Alaska Day 1 - A stressfull flight with a detour
Houston - George Bush Airport Travel Blog› entry 703 of 1090 › view all entries
OK! I had some nice tours this year! Caribbean Curaçao, Acadian Maine, vacational Netherlands, cultural Washington, and business trip Netherlands. But a longer more substantial vacation had not been on the agenda yet. That would change today! Because I am going to the largest state of the US, Alaska!
Before I start writing my travel experiences here some juice details about this amazing state:
- The 49th state to join the Union, 47 years after Arizona and 6 months before Hawaii
- Like Hawaii not bordering any of the 48 lower states, one has to drive through Canada) to get there by car
- The biggest state.
- Alaska superimposed over the lower 40 states is almost a north-south and east-west fit for the extreme borders
- One of the least populated states: If Netherlands had the same density there would live only 15,820 persons. For Manhattan that would be 28 persons
- Used to be Russian Territory. It was purchased from Russia in 1867 for 7.2 million USD.
- Russia is only 55 miles (89 km) away from the west boundary
- Has more than 10,000 glaciers. One of them is larger than the state of Rhodes Island
- Has no sales tax! Oil production is a great source of income
- The Alaskan Caribou population is about twice as large as the human population
- Has a time difference of 4 hours with New York and 10 hours with The Netherlands
- Has many regions that cannot be reached by car.
- The main mode of transport for Alaskans is small planes, rather than Automobiles
- Houses the largest National Park of the USA. Wrangel-St. Elias NP is larger than Switzerland
- Is a great vacation destination!!!!
My former colleague Stephan, with whom I have traveled a lot in the USA suggested we should make a trip to Alaska. Since I live in New York now I thought the flight to Anchorage would not be too far and besides that, I would now have only a 4-hour jetlag. So it seemed a great plan. At that time I did not know yet that I had to go to the Netherlands for business so close to my departure. And the short flight did not work out that great either. The cheapest option to Anchorage was flying via.... Houston Texas!!! This made it a 1421+3272=4693-mile (2287+5265=7552km) trip! If I had flown directly from Amsterdam it would have been 4474 miles (7200 km). Stephan was flying in via Chicago and Denver, beating me by 2762 extra miles.
It looked very relaxed. My flight was at 10:30am from LaGuardia Airport, my favorite. I would have an overlay of 2 hours in Houston. Very easy! But,... at LaGuardia I was told that my plane to Houston would have a delay of 30 minutes. This delay grew to one hour, and during that hour a huge storm passed by. By the time we were pushed back from the gate the airport was closed and there were 35 planes in front of us. We stood on the tarmac for at least one hour. It would be a very close connection.
We landed at 15:05 in Houston, my connecting plane would leave at 15:15.... It took ages before the people in front of me left the plane. I exited the plane at 15:30 and decided to just give it a try and RUSHED to the neighboring terminal. I RACED like a madman. TSA employees, stewardesses, pilots, and other persons on the escalator belts jumped aside, at some point I noticed I was running right through a luxury shop to cut a corner.
The long flight northbound gave me some stunning views on the Rocky Mountains and Canada. As well on the Chugach Mountains around Anchorage. At 20:17 my plane touched down, about 16 hours after I stepped into the elevator of my apartment to go to the airport. And the biggest surprise of all, even my suitcase had made the tight connection at Houston.
By the time I had everything sorted out it was less than a one-hour wait for Stephan's plane to arrive from Denver. I decided to have dinner at the airport and to do some research like visiting the tourist info, claiming a baggage cart, and finding the car rental. Stephan arrived, more or less zombie-like and off we went in our free upgrade Chevrolet Malibu, to our Motel 6 hotel in Anchorage.
Quite a start of the vacation!