Are we there yet?

We left Eugene with great anticipation, at 3:15AM. Our Pal Hal picked us up and took us to the airport. We already knew our flight was delayed for crew rest requirements. When we got there and the crew arrived, they called a mechanic to fix a “minor issue”. At about 9AM, we gave up waiting for that to be fixed and decided to rebook on other flights. It’s a good thing we bailed when we did, because that flight ultimately took off at 5:50 PM, more than 12 hours after the originally scheduled departure.We called United and they rebooked us to go from SFO to Zurich, and then Zurich to Heathrow. We had business class seats, and they said they got the same for us on the rebooked flights, and they were able to print out boarding passes for Brad all the way through, but not for me. Not to worry, they said, I can get the boarding passes in SFO.So I didn’t worry. We hung out in the rocking chairs at the Eugene Airport until our rebooked flight left at 1:27PM, and arrived SFO 12 hours after we left our house. Could have driven there in that time. While we were boarding, we got to chatting with someone who turned out to be Rick, the best friend of our recently departed colleague, Kurt. We had a chance to thank him for the nice job he did at Kurt’s memorial celebration and reminisce a bit.We got to SFO and checked into United’s beautiful new Polaris Lounge, for business and first class passengers. It was spacious and quiet and comfortable. We enjoyed some snacks, mixed drinks (Moscow Mule for me and Smoky Negroni for Brad) and a sit down dinner, which were all both free and delicious. (My favorite, the coconut rice pudding with the pineapple brûlée on top.). Brad was able to use the “shower suite” to freshen up a bit while I called our trusty house sitter, Mom. Hurray, United, for having the restrooms be labeled “All Genders”. The Polaris Club experience was the highlight of our two travel days, for sure.About an hour and a half before our flight, we went down to the gate and checked for my boarding passes. The Swiss Air gate agent was able to provide my boarding docs from SFO to Zurich, but they said that United hadn’t completed the reservation for the Zurich to Heathrow portion. I spent the next hour and a half on the phone, alternating between United and Swiss Air, trying to figure out what to do to rectify the situation. I don’t speak the universal airline reservation language, so some of the communication was garbled. I was frantically working to ensure that I got a boarding pass for that last leg, because I knew that trying to work this out when we got to Zurich would be logistically much more difficult.Boarding started for our flight. I told Brad not to worry, because we both had boarding passes for business class seats, so we would be fine. All of first and business class checked in. The long and windy line for economy kept snaking by, while the gate agent, the United Airlines person on the phone, and I, frantically tried to resolve the issue. We got down to the last possible minute before the doors closed on the plane, and the snaky line ended, but they were able to at least get me on the same plane as Brad. The Swiss Air gate agent was a real hero. That’s the good news, the bad news is that I will fly economy for that last leg. But it isn’t a very long flight, and I have a window seat, so it will be fine.The flight from SFO to Zurich in business class was fine. The Swiss Air business class has the old style seats, which aren’t very comfortable. And not very high tech. Not that we are complaining, because it was miles better than economy. I had a little bite to eat, which was nice, including cheese, of course! And cheesecake. And I got to watch Black Panther. Then it was time to try to sleep. The seat laid flat, and I was able to get in a few winks but it wasn’t really restful. I woke to the flight attendants serving breakfast … muesli, of course, and more cheese. When we deplaned, I was reunited with my dear husband, who was sitting a dozen rows back (in business class) on the other side of the plane.We arrived in Zurich and headed over to our gate to wait. I had read all about the great shopping in the Zurich airport, but it is apparently not in the section where we were sitting. Oh well, lost opportunity for Brad to buy a $1000 pen. But we did get to enjoy a lot of announcements from the smoothest talking man we’ve ever heard.It was a relatively short hop to Heathrow. Brad got “business class”, which meant the exact same seats, but slightly better food and some alcohol. I had a window seat, which I love, but I kept nodding off. We did get a lovely bit of Swiss chocolate, in a soccer ball wrapper.Everything went as planned once we arrived. Not too long in passport control, and then Abdul, our trusty Blackberry Car Service driver, was waiting for us (despite the fact that we arrived in the middle of the big England/Croatia game). We had a very nice chat on the way to our flat, and learned a lot about the differences in driving for Uber vs. Blackberry. When we got here, the street was crowded with people everywhere … there is a pub across the street overflowing with soccer fans. We got into our flat as instructed by our Airbnb host, and proceeded to collapse into bed a mere 32 hours after we left yesterday morning.

One thought on “Are we there yet?

  1. What a journey so far! I love that you both leaned into the experience, which didn’t go at all as you’d so carefully planned. It’s a great case study in mindfulness. Here’s hoping Brad gets his $1000 pen someday.

    Oh, and sorry about the soccer game. I imagine the streets were relatively quiet when it was over.

    Like

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