Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Flying to the start

Canberra airport, 8 May 2012
I've made it to Virginia on schedule and with my bike and other luggage still with me. My 38-hour Tuesday started with my friends Bill and Carolyn selflessly getting up in the middle of the night to drive me to the airport. There was a minor mix-up when Qantas ground staff, in their eagerness to put me on an earlier flight to Sydney, accidentally checked me through to Dallas/Fort Worth only, overlooking the final leg to Norfolk. By the time I spotted the error, my bags were being loaded onto the aircraft and it was too late to correct the destination. The check-in staff apologised and said I should reclaim the bags in Dallas and check them in again there. This I did. The customs and border protection agents at Los Angeles were efficient and respectful and I was questioned, fingerprinted and photographed to their satisfaction. The security screening required to enter the departure areas at Los Angeles and Dallas was exceptionally thorough. I smiled when, on the Qantas flight out of Sydney, we were told that under TSA rules passengers on flights bound for America were not allowed to congregate outside the toilets (or anywhere else on the aircraft).

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