Day 1 - "Lines, Lines, Lines" - Up in the Air

June 10, 2013

It's no fun to start a trip feeling not so swell.  It's my own fault.  I ate stupidly yesterday.  Or I didn't eat yesterday.  That was my issue.  I'm paying for it today.  Small migraine plus the stress of a big trip is not a great combination.  Luckily, after a high dosage of Aleve and some fresh air, I was feeling moderately better.  And this was going to be an epically long day.  I had to feel better.

All of my work was finished over the weekend, so I just felt a sense of relief after I shut off the work email this morning. Then again, I waited until the last possible second to finish packing (and I wonder why I have a headache??).  Dad and Elias showed up right around noon and I looked around the house one last time.  I think I have everything in order.  And if I don't...well, I can't do anything about it now...

Luckily, the drive to O'Hare was uneventful.  Elias and I walked into Terminal 5 to see a massive line at the Aer Lingus desk.  Two guys were manning the desk and the line moved really slowly.  I looked at the clock and had a small sense of relief since we had three hours for takeoff, but still...I hoped the line wasn't an omen.  After about 15 minutes, three or four extra people jumped behind the line to help with the crowd.  I guess if you only have two flights a day and  your ticket counter doesn't even open until 1230p, you don't need a massive staff...well...ever.  The line moved swiftly at that point and we went along our merry way.

It's this time when I need to explain the only concern I have today.  Or tomorrow.  Whatever day it'll be.  My concern is the connection from Dublin to Brussels.  As I was making the flight reservations, only one option was ever given to me.  350p to DUB, with a 640a to BRU.  Doesn't seem too weird.  Until I look at the connection.  1:25.  One hour and twenty five minutes.  It's a big plane.  It'll take a while to get off the flight.  And I didn't know how big the terminal would be.  So there is the possibility we could be pulling an OJ Simpson through the terminal (look it up, youngsters).  But it was the only option.  At the counter, I asked it we'd be ok.  The agent said, "You have 1:25, you'll be fine."  It wasn't until I looked at the ticket that I really started to worry.  The flight was supposed to get in at 5:55a.  The gate for the connecting flight closed at 6:15a.  And there began the flare up for the migraine again.  Oh, Stress.  You sneaky little minx, you.  When we finally made it on the flight, they said we would land about an hour early.  So that was helpful for my stress levels as we soared across the skies.

Happily, Terminal 5 is going through a renovation.  The last time I was there, we had a food choice of McDonalds, something hot dog related, and a few other various not good places.  Now, we have two places to choose from in the terminal.  Big Bowl and Frontera Tortas.  Big props for tasty choices.  Surprising that there isn't anything quicker.  But whatever.  We chose Frontera, cause...Rick Bayless.  You don't say no to Rick.  It took about 15 minutes for our Tortas to be ready and as Elias opened his container, he said, "I can tell this one is mine because I can smell the garlic already."  And that is the reason Terminal 5 may want something less smelly as their food choices.  Though as we looked around, we saw many of the same people from our line earlier in our new line at Frontera.  Any garlic protruding from our pores would also be protruding from theirs too.  And the Tortas...always good.

When I booked the flight, I knew about the quick turnaround between flights.  So I chose the seats to Dublin close to the front of the plane so we could get off quicker.  Not only did we board the plane in the first wave, but as we walked on the plane, the flight attendant said, "Oh, you'll turn left behind me.  Towards the front."  We thought we had some rock star seating.  Well...it was close to the front of the plane (row 10).  We sat in the window and aisle, but were the last seats in the section.  Seats that didn't really recline.  Points against.  And I had a big...thing protruding in my legroom area.  Points against.  But each seat had a screen and you could choose from a bunch of movies.  Point for.  And they served Magners Cider.  Point for.  But you had to pay for it.  Point against.  Honestly, the flight and the airline was perfectly fine.  They fed us.  They fed us again.  And they fed us a third time.  I watched Promised Land, Warm Bodies and half of the Odd Life of Timothy Green, plus an episode of New Girl and the IT Crowd.  It got the job done.

What I didn't take into account was the 350p takeoff.  350p is a wholly awkward time to fly to Europe.  It's not late enough where you would sleep the whole flight.  Or during any part of the flight.  It also gets you into Dublin at 5a.  Which means it is a brand new day.  Where you have not slept.  We are hoping to take a catnap on the flight to Brussels.  That'll have to help us somehow.  Otherwise, our first day in Europe is gonna be a doozy...

It turns out, trying to have a 1:25 turnaround at the Dublin airport is a MASSIVELY BAD IDEA!!  Thank god we landed early.  We had to go through a Customs line that while quick, was backed up pretty well and good.  We made it through and boarded our next flight with a little bit of time to spare.  But had we not been early, I'm  not sure we would have made it.  Which makes me pause for our flight home.  We have a similar situation.  The only thing that helps is the guy that was walking up and down the aisle asking if anyone was going on flights that were leaving very quickly.  So we will be banking on that guy...

We boarded our flight to Brussels without any fanfare.  I tried to sleep on the flight, but it was not meant to be.  As we got off the plane, we ended up in another massive line to get through Customs.  There was a short delay in getting the luggage, but there is no better sight than seeing the driver with your name on the iPad ready to take you to the hotel.  And that's where I end the story today.  Why??  Because!!  Stop asking questions.  If I can keep my eyes open any longer, you won't really have to wait.  Which means you're totally going to have to wait.  This exhaustion is epic...

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