Opening salvo

London Travel Blog

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I've been doing a lot of this kind of thing in my own personal journal but since that has a fairly limited audience and in many cases the wrong audience (cause many of my friends either don't enjoy travel like I do or can't travel like I have, etc) I decided that perhaps putting my crazy travel information in a more public arena might not be a bad idea.  So this is entry #1 (yikes, that '#' character was awful difficult to find on these english keyboards), not really sure what I am going to talk about but we'll see where things go.

Perhaps a bit of cut and paste from my personal journal...

Picking it up mid-thought.

...I'm not jet lagged all that badly, even if I had a bottle fed four year old in the seat next to me kick me every half hour, making sure that I didn't entertain the notion of getting sleep on the overnight flight. Its my general complaint for the flight that for the most part was rather pleasant. Which was, in general, a good surprise

I did have low expectations though since I was flying Air Canada and my previous flights with them left a lot to be desired. I had resigned myself to a small seat, generally unfriendly customer service, etc. But, as my luck would have it, I was flying a new 777 and while the seat was small it wasn't entirely uncomfortable. I had been able to charm my way out of a middle seat at checkin (usually your punishment for buying last minute besides getting raped on the airfare). I do wish that they had worked out the entertainment system menu a bit better or implemented its features.  No map, which is a major negatie and no easy to find button that would turn off the screen in front of you (or that of your neighbour's). I'm one of those people that has a hard time falling asleep with lights all around. Esp lights that change all the time .. Anyway, AC still gets my second place award for airline with the smallest amount of room between seats (seat pitch) of any airline I've flown.   They still don't have what it takes though to be Lufthansa though, where after my flight from Bangkok to Frankfurt I sent a note off to my travel agent saying that if I ever suggested to willingly take a Lufthansa long haul flight that she had my permission to shoot me.  The only thing that would have made that flight worse would be if I had to have flown it in a middle seat, which they almost had me doing.

The Air Canada lounge in Pearson (Toronto) rocks though. One of the best I've been in.  That and Air New Zealand lounge in Auckland are probably on my short list of places I wouldn't mind being stranded in. Actually, Pearson Intl airport as a whole is really nice.  As I wandered around a bit, the place just felt new. Probably as new as Buffalo's terminal (which is about 10 or so years old now I'd wager but still looks really nice) but about 10x larger.  I was thinking, if they had a decent system set up where you could shuttle people from buffalo to toronto, you could probably make it the international hub of not only upper canada but the western new york region as well.  I mean, honestly, I'd rather fly direct into London than to spend an hour on-route to DC and 3 hours in layover. It'd be so nice to just hop a train, hit up TO, spend some time there and fly out... I dunno. Its the things you think about when you're waiting for your plane or just enjoying a bit of different scenery. Because of my status on united and my desire to keep that status, I have flown through Chicago and DC enough to basically hate both airports. Both of them are huge and lacking in all kinds of things. I mean, honestly, the big deal in DC is that there is a wendy's and it has a boutique wine shop (very new and nice).  The rest of the airport is drab and soulless.  Chicago is just big. You'd think though, that because it's big, that means that you'd have a plethora of options for duty free or shopping in general or food and you'd be very wrong.  You have a number of fast food options and I think a few more interesting things have recently opened up (I've been avoiding Chicago like the plague since every time I go through there I'm delayed or there's horrible weather, etc) but in general, its not nearly as nice an airport as Philly or Pearson.

Other things I was thinking about was the new Airbus A380 planes. The gigantic super jumbo passenger disaster that airlines are picking up for their long haul routes since it will carry something on the order of 800+ people.  I can't ever imagine wanting to fly one and it strikes me as odd that some people are very keen on it (I read a lot of travel oriented stuff).  I was really thinking about it when we were waiting for ground staff to figure out how to operate the gangplank that connects the plane to the terminal after we arrived in London.  It took them better than 5 minutes to actually get to the point of allowing us off the plane.  After a seven hour flight, the last thing you want to do is wait unnecessarily.  I was thinking, what would it be like to be the last person off one of those planes?  I mean, you'd honestly probably wait about 30 minutes before you were able to breathe non-recycled air.  This doesn't even begin to address things like emergencies or the amount of baggage you might have to wait through if your bag was unlucky enough to be the first one in the hold and the last one out.  I suppose most people don't fly all that much that it is really a concern for them, which is probably why southwest still does a brisk business.  For some its about the cost and only the cost and while I am cost conscious, I will spend a bit more so that my knees are not in my ears amongst other things (allowing me to get my status helps too since I'm able to use the lounges and have ff miles that I can use for friends and family for various things, etc).

Anyway, I am sure that things will progress here as I start to dump some of the various bits of knowledge I've picked up through my many travels here...

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photo by: ulysses