This is the continuation to the blog series of USA Trip. In the previous post we finally conquered all the hurdles of VISA and travel preparation. But the adventure did not end there. Travel was one of the most interesting as well as difficult part of the entire journey.
The Original Itinerary
As already mentioned, the Linux Foundation team arranged all the travel plans. I had to reach Portland via two connected British Airways Flight, from Hyderabad to London to Seattle. I had to depart at 7:20 in the morning. From Seattle, an Alaska Airlines flight to Portland and the total travel time was about 25 hours. It seemed a bit more but I was okay with it.
The Itinerary Shift
I was all set the evening before when I saw something alarming. We had a layoff of about 2 hours in London to catch the connecting flight. However, the originating flight was running one and a half hours late. I will be honest, a stream of panic ran down my spine. I quickly sent an email to my POC in LF and they responded very quickly. After a bit of fighting with British Airways, I was finally able to modify our itinerary. The itinerary now became Hyderabad to London to Los Angeles via British Airways. From Los Angeles an American Airlines flight to Portland. The travel time increased by 4 hours but it was still a relief for me as I would not miss my flight. Little did I know what was about to happen.
I was both excited and scared. The scary behavior took over when I left at 3:00 am to Airport to catch a 7:20 am flight. I just thought to avoid the traffic and immigration queue but damn I was so wrong. The Airport is like 40 minutes from IIIT and I reached before 4:00 am. The whole place seemed deserted with no queues whatsoever. So, the check-in was smooth and immigration even smoother. Within 30 minutes of entering the airport, I was done with check-in, immigration, and security. The airport looked like this:
Because I arrived too early, I had to wait quite a while for boarding. After what seemed to be like an eternity, I embarked on an exciting journey. The ETA for London was 11 hours and I got comfortable in my seat. Because it was almost morning we were served with a filling breakfast kinda meal. I was ready to be utterly disappointed but that didn’t turn out to be the case.
The tray was quite full with a lot of dishes like yogurt, juice, fresh fruits, cinnamon bun, bun, and vermicelli.
Vermicelli: It was good. Not as good as we make at home but for flight standards, it was very well made and tasted good.
Yogurt and Juice : Since they are packed goods, depends on one’s taste.
Fresh Fruits : Fruits were fresh and Juicy
Bun : It seemed to be freshly baked bun, neither very soft nor very hard and tasted fresh.
Cinnamon Bun: This was the star of the meal. Crispy and very well made. Perfect amount of sweetness.
Overall it was a good meal. It was filling but not heavy.
It was then time for a siesta. I put on a movie and became comfortable. I had a Red Wine when I got up.
Casa la Punta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon: I was new to wines at that time so I don’t think I can judge it correctly but it was just okay. Found a review here.
Most of the time passed in flight passed while watching movies or playing a few games. It was time for another meal. This was the main course and with a good breakfast, I had a bit higher expectations.
Paneer Curry: It was good. Paneer was soft. The gravy was tangy but not too much to spoil the taste.
Toor Daal: It was okay.
Fruit/Chocolate Bread: It was good and soft.
It was not as good as breakfast but it was quite good when we compare it to Airline food.
Layover and Connecting Flight
I landed on time and was a bit awestruck by the expanse of Heathrow airport. I mean I had to take an internal train to reach to my terminal for next flight. There was a strict security at the exit and all of the liquid were discarded on the exit. It was quite a while since I had my last meal so I decided to have something. I saw a small itsu outlet and decided to give it a shot.
Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl: It was good and filling. A bit bland, but chicken was juicy and well flavored.
Quinoa Falafel and veg rice bowl: It was very good. Usually, the falafel patty is dry, but it was not in this case. The veggies were ample and it all blended in pretty well.
I was in time for another long journey to LAX where the immigration would happen. I was ready for another 11 hour long arduous flight and was excited about this one because it was an A380 JumboJet. As soon as I saw the plane, I was awestruck. It was humongous. It was spacious inside and the seats were a bit more comfy as well. In a couple hours it was time for another meal. Needless to say I was expecting good food 😛
Falafel Pasta: It was disgusting. Too much tangy. Couldn’t eat more than a few bites.
Bun: Fresh and tasted good.
Chocolate Mousse: It was good.
Quinoa: It was okayish. Quite better than Pasta.
It was a bit let down after having good food in first flight but still I liked the options. It was because of the variety in the meal that even though I didn’t like the pasta, I did not remain hungry.
Overall it was a good experience for travel. I was really amazed by Airbus A380. The best thing about that was a smooth travel experience. There was little to no turbulence at all. Things were going pretty nicely and I was on time for the travel. However, things are about to take an unexpected turn. More of it in next post.