Just 10 days to go now
With just 10 days left to go, I shall be taking a look at my US Internal Flights experience. I have only needed to use internal flights twice in the US, but there is some great difference in the way that they operate. Firstly, they overbook practically every flight. I guess getting to the airport early is the best way to guarantee a seat, although I can’t confirm this is how it works.
Checking in is pretty much the same as with any UK airline. I have always had bags included with my flights when ever I have flown, so was surprised at the $25 surcharge to check my luggage. This charge is now $30 according tot he United Airlines website.
US Flight Experience
The two flights I took were from San Francisco to Chicago, and then Chicago to New York. The San Francisco flight was really weird for me. After a couple of meetings in the morning in San Francisco we went for lunch. I actually ate food on the day of the flight. I think the Virgin Atlantic experience has showed me a new found respect for the way in which planes fly and how smooth they can be.
At the airport
This is where it all went south. South in the way that I was really tired. We had driven up route 1 in California from Santa Barbara, all the way up to San Francisco the day before, arriving at the hotel room at around 2am. With the early morning meetings, and a quick look around San Francisco (Probably a couple of hours free time if that), it was time to head to the airport. Check in as I mentioned was simple enough, it was only once we were through security that those good old trips to the toilet started again. I guess at least I made it to the airport this time without being caught short. I had taken a Diazepam on our way to the airport knowing that I could take one just before boarding.
Into the air…Again
The typical wait was on at the airport with plenty of those toilet trips. We then proceeded to board, and it was getting dark now. I was so tired, I was just happy to sit down. I had a nice window seat, and the seat was leather and very comfortable. Bonus point against Virgin Atlantic for the seats on United. We took off and it was just like at Heathrow, smoothish runway, bumps stopped on lift off, bit of a wiggle and soared into the air.I actually settled into this flight, it was a long one. As I recall it was maybe 5 hours. The flight was again really smooth, that is until we began our decent into a cold and stormy Chicago.
I exaggerate not, I thought I was going to die on this flight. The plane was being thrown all over the place when it was coming in to land. I know it is just the weather and pilots are trained to perfection with this type of thing, but god I was scared. The plane bounced, dipped, jolted, it was like a roller coaster to me. I don’t like roller coasters at all. Just ask my friends about The Mummy ride at Universal Studios! But guess what. No one else on the flight was bothered at all. I guess the American regular flyers are used to the Windy city. Well I was not, and certainly wouldn’t want to be in that amount of turbulence again. Speaking to the crew afterwards, they said this was just mild, and normal! Not to me it wasn’t.
I knew I had another two flights before getting home, so was really terrified at this point. Fear not though, I had 3 days in Chicago to enjoy first.
Flying out of the Windy City
With the turbulent landing at Chicago, I was very worried about the flight from Chicago to New York. It was an early morning Saturday flight, and again I didn’t really sleep much the night before. Diazepam is my friend. I am just so grateful that the Doctors prescribed me these for use before flights. At check in I was one of those unlucky people that was put on standby, so there was the added stress of not even knowing if I would make the flight. About an hour before we boarded I was called to the gate, and offered a seat, a nice window seat. I was not looking forward to this flight at all.
Not that simple
It was about 30 minutes later that there was an announcement asking us to all head to another gate, as there was a mechanical problem with our plane. I mean thats exactly what someone with flight anxiety wants to here prior to boarding. We were ushered onto the replacement plane however, and guess what, time for not only another tablet, but those lovely leather seats again. This plane was only 2 rows of seats either side, so one of the smallest planes I had ever been on.
Just look at this view of Chicago from the air
This flight was really fast, and I mean an hour and a half. It was actually a really pleasant flight, and I was even given a complimentary drink. There were a few bumps on the way, but it was as short as a train ride into London from where I live, so I was happy to just go with the flow. To be honest, I was just glad to be on a plane, as stupid as that may sound. I was on my way to the Big Apple, NYC, New York City!
This is how smooth the flight was for 99.9% of the journey, it was a lovely day with some great views also.
Arriving at New York City – La Guardia Airport, a nice video for you to enjoy.
Do forgive the shaky footage. This was purely my shaky hands and should not be seen as a bumpy flight, it was actually really smooth. Bit of a bump on landing, but not as bad as my footage makes out.
Without going through the hassle of flying, I would not have been able to see Los Angeles, The Hollywood Sign, The Chinese Theatre, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Elephant Seal Sanctuary, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.
Without this very scary, but very safe method of transport, I would still be in the dark on a lot of American Culture. I shall see you tomorrow for more stories of my flights, and also to see how I am feeling with just 9 days to go!