So as of Saturday we had our apartment and I'd scored plane tickets on Friday. The only date we could fly for a reasonable price was Sunday morning returning on Sept 2nd. If I wanted to fly on any other day it was going to cost me $2400 more for the 4 of us. That gave us one day to get ready, pack and to get as much work done as possible. I went to work while the kids packed the bags and made a list of things we needed. Things didn't go as well as planned at work and I left at 3:30 am and headed straight to Wallyworld to pick up what we needed for the trip. I left Walmart at 4:45, got home at 5 and woke everyone up. I finished packing at 6:00 and our friend Mo showed up to drive us to the airport.
We meandered toward Sea-tac airport at a comfortable pace but I wasn't worried as according to my calculations we would have 1hr 45min to get through security, get something to eat and board the plane. They recommend 2 hrs for international flights but we've squeezed this plenty of times before. On arrival to the airport we realized we didn't grab our daybag. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but this time in order to speed up our passage through security I put our boarding passes and passports in the daybag.
We really had no other choice but to make a mad dash back home to get them. It takes 45 minutes one way and we now had 90 before the plane left the ground. Boarding time was in 1 hr. Mo drove like a crazy lady back to our place narrowly missing a ticket and I switched places with her and drove back to save our sanity and possibly lessen the chance of getting pulled over. We did drove home and back in 1hr flat, keep in mind it takes 45 minutes one way driving the speed limit. We arrived 5 minutes after the plane started to board and 25 minutes before it took off. We ran past the ticket counter (always print out boarding passes!) and straight to security. Our plan to speed up our passage through security by going into two lanes was foiled by the TSA security agent holding up Natalya and Piper until I could come through with the boarding passes. Thankfully our gate was immediately on the other side of security so we showed up right as the last passengers boarded.
None of us had eaten and there was no chance of picking someting up in the airport but I wasn't worried because even though food is no longer supplied on domestic flights it is available for purchase, we'd just have to swallow the $7 per crappy sandwich for our mistake. The airlines are hurting so bad that they really need the planes full so our airplane that we rushed for sat on the ground for one hour waiting for 28 passengers to arrive. Had we known that we could have been 4 of those passengers and we could have eaten a nice liesurly breakfast. The captain told us not to worry because of a tail wind we'd be coming in on time. Once under way they announced they had food for sale for an ungodly sum and the food cart went up the aisle only to return a few minutes later empty. US Airways is selling food now as apposed to giving it away to cover costs but appartently someone in accounting doesn't have the brains to know that if you want to sell something you should probably bring it on the plane. I think about 16 people at out of the 160 on board. We were in the back of the plane so had no chance at all. We paid for water (yes you have to pay for water!) and ate beef jerkey that I picked up at Walmart. It makes me wonder what would happen if you got on a 5 hour flight like ours with no cash. Would they actually deny you such a basic necessity as water? I see lawsuits coming.
Our plane that was supposed to arrive on time arrived an hour late (who could have predicted that?) which gave us 15 minutes to get between terminal buildings so we ran. We arrived to find an empty waiting room and the plane still on the ground. According to my watch it wasn't pulling out for another 7 minutes so we went to a Japanese restaurant and got some chicken and rice. By then none of had eaten in 24 hrs and I wasn't leaving anything to chance when dealing with US Airways. We were the last people on the plane (food in hand) and started eating immediately. I don't really like Japanese food but I can't remember a time when it tasted so good. We smelled up the plane and had the mostly French crowd looking around wondering what that stench was. Within about 30 minutes US Airways served us the worst meal I'd ever recieved on an airplane which we ate a little of and threw the rest out. I was so glad we stopped for food in the airport. The plane was an Airbus A330 which are usually very comfortable but this time we got in the pinched tail section and had very little legroom and the seats barely reclined but we slept nonetheless.
We have a system to avoid Jet Lag that works perfect for us. We pick planes that leave the west coast in the early morning and have a connection on the east coast. It's best to have the connection in the second or third time zone going east but not as far as NY or DC. We cannot under any circumstances sleep on the first plane. When we land for our connection we eat "dinner", watch one movie and go to sleep until morning. We eat breakfast on the plane and walk off at about 8 am feeling like we're in our own timezone. We suffer very little jet lag because of this system. Coming back we get tickets that leave Europe in the early after noon. We get up really early, eat breakfast then go to the airport around noon when we eat our second meal. Once boarded we eat what they give us and go to sleep. At landing we eat breakfast and board the second plane where we don't sleep at all. We land in Seattle at around midnight ready to go to bed like usual. Voila! no jetlag. It works like a charm.
For breakfast US Airways served us a packaged sweet roll and water. No kidding! Our $1200 tickets got us a 50 cent pastry. At 8am we land in Paris. This is the first time we have landed directly in our destination city. We usually go to London or this last year Brussels to save money and then transport to Paris the cheapest way possible. In the past I've saved $500 a ticket after local transport going to Paris using this method. This year the cheapest ticket was straight into Paris so I took it.