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Old 31 Mar 04, 06:55 PM  
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slightly serious Dibber
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Join Date: Jan 04
Las Vegas, Anaheim, etc. Day 2 - The Journey

Awoke early (probably around 6am), showered, dressed and packed, ready to catch the bus to the South terminal. The bus cost £1 each and got us to the terminal in no time at all, though we did have to lug the cases up the ramp to the check-in area. Our flight was at 11:55am, so we arrived at check-in around 8:15am to ensure we got the seats we wanted, or at least got two together.

We were flying with Continental Airlines from London Gatwick to Las Vegas McCarran Airport, via Cleveland. As far as I remember, the check-in wait wasn’t that long and we were soon relieved of our luggage, given the seats I had pre-booked and were on our way to the ServisAir lounge for a three hour wait. The lounge was pretty nice, with a separate room for smokers, which was useful for me as I have asthma and am very anti-smoking. I don’t drink, but Kat does and, since she’s a nervous flyer, she took advantage of the free alcohol to calm her nerves. We munched our way through the free crisps, pretzels, muffins and biscuits, since we hadn’t had breakfast, and also filled out hand luggage with some for the flight! We managed to grab window seats so had a good view of the planes arriving and departing and even saw our own plane being loaded up.

Since the lounge was around a 15min walk from the gate, we left fairly early and headed for the plane. It was a 757-200, so not particularly big – the layout was 3 and 3 if I remember correctly – and we had an aisle and middle seat by the window (I always ask for aisle as I need to stretch my leg out due to an injury, which I’ll come to later). No seatback TVs, but the movie choices were bad anyway (really, really old tv movies) so, for the first time ever on a transatlantic flight, I didn’t watch the movie and read a book instead – it was a good book too

The cabin crew, to be honest, were not that great. The female crew members were not friendly at all and, when we discovered Kat’s veggie meal had not been ordered, they were totally unsympathetic and thought they were doing us a service when they managed to find the last one they had and gave that to her – I know it wasn’t them who made the error, but they practically threw the food at us. Can’t remember what I had, mainly because I’ve erased it from my memory to preserve my sanity (or what’s left of it), as I know it wasn’t great, even for plane food.

With regard to Kat’s veggie meal, I had requested this when booking (through Expedia) and then received an email telling me that, due to changes, no ‘special meals’ were available on US domestic flights, but they said the booking would still be made for the international one – this didn’t happen on either the outbound or return journeys. I should comment though that it hasn’t put me off Continental – I’m flying with them to Orlando via Newark in a couple of days time.

Anyway, we landed in Cleveland bang on time at 15:30 local and made our way to Immigration. Got caught in a huge queue and then got further annoyed as they opened up a ‘US Only’ line later and all the people behind us swarmed to that, meaning we were pretty much last to get through and collect our bags – do people not understand ‘queue etiquette’?! . We cleared Customs, re-checked our bags and passed through Security while worrying that we were going to be tight for time – our Vegas flight was due to depart at 17:05. In the end, we needn’t have worried as, for the first time ever for me, there was a major flight delay. They were repairing a runway at Newark airport and our plane was still stuck there, so there would be approximately a two hour delay.

Finally got on the Vegas plane, still a 757 but slightly different layout, though still a 3-3 seat configuration. Discovered the movie was “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days” and I totally loved it, even though I was exhausted and trying not to think about the fact that it was around 11:30pm back home. Cabin crew on this flight were much nicer and I watched with amusement as some people grumbled about having to pay $5 to buy headphones – I’d kept my freebies from the international flight. I do think it’s crazy that they charge customers for them, though I could see the point if they passed the savings on to us. I don’t mind paying $5 for alcoholic beverages, since I don’t drink.

By the time we landed at Vegas and got our bags back it was 8:30pm local time. Not that late, but considering it was 4:30am in the UK, we were shattered. Hopped in a cab and headed for the Aladdin hotel.

Arrived at the Aladdin and there was an empty check-in line. Talked to a really nice receptionist and asked him if there was any chance of an upgrade. He said he could give us a ‘Bellagio Fountains’ view room, but that it would cost. I told him that, being Scottish, I was only interested in freebies. He laughed and gave us the upgrade for free! We were in the North Tower and has a great view of the fountains and the ‘Eiffel Tower’ at the Paris hotel next door.

The room was pretty nice; two huge double beds, massive bathroom, with separate shower cubicle and decent ‘corner style’ bath, with the toilet in a separate room off the bathroom. There was also a PC in the room, with internet access for $9.99 for 24 hours. I used this a couple of days later, but discovered – to my cost – that it didn’t allow ‘cookies’, so I couldn’t check my AOL email.

I watched the fountain show while unpacking and we both crashed out pretty quickly, the long day catching up on us.

Next up... Viva Las Vegas!

(By the way, feel free to tell me I'm waffling and making the reports too long - I have a habit of doing that!)
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