Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day One: How we got here

We're almost human today (which is our first full day in Fairfax, VA)... not bad considering how long we were traveling yesterday and well, yesterday. Thursday was a seriously LONG day, we did Thursday twice we liked it so much.

So, here's the blog I hand wrote yesterday on the United Airline flight from San Francisco to Dulles, Washington.

True to form traveling is never as straight forward as it seems. With that in mind, let's start at the beginning. Yeah?
WGTN-AKL - trouble free.
We on-checked our luggage to DC from Wellington to make things easier in Auckland - we also had all our boarding passes, so it made it easier all round.
We arrived in Auckland and discovered we should've boarded our international flight already.... hmmm... not clever. Luckily we didn't have to worry about our bags! So it was a fast trot across to the international airport. FAST trot. No time to piss around waiting for shuttles.
THEN we waited. Not boarding? NOPE.
There was a discrepancy between the flight times on our itinerary and the times on the ticket.
We did board, however... we just weren't late as the ticket suggested.
The flight although rough in patches (we hit a three hour stretch of turbulence but it was actually fun) was an Air NZ flight, so therefore - comfortable, entertaining and crewed by people who were fun, chatty, and genuinely seemed happy to be there. (This is important for part two - so remember who awesome Air NZ is)
We three sat together.
I watched Toy Story 3 (well most of it) and then Salt, and an episode of Big Bang Theory. I played a few games and listened to music. Rose and Megan watched movies, TV, played games and listened to music too. It was awesome. We had personal screens and headphones etc so could watch whatever we wanted without disturbing each other.
We arrived fifteen minutes early at SFO.
Immigration provided an awesome opportunity to plug all three books - while I was finger printed and photographed. All good fun.

Then it was off to locate our bags and drop them off at the next check in. That was easy.
This is where is all turns pear shaped.
There was a little man at the bottom of an escalator assuring us that we needed to go UP to United to make our connecting flight.
Rose thought otherwise. Little man was insistent. Up we went.
Through security we went.
At the end of this - after THREE different people had looked at, read, and approved our boarding passes and passports we found duty free stores. Funny thing to have, right? We're not traveling Internationally now - the connecting flight was internal. And what do ya know... our flight isn't on the board. It showed purely international flights.
Rose ducked into the toilet. Megan I and looked at a vending machine full of electronic geek gorgeousness and discussed how we were in the WRONG terminal.

My instincts kicked in. What do you do when you're lost? Find a cop of course.

Enter Joe Finigan.
(Who rocks by the way!) I asked for help... and instead of just pointing us to the right direction, Joe checked where we should be and walked us there. He then checked with the gate that it was our flight and found out when it was boarding. AND took us to Peet's for coffee.
So within minutes of landing and getting lost in SFO - we'd met ourselves a really nice cop and had coffee bought for us.
I tell ya, Virginia needs to up it's game... San Francisco has set the bar high!
So - we have pictures. I have Joe's email address and phone number - because you never know when you'll need a go to guy in the SFPD. Nothing like a smiley cop to make us feel right at home and make our day.
(And btw kiwi's - the Glock on his hip did not make him unapproachable at all - something to keep in mind when considering the arming of NZ police. Personally I would sooner have armed police than to continue this worrying pattern of attacks on police. They protect us, they need to be able to protect themselves too. *steps off soap box*)

It's a shame we're not flying out of SFO - we would've all loved to spend more time with Joe. He's interesting and quite the gentleman.

So there you have it... our arrival part one.

Part two (SFO -IAD) to follow tomorrow... just remember how awesome Air NZ is. Tomorrow I'll tell y'all the horror of United Airlines! (Thank God, we're flying home on AirNZ!!)


Some Random Mother said...

Sounds like a loooong day! So glad you've made to th right ;-) side of the world. Hope this trip is everythng you want it to b and more! xoxo

Lee said...

I can tell you a story or two of United Airlines. Look forward to tomorrow's post.

Cat Connor said...

In hindsight it was pretty funny... blog will follow sometime today.

I see you...

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