2009 TRIP TO ENGLAND, by Colin L. Miller

Intro May 28 May 29 May 30 May 31 June 01 June 02 June 03 June 04 June 05 June 06 June 07 June 08 June 09 June 10 June 11 June 12 June 13 Expense Report

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I got up at 6:30 AM. I then went downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. At 7:45 I dropped the keycard in the fast checkout box and hauled my stuff to the nearby Underground Charing Cross station. I took the Bakerloo Line north to Picadilly Circus, and then transferred to the train for Heathrow Terminal 4.

At 9:00 AM, I was back at the Terminal 4 station where my London travels began. I checked the balance on the OysterCard: 5.50. That 20.00 goes a long way! I also checked my cell phone balance via free text message: 17. I then went upstairs to the main terminal area and exchanged 195.93 for $345.07. Next was the pre-security & check-in. At a self-serve unit, I got my boarding passes before going through security and onto the Gate 2 area of Terminal 4. At a nearby gate were one of those huge Airbus A-380 planes. I also saw one heading in for a landing while I was walking through Hyde Park yesterday. After wandering around and killing some time, I used my credit card to get a water bottle and some snacks (since I'd cashed in all my British money).

Finally, at 11:20 AM, I was on Continental Flight 5, a Boeing 777-200ER. This time, when boarding completed, the two seats next to my aisle seat remained empty, so I claimed the window and another passenger took the aisle, with the middle seat empty. Since I now had a good view, I took some pics and short videos of the scenery. The flight back was more comfortable, except for my allergy. My nose was runny the entire way home.

View of Windsor and Windsor Castle

View of Wallingford, Oxfordshire

View of Killybegs, Donegal, Ireland

Somewhere over Quebec, Canada

I got off the plane in Houston at 4:10 PM CDT. For most of the way, we tracked with the sun before heading south and letting the sun get ahead. The airport was hot and humid, with a long walk through corridors and down stairs before arriving at the passport & customs check in the baggage claim area. They X-rayed my stuff and sent me on. Since this was in the baggage claim area, I had to go through security again (where I had to ditch my dangerous bottle of water). Upstairs, I took the tram back to the other terminal. When I finally arrived, I checked the status boards and discovered a flight for Tucson would depart in about an hour. I went to a gate area service desk and got a stand-by boarding pass. I made my way through the terminal and down to the far end of the commuter jet terminal wing. I waited and tried to cool down as the jet boarded. Then they called for stand-bys. One passenger needed two seats, but there was only one, so the next one on the list was called: me. I got the seat and I hurried down another long walkway. A cart driver intercepted me and took me quickly to the boarding gate. I dropped my carry-on by the boarding stairs and took my seat. This has saved me three hours of waiting!

Just before landing in Houston, the seatback video screen showed this flight path.

At 6:30 PM I got off the plane in Tucson. With no bags to claim, I headed out to the parking shuttle van area outside the terminal building. I was the only passenger again, and so I quickly arrived at my parking spot. After calling home, I hit the road for Sierra Vista, and I arrived at 8:00 PM, trip complete.

Total trip cost: $6,145.33. When vacation benefits, gifts, etc., are included, the cost decreases to about $4,095. (See Expense Report).

From flightaware.com, Details for Flight 5 from LRH to IAH, and Flight 2836 from IAH to TUS

Intro May 28 May 29 May 30 May 31 June 01 June 02 June 03 June 04 June 05 June 06 June 07 June 08 June 09 June 10 June 11 June 12 June 13 Expense Report