Glenn (curioushamster) wrote,

Almost there...

Greetings from Mumbai. There is apparently free wi-fi here, and I can connect to the access point and that's it. So this may probably not get posted until much later.

It's 3:00 am in Mumbai and it was pouring when we landed. There was so much water on the runway that the pilot used reverse thrust to slow down the 747 and did not hit the brakes until we got almost to the end of the runway. My travel adventure (part 1) hasn't ended yet. I have another flight to catch (this one, to Goa's short - only about an hour) and then maybe an hour's taxi ride to my sisters house in Santa Cruz, Goa.

The last time I had a chance to sit and open the laptop was in Chicago. Where, (naturally), the United flight to Frankfurt was delayed (only by two hours). I wasn't in any state to do anything in Chicago, so I just sat there watching a 747 come close enough to kiss the terminal as it pulled into its gate. Everyone ooh'ed and aah'ed appropriately and then we stood around and watched for a bit and then drifted off.

As we boarded, I noticed that some of the passengers were especially bitchy and realised that maybe some of my fellow SFO-ORD-FRA re-routees were happy with having to dash to the airport on short notice. Me - I just wanted to get it over with. That didn't leave any time or energy to be bitchy about anything.

Chicago-Frankfurt, the captain was very apologetic about the delay. Turns out that the plane was delayed getting in from Beijing, and he said that they had loaded up extra fuel and would be travelling a little faster than normal (at 0.86 mach) to try and make up for any lost time.

I got on the ATC channel and started listening in. Hearing ground control at Chicago was an eye opener. At one point they had 18 aircraft waiting to take off. Not all of them had their landing slots in their destinations available and they were all sizes and shapes of aircraft. There was a "company" aircraft in line somewhere (and unfortunately it was too dark to try and catch a glimpse). And Chicago ground control did a terrific job with what they had. It was fun listening to the controller ask aircraft waiting for landing slots to swing around and join the line again, and getting six or seven aircraft parked around the runway access ramp, asking aircraft behind in line with landing slots (or international travel) to "cut through the pack" and asking the others to "get in just a little tigher" because "we're trying to get you all out of here as fast as possible". Our plane had to swing around to make way for another aircraft (flying to Atlanta) and then "cut through the pack" and get on the runway. Our captain did not cut through the pack fast enough and we had to hold for a landing and then three minutes later finally took off. That's also when the ATC chatter became routine and I stopped listening.

The meal service was "interesting". Apparently, Lufthansa's ground staff are on strike, so we didn't get any choice in our meals. Also, it was fun discovering that everyone (economy, business + first) had to eat the same thing :). Of course, the first class passengers got theirs on real china and silverware instead of a plastic box and sporks.

All the extra speed paid off a little and we got to Frankfurt only an hour late. Thanks United.

And oh, because of the rush in which I packed, I didn't pack my camera in my carryon, so there won't be any photos until I find it again.
Tags: adventure, airport, goa, india, travel, united

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