Homeward Journey Starts before 2 am

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
Trip End Jan 25, 2014

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Flag of United States  , New York
Friday, January 24, 2014

I was up and out pretty quickly - Astrid got up and we said our goodbyes.

I felt bad that I hadn't any handy money to tip the poor guy who had to get up to open the door for me to get out.  The taxi ride was not memorable.  The airport procedure annoying.  There was a huge line that inched forward.  At one point an announcement was made for my flight # to go to gate 2.  I went and was turned back since I didn't have a boarding pass yet.  I went back to the check-in counter to find out what I was supposed to do, but the man I asked kept putting me off while he kept taking people from the line.  I asked another one - I think the one who made the announcement.  He started to check me in.  Of course, by this time, there were no window seats so I got middle seats except for the short flight from Dulles to Albany.  The man was very patient and entered my frequent flyer number twice - because he put the wrong number in first - for American instead of United.  I went back to the gate line and was turned back again to get my receipt for the $25 departure fee that I hadn't paid yet.  I finally made it through to the immigration line, then the drug check line (very cursory) and then security where I had to take off my watch and sweater but could leave my hiking boots on and my computer in my daypack.  I finally get to wait in the lounge for a bit before the flight is called.  Hmmm, 24B is in the second to last row.  I was not anticipating a fun trip, but it actually wasn't that bad.  I found I did sleep a bit - even in the middle seat.  Avianca doesn't have great food but it was OK.  I was still thirsty...maybe from trying to drink so much to combat the altitude for so many days now - my body is used to it.

When I got to Bogota, it was like a regular stop.  I had to get off and find my gate for the rest of the flight.  My seat was still the same but the plane configuration was different - more seats - but I was still in the middle.  The lady next to me was very nice when she got off, she started bringing down other people's briefcases and my day pack - just to be helpful.  People were quite polite on that Bogota to Dulles segment.

I tried to call Kara from Dulles airport but no answer.  I looked at some photos on the netbook and read some of my book until the flight was called. 

The hitch at Dulles was that my backpack had only been checked to Dulles even though I had a boarding pass for the flight to Albany.  I had to pay an extra $25 because it was now a domestic flight my bag was checked on.  Only if I had the presence of mind to check that my bag was checked on through my final destination would it be free... despite the fact that my Explorer Mileage Plus card boasts of providing a free checked bag .... only if you use your card to purchase your flight - which I am sure I did but not directly from United or its partner Avianca.  I used to like the United airmiles program but now I am getting thoroughly disgusted with it.  Every time I turn around a so-called benefit does not materialize. Vent, vent....

One plus, though, was the new security pre-check whereby I can go through security with my shoes on, my sweater on and my little liquids and netbook staying in my hand luggage.  This I like!

So with only one leg of my flights in my requested window seat, I walk down the aisle to find a man sitting in my window seat.  I inquire whether he is in the correct row.  He is.  He notes that he has 21B.  Somehow, even though he is there before me and I try to hurry on so I can use the overhead bins (and therefore he probably is a frequent air traveler), he is unaware that 21B would be the aisle seat.  My theory is that he put on the reading light and found it was too dim in his assigned seat, so he took mine.  It is a relatively short flight and since I survived the middle seat for over 7 hrs. of flying (which surprised me), I didn't make him move.  But I did resent him.  The rest of the trip was uneventful and I arrived home to Omar.  Once he noticed I was back, he started meowing extra loudly.  Time to call it a day....
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