Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 1: MCI - CLT - IAD

 Due to the Memorial Day holiday, we got off work at 3:30 on Friday.  Thank goodness.   I was getting pretty stressted about getting off at 4, driving 15 minutes home to change clothes, then driving 35 minutes to the airport.  It would have been cutting it close for 6:15 flight.  And with all my luggage, including the THREE giant bags I wanted to check all the way through to Ethiopia, let's just say the extra 30 minutes was welcomed.

Outside of MCI - trying not to cry...
Matt met me at my house to take me to the airport. Commence crying as soon as I saw him. Ha, I'm pathetic, I know. I did pretty well all day.  But leaving the second time wasn't any easier than the first! I think I held it together for all of two minutes...

I managed to change clothes and grab my little bag, and we took off. I loaded everything else in his car the night before so we wouldn't have to deal with it if time was an issue. He even let me drive to try and keep my mind off leaving. And played super fun Matt & Kim music and danced around in the car to  make me smile. It didn't work. I still cried the whole way...while trying to drive.  Bad decision. ;)

We made it to the airport around 4:15 and said a quick goodbye in the car. (I'm practically sobbing at this point and looked like such a disaster! I don't know how he puts up with me!) We got all the bags out on the sidewalk for a quick picture and devised a plan to get them inside. There was absolutely no way I was carrying 150 pounds of luggage on top of my two carry-one. It jut wasn't happening.  So I somehow finagled my way in with my backpack on my back, my smaller bag around my neck, the giant black duffle bag on one arm, and dragging one big blue container, which was hitting my foot with every other step. I bet I looked pretty awesome. ;) Matt left his car on the curb and quickly drug the other blue container inside for me. And no line at US Airways! I didn't have to wait at all. Well...kind of...

 The first lady I talked to didn't know how to check bags for international flights. Neither did the lady next to her. Apparently not many people fly on US Airways international airline partners from KC? The real issue I guess was that they didn't know how much to charge me for three bags. Or how to tag them. 1 kept trying to tell them they didn't have to charge me anything to keep it simple. :) I pushed for them to waive a bag fee for mission work with kids in Africa. I pulled every card I could think of, haha. Hey, it worked last time. No harm in trying again. Long story short, three people and 45 minutes later, they only charged me $130 to get my three bags from KC to Addis Ababa. It got to the point where it was either pay that, or I could pick them all up in Washington / Dulles tonight and pay another $150 in the morning to Ethiopian Airlines. No way was I dealing with those bags two more times.  I took the first option. :)

So remember how I said thank goodness we got off work early? Yea, that's why. If we would have pulled up to the airport around 5 like we had planned, I literally would have cried. Because by that time, the line to check in was all the way down the corridor. No joke.  I would have missed my flight easily.

Oh, and I was spot on with the weights of the bags! One was 48.5 pounds, one was exactly 50, and the third was 50.05! That's some good packing! And talk about cutting it close! I don't think I could have squeezed one more thing in anywhere. It all worked out perfectly! 

I got through security with no problem, went to the bathroom, and grabbed a couple snacks for dinner. Wait, make that lunch and dinner. I was so stressed out all day that I didn't even eat lunch. Unless you count a couple of crackers from my co-worker. So my airport lunch/dinner consisted of a bag of BBQ chips, and peanut butter cliff bar, some chewy sprees and a bottle of water. So healthy. 

I called Matt once I got settled by the gate, and ate my food. Didn't have too long to sit before they started boarding for my first flight of the night: MCI - CLT (Charlotte).  

My seat was towards the front of the plane, which meant I boarded in the last group. Which also meant there probably wouldn't be any overhead bin space left for my giant backpack. I decided to just wait until last to board and had swallowed the fact that I would have to gate check my precious bag. (Not a fan of that.) 

With only 4 or 5 people behind me, they had already announced that if your bag didn't fit under the seat in front of you, you would have to check it. Go figure. But when I got up to the lady, she asked if I had a bag to check. I turned sideways so she could see the big thing on my back and smiled. Surprisingly, she smiled back and said, "Do you want to see if you can find a spot for that on the plane?" :) I still didn't have much hope walking on the plane, but sure enough, right above the row in front of me was an entire empty overhead bin. Practically all of the other ones were shut already because they were full. Score for me! 

The 2 hour flight in to Charlotte was on time and pretty uneventful. I had a window seat and the guy next to me was sleeping. So not much to do except stare at the awesome pictures Matt sent with me in the card he gave me in the car. I haven't been able to read the whole letter yet. I start crying every time I try! But the pictures are some that Shauna took of us earlier in the week, and I LOVE them!! He apparently sweet talked her in to printing a couple of for me, and I'm so glad she did! They will keep me smiling for sure over the next 10 days!

We landed in Charlotte around 9:30. Plenty of time for a bathroom break in between shuffling gates. I grabbed an italian flat  bread sandwhich from Quiznos that was oh-so-greasy and oh-so-good! I really wanted some Greek frozen yogurt, too, but didn't want to wait in the giant line... I settled for some candy I had in my bag instead. :)

I also called to confirm a hotel reservation at Hampton Inn  for the night, and they said they have a free shuttle 24 hours a day! I could sleep at the airport, and would if I hadn't got this deal for free through my travel agent. But why not take advantage of a nice bed and one more shower before I take off in the morning?!

On to flight number two: 1 hour flying time CLT - IAD (Washington DC).  It was a tiny airplane. The ones you have to walk outside and up the stairs to the plane. I was happy to see my two big blue tubs and black duffle bag sitting on the tarmac though! :) But no way was my backpack fitting in those overheads.  Not a chance.  Luckily I could shove it underneath the seats in front of me. It took up both sides, but the nice lady next to me didn't mind. Score again for not having to gate check at all today! 

It was a quick flight. Landed in DC and called the hotel right away to get the shuttle heading my way. No bags for me to pick up tonight! Of course I walked the wrong way, then ended up trying to run back to the opposite end of ground transportation so I didn't miss it. Running with this backpack jiggling up and down has to be a sight to see. But I made it.  

I'm in my room now and I'm still going to try to stay up as long as I can.  My alarm is set really early so I can get a quick jog in (maybe) and eat some breakfast before heading back to the airport.  But this big bed is looking mighty comfy. It might be a struggle... We'll see how long I make it!

The bed in my hotel room in Washington DC

More to come tomorrow!


Sent from my iPhone

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