Tag Archives: Moving

24 Hours in Transit: Part 3 – World’s 5-Star Airline (FRA-DOH)

This is the third post in a three part trip report of my big move to Doha, Qatar.  If you’re new to trip reports you may find these boring as I did at first, but now I quite enjoy them.  In other words, I’m going to keep writing them, so get used to it.  If you find yourself falling asleep reading them, just scroll through them really fast to look at the pretty pictures.   

24 Hours in Transit:  Part 1 – Adios Snow (MCI-CLT)
24 Hours in Transit:  Part 2 – Crossing the Pond in Envoy Class (CLT-FRA)
24 Hours in Transit:  Part 3 – World’s 5-Star Airline (FRA-DOH)

A five and a half hour international layover is kind of a rough spot to be in.  It’s quite a long time to spend in an airport, but, depending on the airport, it’s probably not enough time to get out and do something fun.  Prior to my trip, I looked into this situation to determine if Frankfurt happened to me one of those airports where I could run out to see the city for a bit before jumping on the plane to Doha.  No such luck.  It sounded like I’d need a layover of about eight hours or so to make something worthwhile happen.  However, in the course of my research I found out that they have airport tours that last either 45 or 90 minutes depending on which one you choose.  I like airplanes, and, while five and a half hours is a long time to spend in one, I do like airports as well.  It sounded like a brilliant option until I found out the tours were only given in German.  What kind of crazy place only offers tours in their own native language?  Ridiculous, I know.  While I would very much enjoy “breathtaking views of the Airbus A380”, I didn’t feel like the other 88 minutes of having no idea what was going on would be worth it.  So it was onto my backup plan.

Originally, the lounge hopping idea seemed like a great way to blow the time in the airport.  A lot of things sound brilliant prior to jetlag, though.  It didn’t help that I didn’t do much research to even find out where the different lounges were located in the airport (most likely nowhere near each other as it would be quite a waste to put them side by side).  Turns out I should have at least figured out where one of them was located.  I had a heckuva time tracking down the Lufthansa Business Lounge.  (Side note:  No, I didn’t fly Lufthansa, but because they’re part of the Star Alliance and US Airways is as well, that was the lounge I had access to as a US Airways international business class passenger.)

Hello rest & relaxation

Rest & relaxation awaits

When I finally found it, I didn’t like what I saw.  Stairs.  There probably was an elevator around somewhere, but in my jet lagged state I didn’t see one.  I dragged my roller bag and backpack up the stairs and into the lounge. 

Stairs are not a traveler's friend

Stairs are not a traveler’s friend

Once inside, though, it was worth the climb.  I was happy to discover it did have a shower as I had hoped, and plenty of food options.  I headed directly to the showers and found them full.  An attendant gave me a pager (like one you’d get at Applebee’s), and told me to come back when it went off.

I went to check out the food spread, and to grab a drink.  I feel like I’m a little bit of an adventurous guy so I went for an Aperol Spritz, having no idea what that was.  I did know it was orange, though, and I like orange.  It came in a bottle, so it seemed kinda fancy, so it should have been a winner.  It was not.  No good.  So, I decided to go back to my comfort zone and grab a Coke while I waited for the shower to become available.

Don't judge a book by it's cover.  Or a drink by it's bottle.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Or a drink by it’s bottle.

Eventually my pager went off, and I returned to the shower rooms.  The shower room was quite simple but it had everything I needed to wake up a bit after a long flight.  A quick shower really did help to wash away a good portion of the jet lag.

Simple, yet effective

Simple, yet effective

Like I said, anything you need

Like I said, anything you need

With the shower out of the way, I had a solid 4 hours left to kill in the lounge.  I quickly realized that in my infinite planning I didn’t even consider bringing along travel adapters to charge up the laptop and phone during the layover.  I knew I’d have to get adapters for Doha once I arrived, but didn’t think about my time in Frankfurt.  I had kept my phone plugged in for most of the flight from CLT-FRA, but the laptop was dying.  I didn’t really need the laptop, but it would have been nicer wasting away 4 hours surfing  the internet on a 14″ screen rather than a 4″ screen.  I made do, though.  I’m just glad I had kept the phone charged.

As expected, the lounge was full of drink and snack options, but nothing especially great.  I did find it quite funny that in the land of Bratwursts, they were featuring American hot dogs as the Daily Special.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some hot dogs, but it just doesn’t scream lounge food.  I mainly stuck with some basic snacks, and the pudding was really, really good.  I found it odd that this lounge supplied gummy bears.  The Swissair lounge Dawn and I visited last year also served them.  It just seems like an odd candy to provide.  The fact that both airlines are from German speaking countries along with my recollection that the Disney cartoon series Gummi Bears was set in a German forest (though a quick Google search could not confirm nor deny that) made me wonder if gummy bears were, in fact, a German invention.  It turns out they are German.  You all may have already known this, but it was news to me.

 -

One of multiple counters full of food

Kiwi on wild berry pudding.  Delicious.

Kiwi on wild berry pudding. Delicious.

American hot dogs? In a German lounge?  Really?

Odd choice in my opinion

Plenty of drink options

Plenty of drink options

Gummy bears now really make me want to watch the entire Gummi Bears series.  I loved that show.

Gummy bears now really make me want to watch the entire Gummi Bears series. I loved that show.

As you can see, plenty of options to partake in, but I wasn’t all that hungry, and plus I wanted to to be hungry for the Qatar Airways flight.  I mainly snacked and wandered around the lounge.  Even with the long layover, the combination of jet lag and the hike to find the first lounge kept me from venturing off to look for others.  The one lounge certainly had enough to keep one busy.  They had racks of newspapers and magazines to read, a kids play area, and even a nap room that I didn’t find until I was on my way out.  That’s something I would have liked to have found earlier.

Do people still read on paper?

Do people still read from paper?

The alligator shadow puppet indicates the nap room.

The alligator shadow puppet indicates the nap room.

Eventually my time in the lounge was up, and it was time to experience the “World’s 5-Star Airline”.  With a slogan like that, you better be good.  Truth be told, there are actually seven (7) five star airlines, but the other six are all Asian carriers.  Qatar Airways is the only one who decided to be as so bold as to use that as their slogan.  The only American airlines that are even four stars are Jet Blue and Virgin America.  However, I do question the accuracy of the rating system when Allegiant Air gets three stars just like United and American Airlines.  Allegiant Air is not fun to fly.  Super cheap, but no fun.

As I mentioned previously, I would have loved to get the nonstop DC to Doha or Houston to Doha flights on Qatar Airways, but they were too expensive.  I was glad that at least one of the legs of my trip would be on Qatar’s flagship airline.  One thing that I’ve learned since being here is that Qatar has a lot of money, and they like to show off.  Qatar Airways is a huge marketing tool for the country of Qatar (as is the country’s nonprofit organization – Qatar Foundation).

I boarded the plane and took my seat.  I was immediately greeted by name, and offered a pre-departure beverage.  I took up the flight attendant’s suggestion of lime juice, and it was so good that I ordered it with my meal later as well.

Welcome to Qatar

Welcome to Qatar

The seat was top notch as expected.  I was in seat 10A on an A330-300, and so I was in my own little mini business class cabin as you can see in the pic below.  I was also lucky enough to not have anyone sitting in the seat next to me.  First class was completely empty.  To be honest, I didn’t realize it was first class until I started looking through my pictures and the seat maps of the plane.  I thought that my flight only had business and economy seats (as I didn’t check the seatmap ahead of time).  The first class seats did look slightly different after studying the pictures, but I didn’t notice it on the flight.  From what I’ve read, typically the big difference between international first and international business class is the food and service, not the seat.    As I said, the seat didn’t disappoint.  It was fully lay flat as the US Airways Envoy seat was, but it did feel larger.  I also prefer the seats to not be in the angled fish bone configuration, which probably leads to more space.  It was quite comfortable for a couple hour afternoon nap.

Seat 10A (taken from Seatguru.com)

Seat 10A (taken from SeatGuru.com)

My Business Class window seat for the flight

My Business Class window seat for the flight

First Class Seat - Not much of a difference except for the large counter on the side

First Class Seat – Not much of a difference except for the large counter

First Class Seat Cabin

First Class Seat Cabin

Besides the beautiful seats, another reason I was wanting to fly Qatar Airways was that I had read that you receive pajamas in business class.  This is something that airlines typically reserve for international first class passengers, but being a 5 star airline, apparently Qatar Airlines wanted to step it up a notch.  Yes, it’s a bit ridiculous for an airline to give out pajamas for a flight, but that’s what flying in a premium cabin is all about.  Since my flight was during the day and it was only six hours long, I was a little concerned I wouldn’t end up with a set of Qatar Airways pajamas.  Upon arriving at my seat I found both a  Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit and a small Qatar Airways branded cloth bag.  The amenity kit seemed nice enough, and if I was familiar with expensive brands I’m sure I’d be impressed with whoever Ferragamo is.  The kit included hand cream, lip balm, and cologne (an upgrade from the Envoy kit).

Salva what?

Salva what?

What's behind bag #2?

What’s behind bag #2?

The Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit did seem to be lacking the typical toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, eye mask, and earplugs , though.  For a second I held out a little hope they had somehow crammed pajamas into the small bag.  Pajamas are thin and shouldn’t take up much volume at all, right?  No such luck for me.  No PJs in that bag.  Turns out I’ll have to save my first in flight pajamas experience for another flight.  The cloth bag held the aforementioned socks, eye mask, and earplugs as well as a travel hairbrush.  Still no toothbrush and toothpaste, though.

Slightly disappointing

Slightly disappointing

Turns out they keep the toothbrushes in the premium cabin bathrooms.  They also even have shaving kits, but I figured I’d pass on trying those out.  I can’t imagine using one of those disposable razors on my face on solid ground, let alone at 30,000 feet in the air when we could drop 50 to 100 feet at any moment due to turbulence.  A nice gesture, though, and it couldn’t have cost them more than 50 cents to put that package together.

Business class bathroom with amenities

Business class bathroom with amenities

Who can't use an extra toothbrush?

Who couldn’t use an extra toothbrush?

In case the amenity kit wasn’t enough or you prefer the Molton Brown brand over Salvatore Ferragamo, they provide hand lotion, soap, and cologne in the bathroom.  All it was missing was the shower.  And, yes, an airline does have a shower on a plane.  And, yes, that is one of my aspirations in this travel game.  I want to shower mid flight on a plane.  Over the top?  Yes, but, really, what about flying isn’t at least slightly over the top?

Just add shower for the full spa experience

Just add shower for the full spa experience

One of the nice touches that I noticed about the whole plane was how everything had the Qatar Airways logo stamped on it – from the small dish they hand you with a warm wash cloth on it all the way to the seat belt.  They’re proud of their logo and they put it everywhere.  I’d be proud of it too, as it’s a pretty cool logo.  It’s the Arabian Oryx which just so happens to be the national animal of Qatar.

Qatar Airways hot towel tray

A logo so tiny I’m probably the only person who noticed

Qatar Airways seatbelt

A seat belt worth stealing

If they spent that much time on the details of the plane, you’d hope the food would be just as important to them.  I hadn’t had much (maybe any?) Arabic food prior to this little jaunt, but I was excited to try it.

Menu Part 1

Menu Part 1

Menu Part 2

Menu Part 2

The nasu miso was good, although I’m still not sure what that is.  I chose the mezze for the appetizer and the lamb shank for the main course.  I wasn’t used to Arabic food, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.

I may not know what it is, but put it in front of me and I'll probably eat it

I may not know what it is, but put it in front of me and I’ll probably eat it

First taste of the Middle East

First taste of the Middle East

I better get used to something other than pork.

I better get used to something other than pork.

This time I was able to choose the dessert that came with 3 desserts – treacle tart, golden syrup ice cream with carmelized bananas – and that’s what I call a 5 star airline.

Three desserts in one.

Three desserts in one.

Oh, yeah, and afternoon tea a little later on in the flight as well…

Tea menu

Tea menu

Keep them coming

Keep them coming

In between each of the courses and throughout the flight the flight attendant was continually coming by to bring me more lime juice, tea, etc. or to ask if there was anything else she could do.  The service was excellent, but I don’t have much else to compare it to.  While eating dinner I took the opportunity to try out the in flight entertainment and catch up on another movie (Silver Linings Playbook).  Nothing too special about the system, but because I was in my own little mini cabin with no seat in front of me the screen popped out from the console in between the seats.  I actually prefer the screen in the back of the seat in front of me as that’s just one less thing I need to take down if I want to get up to stretch my legs.  After the movie, I took another nap, and before long we were landing in Doha.  It was around 10:30 PM local time, and I had to start work early the next morning.  I was exhausted, but quite happy to finally be at my final destination.  It was a great flight experience, and it might have even been 5 star worthy.  I’m looking forward to flying Qatar Airways again, but there’s a pretty good chance the next time them I’ll be in the back of the plane.  It’ll most likely be my final flight home from this crazy adventure before I get to sit up front with the big kids again, but I can hope, right?

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24 hours in Transit: Part 2 – Crossing the Pond in Envoy Class (CLT-FRA)

This is the second post in a three part trip report of my big move to Doha, Qatar.  If you’re new to trip reports you may find these boring as I did at first, but now I quite enjoy them.  In other words, I’m going to keep writing them, so get used to it.  If you find yourself falling asleep reading them, just scroll through them really fast to look at the pretty pictures.   

24 Hours in Transit:  Part 1 – Adios Snow (MCI-CLT)
24 Hours in Transit:  Part 2 – Crossing the Pond in Envoy Class (CLT-FRA)
24 Hours in Transit:  Part 3 – World’s 5-Star Airline (FRA-DOH)

I planned on doing a bit of lounge hopping on this trip to take full advantage of flying business class and compare what the different lounges had to offer.  Of course, I was mostly planning on doing this in Frankfurt, but I’ll get to that later.  Yes, most people would find lounge hopping quite boring, but this is what entertains me.

After I got off the plane, I made a quick stop at the smaller US Airways Club in concourse B to compare it to their main club.  It had the standard chips, cookies, cheeses, etc. and coffee machine that main club had when we stopped through there on our way to Ireland last May.  This club was larger than I expected it to be.  There were 2 main rooms with seating for maybe 20-30 in each, plus a separate small business center with maybe 5 or so desks down the hall from one of the seating areas.  Nothing special, but a much nicer place to sit and wait on a flight than in the terminal.

CLT Concourse B Lounge

Concourse B Loungin’ Options

CLT Concourse B Lounge

Concourse B Loungin’ Options

CLT Concourse B Hot Drinks

Concourse B US Airways Club Hot Drinks

CLT Concourse B Food Options

Concourse B US Airways Club Snack Options

I then headed towards my gate and the main US Airways club in between concourse C and D.  Charlotte is really a nice airport with a decent size food court that has floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the tarmac.  They also have quite a few white wooden rocking chairs where you can sit and people watch or enjoy the views of the planes taxing into the gates.  I would have enjoyed wasting time there, but I had another lounge to check out.

From my limited experience and knowledge, the US Airways Club in Charlotte seems to be one of the better US airline lounges (note: not US Airways lounges, but all US airline lounges).  I don’t have much experience with international lounges, but the ones I have been in blow away the US competition.  The main club had the same food options as the smaller lounge (which was expected, but still a little disappointing), but they do offer you a single complimentary alcoholic drink from the bar.  I chose to hang out in a spot in the small rotunda at the far end of the club that has nice views of the planes.  It was a good way to spend about an hour or so.

CLT Main US Airways Club

Main US Airways Club

Main US Airways Club

Main US Airways Club

Main US Airways Club Snack Options

Main US Airways Club Snack Options

Main US Airways Club Snack Options

Main US Airways Club Snack Options

Great View

Great View

By the time I got to the gate, the economy passengers were  boarding and business class passengers were already on the plane.  As this was the city of international departure I had to head to the gate agent to have my passport checked again.  As I mentioned earlier the gate agent here in CLT  also had to check the computer to confirm I didn’t need a visa prior to arrival in Doha before letting me on the plane.  That took a couple of minutes, and I was already a bit disappointed how late I was boarding.

As I boarded the plane, the Envoy section (US Airways business class) was pretty full.  There was a couple sitting across from me who was celebrating their 30 year wedding anniversary by spending 10 days somewhere in Europe (yeah, quite specific I know, but I can’t remember – Greece, Germany, maybe Switzerland….?).  My immediate thought was, wow, that’s sad their trip is only 10 days.  I soon realized that I have such a distorted point of view when it comes to travel.  Ten days may be a super long trip for them, and there are plenty of people out there who don’t want to be gone for longer than 10 days.  However, I was excited that they were able to celebrate such an incredible accomplishment with a big trip.  So few people get the chance (or rather make it a priority) to do something like that, and even fewer get to do it sitting up front.

Packed House

Packed House Up Front

When booking the trip I was really hoping to experience the Qatar Airways nonstop flight from either DC or Houston.  I had even found a great itinerary that would allow me about 8 hours in DC to get out and doing a little sight seeing in capital of the nation I was bailing on for a while.  Turns out the prices on those tickets were quite a bit higher than the US Airways MCI-CLT-FRA-DOH routing.  I was surprised at how much higher, and there was no way to justify the extra expense.  I wasn’t too disappointed with US Airways being the cheapest option out of the bunch as I was familiar with their Envoy seat, and knew it to be one of the better business class options from the States.

As expected, the seat didn’t disappoint.  It’s full lay flat, has electrical/usb ports, and a great in flight entertainment (IFE) system.  As seems to be standard in business and first class they give you noise cancelling headphones for the flight.  Now, if I could only take those home with me…

Home Sweet Home for the next 8 hrs

Home Sweet Home for the next 8 hrs

The amenity kit provided was the same one we had received on our way to Ireland last year (in US Airways old style business class on the 757).  Nothing too special, but I do like collecting amenity kits for some reason.  It came with Gilchrist & Soames lotion and lip balm, an eye mask, ear plugs, a tooth brush, and a pen.

Useless bag of junk to add to the collection

Useless bag of junk to add to the collection

Really, what am I going to do with this stuff?

Really, what am I going to do with this stuff?

Prior to dinner, the standard warm mixed nuts and drink was served.  You wouldn’t think so, but warming the mixed nuts makes all the difference.  I like regular mixed nuts just fine, but warming them really makes them great.   

Mmm... warm nuts...

Mmm… warm nuts…

For dinner they served an appetizer of Sliced Pesto Chicken Breast with tomato-caper relish which was decent (that’s about as descriptive as I’m going to get with food, because I’ll pretty much eat anything), along with a salad.  For the main course, there were four options, and I went with the Citrus Mahi Mahi.  A few people around me ordered it too, but had some reservations about doing so.  The flight attendant assured them both that it was a solid option.  I quite enjoyed it, so that was a win in my book.  It seems like a lot of people complain about airplane food, but I’m always quite happy with it – including what they serve in coach on international flights.  Each time it comes out I always think it’s not going to be enough food.  And by the end of the meal, I was completely full.

Pictures of menus are what you're here for right?

Pictures of menus are what you’re here for right?

Overall I give it a B-

Overall I give the chicken a B-

Pictures mean I don't have to type...

Pictures mean I don’t have to type…

Fish on a plane, not bad

Fish on a plane, not too bad

For dessert I couldn’t turn down the ice cream.  I really should have asked for the Raspberry Mousse too as it looked great.

I should have ordered 2 of each

I should have ordered 2 of each

I scream

I scream

While dinner was served I took advantage of the IFE, and watched Argo.  I’m headed to the Middle East, so why shouldn’t I see what I’m in for, right?  Actually I had wanted to see it for quite some time, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Really good movie.  On flights where I should be sleeping I tend to catch up on movies instead.  I think I didn’t sleep at all on my flight back from Brazil in 2010 just so I could stay up and watch four different movies.  I didn’t quite keep up with that trend, but I did watch Skyfall before crashing for a few hours in the lay flat seat.

Ah movies, how I've missed you

Ah movies, how I’ve missed you

I woke up early as I tend to do on overnight flights (and no other time), and enjoyed the views.  

The only time I'm up early enough to watch a sunrise

The only time I’m up early enough to watch a sunrise

Breakfast was served, and while I usually tend to go with the heavier option on all meals, I chose the fresh fruit bowl this time which I feel completely confident was the right decision.  

Quiche? No thanks.

Quiche? No thanks.

A healthy breakfast? Who am I?

A healthy breakfast? Who am I?

Soon we were landing in Frankfurt…

I prefer Munich, but, hey I'm going going to be here for a few hours anyway.

I prefer Munich, but, hey I’m only going to be here for a few hours anyway.

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24 Hours in Transit: Part 1 – Adios Snow (MCI-CLT)

This is the first post in a three part trip report of my big move to Doha, Qatar.  If you’re new to trip reports you may find these boring as I did at first, but now I quite enjoy them.  In other words, I’m going to keep writing them, so get used to it.  If you find yourself falling asleep reading them, just scroll through them really fast to look at the pretty pictures.   

24 Hours in Transit:  Part 1 – Adios Snow (MCI-CLT)
24 Hours in Transit:  Part 2 – Crossing the Pond in Envoy Class (CLT-FRA)
24 Hours in Transit:  Part 3 – World’s 5-Star Airline (FRA-DOH)

Let me preface what I’m about to say by telling you that I love to fly.  Sure, everyone loves to travel, but for most people the flying part of traveling is just a means to an end.  I would guess for most people the actual flight experience is either a somewhat neutral experience or a small pain they’re willing to put up with in order to visit some new and exotic location.  But there are those people who downright hate flying.  They hate packing their liquids in 3 ounce containers, being asked to remove their belt and shoes just to get on a plane, being subjected to pat downs or nudoscope scans, their ears popping during takeoffs and landings, or the fact that it’s such a long process just to get on a plane these days.

Not this guy.  All those things combined is such a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the magic that is hopping on a metal tube and blasting through the air at 600 mph.  Traveling halfway across the world in hours when it used to take months is nothing short of amazing.  It really is pure magic to me, and I typically enjoy every minute of it (ok, well maybe not the TSA part).  From people watching in the airport to feeling the G’s pulling me back in my seat as I take off I find it to be an incredible experience no matter how often I do it.

All that being said, after spending 24 hours in airports and on airplanes, I thought, man am I glad I’m not doing that again anytime soon.  I think what did me in was the 5 hour layover in Frankfurt.  Not enough time to leave the airport, but a bit too much time in the airport, even with lounge access. [Full disclosure: That’s how I felt immediately upon arriving.  Now that it’s been a few weeks I’m getting a bit antsy to hop back on a plane.]

Well, enough trying to convince you that long flights aren’t worth the trip, because they most certainly are (especially if you’re planning to come visit us – we’re totally worth it).

Dawn took the day off to take me to the airport and see me off.  I was flying  MCI-CLT-FRA-DOH (Kansas City to Charlotte to Frankfurt to Doha) and the first flight was scheduled to leave at 3:35 PM KC time.  We left a little after noon, and grabbed Jimmy John’s on the way.  I had Chipotle the night before as my last supper in the States, and Jimmy John’s is another favorite of mine so it was good to enjoy that before hopping on a plane to a place with who knows what kind of fast food options.

Map from gcmap.com

Map from gcmap.com

Checking in took a while as the service agent was concerned that I had no visa for Qatar (you buy it when you get there) or a return ticket from DOH.  She had to look something up, and make a call to confirm that all was good.  She didn’t want me to not be let on the plane in CLT or be immediately put on a plane back to the States once I hit DOH.  I’m all for her doing her job and checking into things, but I wasn’t concerned there would be any issues.  Granted, I just assumed my company had informed me correctly that I’d just buy a 30 day visa once I arrived, and there’d be no problems.  I didn’t spend any time checking up on those types of requirements.  That’s typically how I roll, and there’s a good chance it’ll come back to bite me eventually.  At least I’ll have a story though.  And that’s what life is all about, right?  The stories?

After she finished doing her due diligence and found out I’d be fine without a visa or a return ticket, we proceeded with the checking in.  As much as I like to preach the no checked baggage rule I let myself off the hook since I was moving for 1-2 years.  To reduce what we’re shipping over, I tried to pack as much in my luggage as possible.  Airlines vary on their rules a little depending on where you’re flying and what class you’re flying in.  As I was flying transatlantic business class with US Airways I was allowed 2 checked bags with up to 70 lbs each (the economy limit is 1 bag at 50 lbs – with no fees).  One of my bags was around the 50 lb mark.  The scale read the 2nd bag as 70 lbs, but I’m pretty sure it was a few pounds over the limit.  I’m pretty convinced I brought way too many clothes, but my wife decided that I wasn’t allowed to wear the same two pairs of jeans and 10 shirts for two years straight.  After being here for a month, I think my 10 shirts would have been just fine.

As my bags were checked, it was time to play the waiting game.  While living in Orlando, I had arriving at the airport at just the right time down to an art form.  I knew exactly how long it took for me to get from my office to the place I parked my car, how long the the shuttle ride to the airport was, and how to speed through security by using the old Clear security line (it was sort of hidden) that had become the expert flyer line.  As I was typically flying out on a Friday after lunch I always worked in enough time to grab my standard airport dinner from McDonald’s.  It was a routine that I had perfected and quite enjoyed.  After moving to Kansas City I found myself getting to the airport way earlier than necessary.  I had moved to a city with an airport that serves about 10 million passengers a year from one that serves about 35 million, and I’m getting there twice as early.  Not to mention that every 10 gates or so  in Kansas City has their own dedicated security line.  It makes absolutely no sense, yet I continued to do it time and time again.

So, with time to spare before the flight, I set about knocking off tasks from my ever growing ‘Before I Move To Do List’.  I still don’t think I’ve completed everything on that list, and I’ve already been here a month.  That’s about how my to-do lists go.  Eventually it was time to head to the gate, and get on the plane.

It was the end of March, yet there was still snow on the ground.  I think it was God’s little going away present.  “Hey, you’re headed to a place with no precipitation of any kind and the kind of heat where it’s illegal to make people work outside from 12-3 in the summer, so I’ll go ahead and dump about 24″ of snow on you a few weeks before you leave, and then give you a little more of it just before you leave the country.”  Well, I was glad to be leaving all that mess behind.  If I can’t ski on it, I don’t want to see it.  I won’t have to worry about that for a while at least.

Adios snow

Adios snow

The flight to Charlotte was in domestic first class on an Airbus A320.  I believe some of those US Airways flights to CLT during the day are served by regional jets , so I was happy to be on a bit bigger plane for the 2 hr flight.  I had a coupon for a free 24 hr pass of in flight internet that I received from my Milepoint  premium membership.  It was only a 2 hr flight, and US Airways doesn’t have wifi available on international yet, so it wasn’t the best use of a 24 hr pass.  But if I didn’t use it on that flight then I figured it’d probably expire before I did have the chance to use it.  I killed the time reading blogs and taking advantage of the snacks they offered the first class passengers.  I really should learn to bring my own snacks when flying economy.  It really does make the flight better.  Food makes everything better.  After a fairly uneventful two hour flight I was in Charlotte.

Arriving in Charlotte

Arriving in Charlotte

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