The Airport Times
Trip Start Nov 22, 2010
13Trip End Dec 14, 2010
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I'm going to break this blog entry up into sections as i have time to post them, as obviously there's quite a lot to do and I don't want to leave everything too late and miss a blog update. We left the hotel at 11:30am via taxi after learning the shuttle is $6 each (so $18 for the 3 of us) or a $10 taxi ride. We chose the latter :P
We hired a luggage trolley for $4 (sheesh!) and stacked our bags on top. We've managed to find the right check-in counter, but unfortunately it was unmanned. In order to waste some time, I whipped out my iPad to surf Facebook and make a blog update. Some staff are now populating the counters, so I assume we'll go through all the security soon :)
Hectic hectic hectic! Lots of things went wrong and yet everything is still on track. We first lined up in the Business check-in line (we were prompted to go to desks 8-18 which was business), the line was so quick we decided to just attempt to check-in (who knows, it could have worked). We were then told we had to apply to a website "ESTA" which grants us permission to fly on a plane to USA, something our travel agent failed to mention.
The economy check-in line was so long we decided to apply on ESTA on my iPad while in the line, hoping we finished before being served. Only Z and I had to do it as my dad is an American citizen, and each application is US$14. Thanks to my smashing computer skills (lol) I was able to complete both applications about 3 minutes before being served.
While checking in we had quite a few hiccups. Our travel agent had messed up our names on the form which our check-in agent changed for us before notifying us that we had been placed on an illegal connection to Houston (i.e. they didn't leave us enough time to depart the plane and connect to Houston) which they changed for us. The agent was incredibly friendly and moved us to a flight 30 minutes later with no fee and even gave us tickets to the express line through customs (no wait at all) for "making us wait". One thing I can say is that I *definitely* recommend United Airlines for international flights =)
Apart from that, the only hassle was finding food. We could see a big food court on the other side of some big glass windows but we were unable to find it. As it turns out, it's for people who haven't checked in yet, though we were able to munch on some "maccas" (or McDonalds for those who don't know what I'm talking about). It's now less than an hour until our flight starts boarding, it was certainly different from the "sitting here for 3 hours being bored" scenario that I thought would occur!
This is most likely my last update before I change countries, it's quite exciting to already be hearing foreign accents around us. I'd definitely say Australian is the least common I've heard so far, so perhaps the strong Australian dollar hasn't forced Aussies out the door and overseas just yet.