Fired up and ready to go!!

Trip Start May 02, 2012
Trip End May 16, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

After a relatively short wait from the time we booked this journey until departure day, finally, our carry-on baggage was packed, the cab was in the driveway and we were on our way to the airport. I am not going to give an airport blow by blow but I do want to start out with a couple of comments and then that just about all all I am going to say about the worst part of overseas travel--airlines and airports.

I was very happy to book our flights through Viking as part of the package. The airfare was better than I could have done on my own and it included transfers. We paid for 'Custom Air' so that we could have some say in our flight times to avoid pre-dawn rides to the airport or arriving at the ship after dinner on arrival day. (FYI, 'Custom Air' on Viking is just the ability to talk about the flights and perhaps make some changes; it doesn't mean that you can choose any flights you want).

I did the research and decided that it was best to arrive in Odessa on the 1:40 pm flight from Vienna; Viking was able to accommodate. We flew from Boston to Dulles to Vienna to Odessa. In retrospect, we should have asked for an earlier fight out of Boston because our flight was late in leaving Boston and the Vienna flight was boarding by the time we reached the gate--not giving us time to stop for a snack to carry on or a visit to the facilities. Boston was unable to give us our boarding pass for the Odessa flight and we had to get that taken care of before we boarded at Dulles. At least we knew that our luggage had made it on to the flight.

I took a sleeping pill and slept most of the way over. I do not remember the flight or the food. Making the connection in Vienna was not a problem and already we were starting to see Viking passengers, with their bright red luggage tags or Viking issued document covers. There was no passport control in Vienna but we did have to go through a security check point to get to our gate. No jetways for our flight; we took buses from the gate to where our plane was parked on the field. Before long, we were on the plane and in the air on our way to Odessa.

Details: We flew United to Dulles, Austrian Airlines to Vienna and Ukrainian Airlines into Odessa. To get home, we were booked on Lufthansa, Kiev to Frankfurt to Boston. They are all part of the Star Alliance. Frequent flyers mile awards are not available for all legs of the journey and in fact we were able to get them only for our Boston to Dulles flight. Miles are awarded according to the rules of the carrying airline and are based on the class of ticket; within in the alliance different airlines have different rules. I will tell you about our flights home in the last chapter; it was to say the least, an experience.

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