Aug 232011

Before I get started on this, I have to be up-front.  This post might be a bit graphic in nature, and contains absolutely no pictures for reasons which will very very quickly become obvious!

We were safely ensconced in the Croatia Airlines lounge, where I believe I immediately collapsed on one of the couches…and go figure, just when I needed it most, this was one of those evil lounges that made you leave the lounge and go into the common areas of the airport to find facilities.  However, they had apple juice.  Ice cold apple juice.  The one thing that made me feel even remotely-human.  I spent most of the next hour as a shivering mess on the couch, to the point I vaguely remember Matt telling me to try and pull it together long enough that they didn’t pull us from the flight, lol.

Down to the gate, bus to the plane, and I managed to hold it together long enough to get on, board, take off, and get in the air!  Fortunately, there were only 3 people in all of business class, so I didn’t cause myself TOO much embarrassment!

Croatia Airlines Flight 492
Zagreb, Croatia to London, Heathrow
Depart 14:40, Arrive 16:05, 2 hours, 25 minutes
Airbus A319, Registration 9A-CTL, Manufactured 2000
Seat 2A

Now, as I am typing this I just realised this: no matter how badly I felt, one of two things was at work. Either I’m an über travel geek, or I wasn’t quite as bad as I thought, because I was still with it enough to manage to get the registration number of the plane. I’m going with the geek part, because I seriously was quite a mess. To the point when offered food I gave the flight attendant the look of death and asked for a ginger ale, and proceeded to try and sleep flat on the row of three seats in between bouts of shivering uncontrollably.

There’s not much to say about this flight. I managed to survive the two hours, land at Heathrow, AND make it all the way to immigration…and through immigration, without causing an international incident.  From what I remember, economy was packed, business was empty, and the crew was as nice and accommodating as could be expected.  But then again, I probably wasn’t the best judge!  Then…it was the tube. I don’t remember lots of the tube ride home, but suffice to say you regret living in Canary Wharf when it takes 90 minutes to get there and you’re barely feeling alive. I remember the following pattern: shiver, fall asleep, kick random guy across the aisle, wake up, apologize, repeat. Somehow, again, I made it, without causing serious drama.

The next 12 hours or so was a continuation of the pattern, but at least it was in bed! By morning, enough had passed that I was ready to consider the trek back to DC. I had considered just staying in London the next couple days, but the thought of going immediately with a confirmed upgrade to business far outweighed any potential recovery and going two days later in a middle seat in economy. NO THANKS!

Aug 222011

We made it to the airport in Erbil in plenty of time, and soon were through the several layers of security and in the check-in area.  There was a vehicle-check, an x-ray in a building a couple hundred metres from the terminal, and then finally another layer before getting into the terminal.  Oh, not to mention another layer before getting into the “gate” area.

Check-in was completely uneventful, but unfortunately Austrian didn’t have any sort of lounge here for business passengers.  I’m not sure if this is the first time I’ve been on an inter-continental flight in business class without a lounge, but it was what it was.  Managed to get a couple of Diet Cokes and a can of Pringles in the small cafe in the gate area, and soon we were boarding the flight to Vienna. Continue reading »