Saturday, September 27th – To Sydney Airport and Homeward Bound

Airport ShuttleThe day started out uneventful with a doorstep pickup by the Airbus Airport Shuttle. A thirty minute ride later and we were walking into the International Terminal (separate location from the Domestic Terminal) of Sydney Airport.

Can’t tell you how much we dreaded the 13-hour flight, but it turned out to be very comfortable. The seating alignment was 3 on the left, 3 in the middle, and 3 on the right … except where the galley broke. We wound up in the 2 seat alignment on the right side. UA Seat mapRoooomy with extra leg space, 110 volt outlets, a wide selection of free movies, and food the whole darn trip. (I thought we’d gotten away from every-other-hour eating.) Even with it pitch black outside for the majority of the trip, it was very comfortable.

We both stayed awake for the whole flight – Paul watched three movies and I read most of the time. Our plane took off on time from Sydney at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday and landed on time in San Francisco at 11:33 a.m. on Saturday. Crazy! Jet lag You get kinks in your brain trying to figure the time zones out! Alas, we hit a snafu. Another plane was late departing and had taken up residence at our assigned gate.

Thirty minutes we sat on the runway waiting! Once we pulled up to the gate (you travelers know the drill), you hurry up and wait to debark. Then you walk as fast as you can about a quarter-mile to get in line again to go through Immigration. Then you walk as fast as you can again (another quarter-mile or so) to reach the international baggage claim where you wait for the bags to arrive. Once you claim your bags, you walk as fast as you can down a long hall to get in another line to clear customs. Almost there … another long hall to recheck your bags ….. and come to a screeching halt. We’re now inside the 45-minute window to transfer checked bags to another flight.
Yep. We got yanked out of that line and sent to …RE-BOOKING. Thanks to inclement weather in Chicago the day before, everything is backed up and overbooked. Nothing available heading to Atlanta, not even on the other airlines.

The nice United agent lady apologized profusely and offered a 40% discount on a hotel for an overnight stay. And didn’t that just fry my hide! Nope. We walked out of there re-booked for the next day with aisle seats, a hotel voucher for 100%, and meal Tiredvouchers for dinner, breakfast, and lunch. Irritating, but as my sweet cousin-in-law, Lynno (as the Aussies would call her), says – might be a blessing in disguise. I think it was a blessing, because we hit the hotel room, shoved the bags in the door, and crashed!

Cecilias PizzaWe did manage to have dinner later – a 15-minute walk and a superb pizza at Cecilia’s in South San Fran – and somehow managed to stay up until 9:00 p.m. (midnight Atlanta time).

Why is it the time changes going from East to West (geographically, not direction-ally) is so much harder than the other way?

Almost home … again. Can’t wait to see my kids and grand kids!

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