The day I left was difficult. It was my flight to go home. Milan Linate airport was super foggy and thus getting the plane to London took some extra time. We left late, delayed the landing, then also delayed our taxi to the gate. It was a rough 4 hours or so.
I tried to find my connection, but alas it wasn’t even on the connections board. I talked to a lady and she told me to stand in this immigration line and rebooking was on the other side. I was constantly updating my parents about my flight and even though it was the middle of the night, my dad was constantly checking his email. He told me that apparently my flight was 2 hours delayed and I might be able to make it. I run to the bus to take me to terminal 3.
I run and approach yet another security check. I anxiously wait and get through it somewhat quickly. I run to the board and I still can’t find my flight. I ask an attendant nearby and he says, “let’s talk to British airways.” He brings me up to a tall British man who I give my boarding pass to. “Unfortunately yes you miss your flight, but I will work to get that all fixed off,” he says as he runs off.
I didn’t even have to wait in any line, but I am just standing there where he once was. I sit down. I’ve had to use the bathroom for a good 3 hours now, along with being dehydrated and I had poured out my water at security. Plus I have gone without a meal for a good 7 hours. The man eventually comes back asking for my passport, he tells me that my flight will be tomorrow and that I’ll be in a hotel tonight. Best news though: it’s a direct flight home.
I wouldn’t be able to appreciate a direct flight as much as I do today. Seeing my hometown on the screen, the thought of doing customs in my own city, and not having to worry about switching to another flight all mean so much more to me.
The hotel they put me in was close to the airport, I got a bus voucher to get me there and back. I also got dinner and breakfast. Dinner was a bunch of fried food, but I could not have been happier. French fries and fish sticks and chicken tenders and more. Fried food: An American’s Dream. The room was pretty quirky as well, and really nice. Having my own double bed and my own cozy little room was so refreshing.
Getting to the airport the next day was also so relaxing. It was nearby, I didn’t have my 2 huge and heavy suitcases, I already had a boarding pass, and security took less than 5 minutes. I got to my gate and it was a short and easy wait for my flight to board.
I hadn’t taken a flight this long before. I think my longest was around 6-7 hours, this one was a solid 10. I tried to sleep, but only got a scattered 3 hours. I was delighted that they fed us, something I honestly did not expect, but looking back I understand it is probably mandatory to do so. I watched 2 movies, played countless games of solitaire, and walked around a couple times. We were in the new Boeing Dreamliners (787), and it made me feel rather fancy.
Customs was also easier itself than I expected. Apparently the Austin airport is special in that you don’t have to fill out any papers because everything is recorded electronically. The process was very simple. While waiting for your bags, go through this line til you get to a machine, scan your passport, answer the prompted questions (which replace the need to fill out the paper form), get a receipt, and have it checked by personnel. They will write a number on it, which corresponds to which line you’ll need to go through once you collect your bags. I finished that first process and waiting on my bags for a bit while longer. Once they were collected, I handed the receipt and my passport to the officer, he asked me if I need to declare anything, to which I answered “no” (an honest no too) and I went out the doors to see my family waiting for me.
My first long-term trip has been a success and it has been so amazing. There are so many things I look forward to and I cannot wait for the future! Adventure awaits!