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Unread 23 Nov 19, 09:29 PM  
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Melanie R
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Glaciers & Glowtinis - the journey home

So today had finally arrived, the end of my adventure, the day I had to fly home!

It was an early start this morning, I had to be up and about by 5:30 as I needed to be in a taxi by 6:15 in order to get to the airport in time for my earlier flight. I was checking the price of journey on Uber in my room and it was showing around $50 which I didnt think was too bad.

I headed out of the room to the lobby and opened the app again to actually book the journey it now showed at $35 so I clicked confirm before it could change its mind!

The taxi was there within minutes and I was soon sat inside, saying goodbye to San Francisco it had been a very fleeting visit, but one I had thoroughly enjoyed ☺

It was very busy at the airport, as I would expect for such a major city, but I quickly found the bag drop area for United Airlines and there was only a short queue for the check in consoles. I was quickly at the front of the queue and following the automated instructions for bag drop. It asked at one point if my bag was over the weight limit I wasnt sure, so popped it on the scales and it was about a kilo and a half over, so entered yes on the machine. It then wanted my credit charge for a $150 surcharge! I decided at this point to start again and say no when asked it then printed me a luggage tag and I joined the queue to drop the bag at the counter. I could see they were weighing luggage again here, so was fully expecting to be told it was over the limit, but I had a fabric hold-all folded up in my rucksack which I would off load a few bits into if needed, and use that as my hand luggage. As it happened, they didnt bat an eyelid and just loaded it onto the conveyor without comment. I could see quite a few people reorganising luggage so I can only imagine how overweight their cases must have been!

I was soon heading to the gate through security (Manchester can definitely learn some lessons from them 10 minutes to get through!) and picked up a coffee to try to wake myself up a little it had been an early start and I had not slept well due to fear of oversleeping!

They called our flight and I was soon boarding. I knew the flight was full from when I checked in the previous evening when I selected my seat, there were only 2 to choose from, and I had selected one by the window in a row of 3, at the time of booking it had a spare seat in the middle, but I could see people waiting for standby so was fully expecting it to be filled.

When I boarded, there was a gentleman sitting in my seat this was beginning to feel like dj vu (seriously, how hard is it to read a seat number and row on a boarding pass? ). There was also a lady sitting in the aisle seat of the row, so I double checked my boarding pass and politely told the gentleman he was in my seat. He was adamant that he had the right seat and as I was showing him my boarding pass, a member of the cabin crew came over and asked what the issue was. It then turned out he had booked an aisle seat in the same row, but preferred a window seat so had chosen to sit there instead. The lady then sitting in the aisle seat realised she was in the wrong row so moved to her correct seat 3 rows back, but the gentleman was still refusing to move. In the end, the stewardess asked me nicely if I would take the aisle seat, which I did. 5 minutes later, a lady informed me I was sitting in her seat! It turned out the stroppy man was on the wrong side of the plane, so his seat was on the opposite aisle. The lady whose seat I was now in insisted on her correct seat, so I ended up moving to the opposite aisle and was seated next to the most fidgety chatty woman Ive met in some time, so I wasnt best pleased as this was not my seat, but being very British didnt want to make a fuss! Before too long, we were being given the safety briefing and I realised that the stroppy man had the only empty seat on the plane next to him to spread out into and that was really my seat!

I think the stewardess realised I wasnt overly happy as she brought me several complementary snacks and drinks to make up for the inconvenience, but I was glad it was only a 2 hour flight sitting next to Mrs.Fidget!

To be fair, she was very pleasant and I could feel the relief from her husband that she had found someone to chat to so that he got some peace Before too long, we were landing in Vancouver and I was collecting my stuff and heading off the plane. I was in no rush as I now had around 4 hours to transit the airport, but the immigration queues were nothing short of chaotic when I got there! We shuffled along and it took almost 90 minutes from leaving the plane to collecting my luggage, so I was very grateful I had been able to switch to the earlier flight, otherwise I would have been cutting it extremely fine to make the flight home!

Once I was through, I followed the signs and headed up to departures to get rid of my luggage for the flight home this was a very quick process and I noticed that the check in desk for Air Transat was immediately opposite a Starbucks great, that was lunch sorted!

My case was quickly tagged and checked in, and my boarding pass was marked so that I could go through the FastTrack security line another added bonus of being a comfort plus customer!

Once I had off-loaded my luggage, I headed to Starbucks for a coffee and to see what I could pick up for lunch. I ordered my latte and picked up a sandwich and then I spotted the mugs! I started my collection of Starbucks mugs at Disneyland Paris (all 2 of them!) and I spotted they had a Vancouver mug and a Victoria mug, both of which I had visited.



My resolve had lasted for the whole duration of the trip to keep souvenirs to a minimum, but Im afraid my willpower had broken in the Walt Disney museum the previous day, and I didnt even need a nudge today the Vancouver mug was added to my order and stowed away in my rucksack before I could change my mind! I picked up my coffee and sandwich and realised the seating area was completely full, but there was a food court just across the concourse so I headed over to find a seat, passing Wendys as I was looking for a seat their burgers looked amazing and I suddenly really fancied one! I decided to order a burger for lunch and to take my sandwich on the flight to have in place of the meal onboard, so I got in the queue for Wendys and ordered a meal deal which came with a drink I picked a bottle of water thinking this would be ideal for the plane as I already had a coffee to have with lunch.

The burger was really nice and I thoroughly enjoyed lunch, I collected my things together and headed towards the security queue. I was very quickly at the front, when I realised I had just wasted a bottle of water as no liquids were allowed through - duh!

I was through security in no time thanks to the FastTrack, and I still had around an hour before I was due to board. I spotted another Starbucks, and decided another coffee wouldnt go amiss so joined the queue. It was here I also had a further willpower bypass and bought the Victoria mug to add to my collection! I took a seat at the gate and enjoyed my last hour in Canada with my latte and was soon being called to board the plane home.

For a change, there was nobody sitting in my seat and I was soon settled with my rucksack and 2 Starbucks bags containing my mugs stored in the overhead locker. I had an aisle seat and was soon joined in my row by a lady who was part of a student group spread out throughout the plane, followed by another solo traveler who was seated in between us. He was very pleasant, but quickly commandeered all the space available in terms of foot room and elbow room this was going to be a loooong flight!

We were soon all boarded and going through the safety briefing and were very quickly underway the cabin crew headed down the aisles with the trolley for snacks and drinks and when they got to my row I asked for a gin and tonic and was given my snacks. The guy next to me was almost asleep already and was starting to lean even more into my space the stewardess spotted this straight away and told me there was a row further up which only had 1 passenger would I like to move to get some more space! I didnt need asking twice and was very quickly seated about 5 rows towards the front, with a spare seat between me and the guy by the window it was one of the very few spare seats onboard so I was very pleased and it certainly made the flight more comfortable 😀

I settled down with my drink and got my iPad out to watch a movie the IFE selection onboard hadnt changed from my outbound journey and I had struggled to find anything then, so it was definitely going to be iPad all the way home!

The came round quite quickly with the meal service and I tried the pasta meal it was edible but only just! I headed back to the locker above my original seat and retrieved my Starbucks sandwich for later and once they had cleared the meal service tried to get some sleep. Ive only ever managed to sleep once on a plane and that was in business class with a lie flat seat it was never going to happen in these still cramped conditions, so I settled down to watch movies for the rest of the flight, pausing for the occasional wander up the plane to stretch my legs, and watched the flight map on the screen in front. I pondered for quite some time why they cant turn the plane icon round on the flight maps we flew backwards according to the map the whole way home! Surely in this day and age it wouldnt be impossible to have the plane image the right way round! (This pondering passed at least an hour that was the level of boredom I was experiencing! )

Time passed as it does on long journeys, and they were soon serving breakfast. This was a brioche of some sort and was actually quite pleasant and the coffee they were serving helped to keep me alert. I had reset the time on my phone to UK time as we boarded to try to acclimatise as quickly as possible, and to say I had now been awake for a very long time, and had an 8 hour time adjustment to contend with, I was actually feeling surprisingly awake! We landed at Manchester around 8:30 local time and everyone stood to exit the plane. This was when I realised I still had a bag in the locker above my original seat and trying to head back through the people jostling to get OFF the plane was never going to happen! As a result I was one of the last off the plane, but surprisingly this time the security clearance was very quick, and as I approached the luggage carousel I could see my case already on there getting to the front to get it was going to be a challenge due to the crowds, but at least it was there! I was just pushing my way through to try to get to it when the guy in front of me lifted it off he clearly thought it was his, and when his wife checked and told him it wasnt theirs, I managed to catch his eye and explain it was mine before he could put it back on, so problem solved!

I headed straight through customs and was soon on my way to the station to get the train back to Lancaster. I checked the departures board to see I only had a 5 minute wait and headed to the indicated platform. I had just got there when there was an announcement that the platform had been changed, so we all had to make our way over to the other side of the station to the waiting train. I headed on and managed to find a spot for my case and claimed a seat it wasnt too busy at this point, but busier than I expected at this time of the morning. We arrived at Manchester Picadilly, the next station along and hoards of students got on I had forgotten they would be headed back to Lancaster University after the weekend, so it was a busy train the rest of the journey!

It was soon pulling in at Lancaster station and my dad had arrived to pick me up I was soon home and making a well earned cup of tea. I had been up since 5:30am the previous day and had an 9 hour time adjustment to contend with almost 24 hours travelling in total, but I have to say it had been the trip of a lifetime and worth every second of it!
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Unread 23 Nov 19, 09:39 PM  
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MrsBC
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I've enjoyed reading along
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Unread 23 Nov 19, 10:13 PM  
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Melanie R
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Originally Posted by MrsBC View Post
I've enjoyed reading along
Thank you - it was an amazing trip and has well and truly ignited my travel bug - planning a safari as my next adventure 😁
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Unread 23 Nov 19, 10:42 PM  
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Thanks so much - that was a fab trip report and your adventures made me envious - sounds like my kind of trip.

The plane seat carry on would have really ripped my knitting - you have the patience of a saint. As regards the mugs - they are a great souvenir - and why not - its something you can use every day and will remind you of your trip - also a great talking point when you have folk round for coffee.

Thanks again!
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Unread 23 Nov 19, 10:44 PM  
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Thank you so much for sharing Mel. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and it has added many places to my bucket list. Can't wait to hear what your next adventure holds.
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Unread 23 Nov 19, 11:02 PM  
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I thoroughly enjoyed following your trip and Im really glad it was everything youd hoped for. The inconsiderate chap in the wrong seat would have really annoyed me too, but at least it was only a 2 hour flight. I like to think hell get his comeuppance fairly soon... if he hasnt already!

We did a safari many years ago and had a fabulous time. Go for it!
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Unread 23 Nov 19, 11:35 PM  
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Melanie R
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I like to think it was karma which meant I got the empty seat on the much longer flight as a reward 😂
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Unread 16 Dec 19, 08:07 AM  
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Thankyou for sharing - really enjoyed reading. Such an amazing trip
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