7 Things · Travels · US 2012

How to board a freaking plane!

This is for everyone that will ever transport themselves from one place to another in something we call an airplane.

There are quite often plenty of people who are getting on the same plane as you, and to be honest there are smart ways to board a plane and there are less smarter ways to board a plane. So when the nice ground staff calls out that it is time to start boarding and that anyone with small children are welcome first, we all sit there crossing our fingers that no one will show up, as we all want children free flights.

After that, or at the same time as that we have first class, business and all those with flashy frequent flyer cards – no, none of us like them. It’s we against them, of course the day we are them then it’s we against the other them, you know the them that used to be us.

And then, after all that it is the rest of us and here come the best part:

CHAOS!

Unless you are flying with some cheap 5th class airline, you will have a numbered seat. If you are at the gate on time the aircraft will not depart without you. If for some reason you are the last person to board the flight and there’s no place for your carry-on, the crew will not make you leave it they will sort things out for you. So when the ground staff announce boarding for the last ten rows, you aren’t doing anyone a favour by thinking you are smart sneaking in early when you are sitting in the first ten rows of economy class.

Firstly, everyone will notice because you will stop in the middle of the aisle, take forever to get your bag up in the overhead locker and then still stand there while you are taking our jacket off. In the mean time, all the people who are actually sitting in the last ten rows of the plane is standing behind you waiting to get past and seated.

At the same time the staff at the gate figure that the people for the back of the plane has now made it so far back that they can let on the people for the middle part of the plane. Unfortunately some smart person delayed the first ten rows so now the second group of ten rows is also delayed and if one is really lucky there’s some smart arse with the second batch as well and thus the line is stuck outside the plane and the boarding take forever.

So how do you board the plane?

  1. Be on time at the airport so you don’t have to piss of your fellow travellers by getting ahead in security (pay for business or become a frequent flyer for this kind of behaviour).
  2. Be on time at the gate. If the bar you are in doesn’t have speakers, set your alarm for when boarding is about to start. If you want to shop, take the stores that are in the same direction as your gate, this to save yourself from being on the other side of the very large airport when it’s time to board.
  3. When boarding starts, wait for your turn to board. Don’t start lining up before the boarding call is made, this will just annoy you when so many other people get to board ahead of you and suddenly you feel entitled to sneak on early.
  4. Once on the plane, try to move away from the aisle towards the windows, this way the people behind you can get past you and further into the plane.
  5. Don’t bring a carry-on that is heavier than what you can lift. If you have to stand in the middle of the plane looking sad and small to get someone to lift the bag up for you, then you packed too much and are probably in the way.
  6. If you have the outer seat, there are two empty seats next to you, plenty of people on the plane, then don’t sit down, put your seatbelt on and fall asleep until those two seats are filled and boarding completed. Waking up strangers are never fun.
  7. Just don’t be in the way.

It was nice to get all that frustration out, thank you for reading and have a happy boarding the next time you are flying.

Travels · US 2012

I guess what you can call an American castle

Saturday morning I find myself waking up in the big Americas, Charlotte to be more precise, and I know I have an exciting day in front of me as it is road trip day! We started the day with something that I have had cravings for since the last time I was here; breakfast at Cracker Barrel! I just love their food, and I would say I pretty much devoured it (that’s what a full day on airplane food does to you);

 

 

 

 

 

It tasted as good as it did the last time!

As we hit the road, we do it in style like all ladies do, and yes the top was down during large parts of the trip, why? Because I’m no longer in cold Scandinavia where you need shoes, socks, jackets and hats to not freeze, oh why can’t life always be like vacation?The destination of the day was a place called Asheville (not to confuse with CastleVille) about two hours drive from Charlotte and a large house called Biltmore.

The Biltmore was built by George W. Vanderbilt from the very rich Vanderbilt family (here I will now attempt to give some facts about the same, please correct me if I’m wrong) that managed to make loads of money on mainly steamboats and railroads. He decided to use some of all the money that his family made on building a very large house called the Biltmore, which is the largest home in the USA and was completed in 1895.

We went on what was called the architectural tour, which takes you up on the roof where we got to see some more of the amazing view from the building. Seeing the house and it’s surroundings I seriously wish that I was rich! These are some of the pictures, I might publish some more later on.

After the guided tour we walked around in the building, in the parts open for public, and of course you are not allowed to take any pictures. The place is amazing though with all the different bedrooms and living areas, libraries and gym. In the basement there is even a pool. Since I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures I am now on the hunt for a book that contains good pictures from inside the building, not the guide book that they sell at the house but more of a photo book, so if anyone heard of a good let me know.

Rather than driving back down to Charlotte in the evening, we spent the night at a hotel in Asheville. A small tip, if a hotel states that they have an inside pool, check what time they close it! This one closed at seven pm, we didn’t even have time to go check it out. What the hotel did have that was good, was the shuttle service to downtown Asheville, so after getting acquainted with the hotel room we left for downtown dinner, shopping and maybe a drink or two.

 

We started with walking around looking for a restaurant and stumbled over a really nice tapas place called Zambra, and seriously if you ever pass by this part of the world, go there for dinner. Their tapas were to die for and both of us wished we could eat more than we did. Below you can see the Turnip soup and the Sesame crusted scallops, unfortunately the pictures of the spring rolls didn’t come out, they were the best thing of all the items we tried.

 

 

 

 

 

When we left the restaurant I managed to find a shop that was still open so I accidentally happened to buy a couple of pairs of shoes, a hat and two tops – oops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening ended in a place called the Asheville Yacht Club, membership required but oh so worth it. Nice staff, nice drinks and fun people, good thing that the hotel had a shuttle service, we needed it!

Travels · US 2012

It happened a Friday

At 6am Friday morning my flight was due to leave from Copenhagen airport, the flight did and I was on it. I have to admit that I was nervous about making the flight with the whole have to be at the airport at 5am, that was the 4:33 train from home. I decided against going to sleep at all and choose to spend the night with some nice generous Danish dudes that bought me beer and declared their undying love to me.

I had a quick nap at the gate, and the moment I sat down in my chair on the plane I fell asleep and didn’t wake up again until we touched down in Amsterdam, the best way of flying ever.

I do like the airport in Amsterdam, there is so much to do there, loads of stores and what we smokers call “heaven” i.e. the smoking rooms. Outside one of them I ran in to a very familiar face as Miss America was returning to Copenhagen from my destination, even if it was short meeting not long before I had to board my next flight, it’s always nice with some company. The guy checking my passport was also nice enough to give me a stamp in it, after I asked with the comment that it is new and kind of empty.

The boarding procedure for a flight to the big Americas is kind of crazy, standing in line waiting for some guy asking me five million questions and a second ID. I have a feeling that the second ID question will be asked more times with this passport as the Swedish passport authorities have managed to make the picture in my passport look nothing like me. It’s funny that they ask all these questions before you get on the plane, knowing that I will have to answer them all again when I reach the other side.

Because of all the additional security the boarding starts way before the flight is due to leave, which give you a long wait in a limited space with loads of people and not much to do. I’m at this point still very tired due to the lack of sleep, I still manage to read without falling asleep and made progress on my 50 shades book (more on that one later).

Finally on the plane, I end up to one of those people who doesn’t really get that headphones, a book and on and off sleeping mean that you aren’t really interested in talking to the person next to you, thus he continued to talk to me through out the trip. Well it was more bragging about all the places that he had been to, and he did made me smile because whenever I mentioned that I been there to or that I had been to places that he hadn’t; he changed the subject. I think I managed to sleep during most of the eight-hour trip and in between re-watched The Hunger games and some crappy TV shows.

Reaching Detroit it was time for immigration and customs. Immigration was easy, they ask all the standard questions and then let me in, the good thing about being Swedish. Customs however was a bit strange, the guy sent me down to where the check your declared goods, which I had none. I don’t know why he sent me down there, neither did the three guys that checked my bag. They did flirt with me tough so good for my ego.

At this time I was very happy that I only brought a carry on as not having to wait for my luggage in order to check it back in gave me enough time to sneak outside for a smoke before going through security and jump on the next flight that would take me to my final destination. Doing this took me to my gate pretty much on time for boarding and now there was only one hour and twenty minutes left until I was there.

The flight wasn’t very full so I got to have an empty space next to me, and the lady sitting at the outer seat wasn’t to keen on talking, so nice and peaceful. Until this point in time all the flights have departed on time and arrived on time, a very smooth trip with just about right amount of times in the airports. Reaching Charlotte, the plane landed on time however there was another plane still at our gate. Sitting in a parked plane just outside the airport where you know a good friend is waiting for you, for 30 minutes is not that much fun.

We did make it in the end, and after a very long day I finally arrived at my destination. I left Copenhagen at 6am in the morning and arrived in Charlotte at 6pm local time, midnight in Copenhagen. Guess that’s what you call a long day, but hey it’s worth it!