the line. In reality this was fantastic to come through on a returning ESTA as I really didnt queue for that long. In hindsight we were at the back of the plane and last off and into immigration so the queue for the girls was loooooong.

I used the machine, scanned my hand and smiled at the camera and I was in. Yipee! I made my way to the baggage carousel and thought I would start the task of collecting bags. Oh. My. Word! They are super quick at offloading luggage at JFKwell, they were on this day. When I went to the opposite side of the luggage belt there stood hundreds of bags all neatly lined up. And I had to find 5, 4 of which I didnt really know what they looked like. Needle in a haystack came to mind! I sent a quick whats app to the other side asking them to tell me the colour of their bags. I quickly located mine, then Es whose had a very distinct red and black pattern and then, with a little searching, Bs.

Now, A and H had told me their bags were purple and blue (I think) but one had a rainbow ribbon on. I parked the 3 suitcases I had found together and walked up and down the 3 deep line of suitcases over and over and over and over again. In this time the line of bags was diminishing as people were getting through immigration and collecting bags and at certain points the staff would shuffle the remaining bags together but at no point could I find the bags. I decided to ask a member of staff if she could help me. I explained my situation and told her what I was looking for. She asked if I had the luggage receipt form Manchester which I did. She scanned that and just told me that all 5 bags had made it into JFK and left me to keep searching.

I searched a bit more and then I spotted a rainbow ribbon. Aha! A bag! Yay, I checked the label and it belonged to A! But it was not the colour Id been looking for as it was grey! 4 down, 1 to go. I continued searching until I heard the staff member from earlier shout me and miraculously she had found the final bagagain not the colour I had been looking for! She had been shuffling the luggage and had spotted the name on the tag from when she scanned the receipt. Yay, go me! I had all 5 bags and it was not much after when the girls made it through immigration. They must have been in the queue about an hour.

So, with the group all together we could make our way out into the city. We queued up for a taxi and when we got to the front we asked for a taxi for 5. Nope! They dont do them that big. So we had to split into a 3 and a 2. At 5.38 we got into our taxis

and it wasnt too much later at 6.38 when we were pulling up outside our hotel, the Double Tree Suites by Hilton on Times Square. Super happy with the locationTimes Square was busy! Both taxis arrived more or less at the same time and we grabbed our bags and made our way into the hotel. We explained to the doorman that we were checking in and he opened the lift for us and directed us up to Reception. Once in the reception I went and checked us in and we were given our room. The receptionist gave me 5 vouchers for $20 to spend in their Starbucks (which was only open at certain times, mainly in the morning) and she asked for security on the room so I gave my card as it is Halifax Clarity.

We were then given a delicious, fresh, warm cookie each. Yummy! This was much needed after the long travel day so far. We went to the lifts behind reception and made our way up to our floor and followed the corridors to our room. In our room we decided who was sharing with who (2 double beds in the bedroom) and who was having the sofa bed. The bathroom was Jack and Jill so could be accessed from both the living area (with sofa bed) and the bedroom so this was really convenient for the middle of the night toilet trips.

We decided that we would freshen up a little and then head out to explore the area so thats what we did. Once we were outside we crossed the road and went onto the red steps where we had lots of photos taken before making our way down Times Square.

We came across the Hard Rock and I asked if we could nip in so that I could get DS a pin as he collects them.

Everyone was happy with this so we headed in to buy a pin. With the pin in hand we were going to leave but A suggested we go and grab a drink. Who are we to argue when alcohol is on offer? We had our photo taken in front of the Hard Rock sign (the white one with the logo) and then headed towards the bar. We luckily found 3 seats at the bar and grabbed them.

As we were looking at the drinks menu 2 people next to us were leaving so we grabbed their seats too which meant we had 5 in a row at the bar. We all ordered a cocktail each as well as a portion of nachos to share. These are generally huge so we knew they would be fine to share as we werent overly hungry.

Drinks and nachos were very much enjoyed by all of us and we then asked for the bill. That was fun! I explained to the girls that as were at a bar we had to tip $1 per drink but that because we ordered food and were brought it we should tip more. We split the bill 5 ways and Fairfx shows I paid $16. I imagine we tipped cash but I cant recall. I do know that as we left the bar the server looked like she had a bit of a cob on so I left questioning whether we had tipped enough.
It took us 2 minutes to walk up Times Square to the Double Tree and by 9:09 we were back in our room and getting ready for bed. I have no doubt that we were all out like lights after our long travel day, ready for our early morning wake up!

Edited at 01:36 PM.
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Unread 14 Jun 19, 05:01 PM  
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A long day for all of you, but so far so good!

Just a tiny suggestion, hope you don't mind, but it might help others if you put your destination in the headings for each day of your Report?
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Unread 14 Jun 19, 10:22 PM  
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