October 24, 2018

Long Day to Barcelona

I easily finish packing on Sunday. It probably is a good thing I use a list.  From Q-tips to razor blades and just in case I need it, band aids and a mini sewing kit, my list has nearly 150 different items. 8 pair of socks count as 1 item, not 8!  Without a list I am sure I would miss a few items, and probably something important like shirts or a pair of shoes.

My son, Scott, arrives early to take me to the airport. Arriving early is a rare event for him. Maybe its him becoming a father that has changed his ways. As a parent I can always remain hopeful can't I?  The daughters arrival prevented Scott from taking the trip with his sisters to Egypt, but that was the original plan, His loss, but my gain. While I'm gone he is going to do some upgrades to my computer. A minimal return on the years of college expenses.

I breeze through check in and security fairly easily at Orlando. Being a known traveler with a global entry card helped a lot, I can wear my shoes and belt and wouldn't have to open my laptop, that is if I had one. Of course I need to go to a different location because of all my new parts.  I still walked through one of the metal detectors, but one they deem safe for passengers like me.  I actually saw the display screen and found it quite interesting.  A faint image of me superimposed with white rectangles wherever the machine detected metal. For me that was most of my body from my knees to my neck. A quick pat down and I was on my way.

The plane was full, and overhead storage quickly filled up. It appeared that many passengers were carrying more than the one allowed carry on.

The fruit and cheese "snack" could have been described as a full meal. Two types of cheese, almonds, prosciutto, grapes, crackers, strawberries, apricots, crackers, and a dark chocolate square. Beer, wine, cocktails, or soft drinks, I settled for a glass of club soda. First class does take some of the pain out of air travel.

The plane arrives about 15 minutes late in Newark. It is a long haul to luggage, the train, and then on to terminal "B". Signs and directions are sparse, and everything is very busy. I have use of a lounge with my ticket to Barcelona. I know it is in B, but it is not shown on the information signs. Google maps reveals it is 100 feet down the corridor.

I have to have a boarding pass for access, but wasn't able to get one on line before I left home.  There is a bank of 15 kiosks, they are not busy, I try the first, the screen freezes before I can enter any information.  Having lots of time, and not being able to get into the lounge without a boarding pass I try the next kiosk, and the next, and...., finally on the fifth success! A luggage tag and boarding pass.

Entry to the lounge is granted. This is not a luxury I usually have, so I have nothing to compare with but listening to other passengers this is the pits.  I don't know, a soft seat, free beer, wine, and soft drinks, sandwiches and a couple of hot foods is better than sitting at the gate.  No the AC doesn't work, and in general it is kind of grungy. I have been here about 2 hours, nearly every seat is occupied, and other than the host when I checked in I have yet to hear a word of English.

In another 30 minutes I will check my luggage at the counter when it opens and head towards the gate.

The stop at the counter was brief, not so for TSA. Global entry was of no value. Finally an hour and a half later I am on my way to the gate with almost an hour to spare before boarding for our 11 PM departure. Not first class but "Premium" as it is called on Norwegian Shuttle Airlines. The seats are supposed to recline to  nearly flat. Sleep is the plan.