All in all, the planning and preparation ended on a good note. My mom and I had some very civil conversations and we ended our planning on a good note, albeit not completely to her standards, but those standards are unattainable. The plan was for us to fly out to LA, spend 3-4 days, and then come home and settle into our winter lives. Bear in mind, this trip is on the heels of a trip to Ohio and a week at camp for the kids. We are all a bit weary.
There were some good vibes to start with, which is always a good thing. The original plan was to catch the Dartmouth shuttle to Logan, fly to LA, and then on our return spend the night in Boston because we would arrive late. We would leave the car at the bus depot because long term parking is such a scam. However, since we were only going to be gone for 5 days, it was actually cheaper to park in long term parking, since the bus runs over $100. Then I had another idea. The hotel we are staying at has a park and fly deal where you can park your car at a discount if you spend a night in the hotel. This happens to be the hotel we love, so I looked into it. Sure enough, they had a deal, and a great one, to boot. Now we could drive to Boston, save money, and return to our car and a nice hotel stay. I love when that happens.
Now being the whiner that I am, I will say that it’s much nicer taking the bus into Boston because you can just shut down and go for the ride. Taking our car gives us some flexibility, but driving into the city can be quite the adventure. Plus, we’re not really used to it because we always take the bus. It all worked out fine, however, and we got to the airport with plenty of time. That, of course is when the real adventure began.
The connection was pretty easy, we took a short flight to Philly to connect to our long flight, which was very manageable because it was quick and the plane was not full. In the modern era of flying, this is an anomaly, to say the least. It was in Philly that we learned that there was a shooting at the LAX, and the airport was basically shut down. We weren’t sure if we were going to be allowed to fly in, as were all the other passengers. Pretty much at the zero hour they declared the flight a go, and we boarded. Unlike our connection, this flight was packed, and there was some struggle to get our luggage in the overhead. We had gifts to bring to my mom, some of which were fragile, and other people were jockeying for space. It got a little testy. I placed our glass frame on top of some woman's bag, and when I wasn't looking, she moved it because the stuff in her bag was fragile. She could have just asked me, because she placed it next to her stuff, and then laid a bag on top of my stuff. I was worried that it might crack, and was on verge of giving her a piece of my mind. It was sort of a jerk move, but in the end, it worked out fine. If something had broken because of her maneuver, however, I was prepared to give her a karate chop to her head.
Then we learned that not only did USAir not offer any food, not even pretzels, but there was no on-flight movie. Talk about torture, we had to sit through a 6 hour flight with no breaks in the routine. Even meal service breaks the monotony. They did give us drinks, which was surprising. The modern era of flying is all about just getting there, forget about comfort or enjoyment.
Luckily we had my laptop, and I brought along a bunch of movies, so the kids were fine. There is about 4 hours of battery time, so if timed properly, they wouldn’t be too bored. We had brought food but you have to remember, we were traveling for about 14 hours. We left Vermont at 8:00, and landed in LA at 10:00 est. You just can’t pack that much food and take it to go. I have to give a big thumbs down to USAir, as well, because not only did they not give you any food, but they ran out of the food that you could buy. How lame is that?
The flight was smooth enough, we landed early, which was actually a bad thing, because the gate was occupied, so the plane had to sit there for about 20 minutes while the other plane prepared to depart. The passengers were going crazy, including us. Then we got to the gate and for whatever reason it took about 15 minutes for them to open the door to the jetway. Normally it’s not a big deal, but we were exhausted and irate. Finally we got to the terminal and were ready to be picked up.
This is where things really got interesting, but more on this later. Suffice it to say that my mom picked us up and we are home safely in LA. We ate a bite and chatted a bit, but we were tired, and it was 10:00PM by that time, which is past midnight for us since we were still on east coast time.
More on our adventures later. For now, thanks for reading, and thanks to Steve R for the pic.