Flying to Tampa with British Airways – Part 1 Airports, x-rays and big breakfasts - Orlando / Florida Guide
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The sun is peeping through the curtains and as I drift into wakefulness I remember that today we are flying off to Florida – whoopee! I can’t help it, even now when we don’t have children to travel with I still wake up with a huge sense of excitement knowing that we are flying across the Atlantic to our villa in Orlando. It’s not quite the same as having our offspring with us, and I really do miss them – those wonderful nights before flights, sharing a hotel room, when we would turn out the lights and chatter non-stop for hours, far too excited to sleep. We’ve had an anxious few weeks, what with the volcanic ash cloud and the BA strikes we have wondered if we would actually get there, but it seems like its all systems go.
Now as one who is usually slow to wake, and even slower to get out of bed, surprisingly I am first up and dash straight into the bathroom to get ready. Our hotel shuttle is booked for 7. 30 and I don’t want to be late. My husband takes a more leisurely approach and potters around getting himself ready but I am like a whirling dervish. Our overnight things are repacked into our hand luggage, those unwanted bits and pieces are stowed in the bag we are leaving and the car and our suitcases are standing in the doorway. He is dispatched to the car with all the items surplus to needs, while I take a quick look round the hotel room to make sure we haven’t left anything important – like our tickets or passports – and we are into the lift and down to the hotel foyer where we stand waiting for our chariot to take us to the airport. Well, a minibus, actually, but I can’t wait.
I take a look at our fellow passengers. They don’t seem to have anything like the amount of luggage we have. How do people do it? I don’t ever pack light, and going to our villa I always seem to have a case full of new items for it, and chocolate and biscuits for American neighbours and friends. Even my hand luggage is loaded to the gunwales but luckily we are flying with BA to Tampa, and hand luggage is unrestricted. Just in case I need it, I have my trusty large handbag, which is related to the Tardis. It is cavernous inside and I can never find anything, but it holds vast amounts which is brilliant. After all I can’t fly without my books, puzzle book, headphones, blow up neck pillow, bar of choccy (well we are on holiday! ) and a packet of biscuits in case we get peckish on the flight.
The shuttle arrives, our luggage is stowed, and off we go. Oh I love the feeling of driving up to the airport. It gives me a huge lift seeing the buildings come into view and it only takes a quick whiff of kerosene and I am in seventh heaven. We jump out, count our bags and I dash off to get a couple of trolleys – do you know they now charge £1 at Gatwick? We load up our cases and I am off like a shot leaving my poor husband standing on the pavement. I am inside the door of the terminal before I realise he is still crossing the road with his trolley. Thank goodness he is patient! It must be a nightmare to travel with me as I am always dashing ahead of him.
We have already checked in online so we go to the BA baggage drop and I spend a worrying few minutes wondering if the cases are too heavy. They are a wee bit over but the lady is nice and simply puts a ‘heavy’ sticker on them. Phew! Last February we had a real ‘jobs’ worth’ who made us to take a couple of small bits out of one suitcase and put them in our hand luggage. Most embarrassing! The suitcases disappear, our boarding cards are in our hot little hands and we are ready for lift off!
But first it’s time for food. It’s a ritual we began when we had the children with us. Check in completed we always make a beeline for a big breakfast – well, you know what aeroplane food is like! But first we must go through Security. So it’s off with coats and out with the laptop, and I am first through the scanner. As usual the alarm bells go off. Now I promise you I don’t have a wooden leg, pacemaker or glass eye, but without fail I seem to be the one chosen to be frisked. Ah well, better get it over and done with. A nice lady pats me down and waves me through so I collect my bags and wait for my husband. He walks through without any problems. Now we need to find our usual eatery.
It’s not too busy and we find a comfortable seat. I go and order breakfast and we sit and relax with a large pot of tea. This is the life! Fully replete we amble back to the departure area and I find a seat for my husband, whilst I go off for a little retail therapy. We have a couple of hours before the flight so we don’t need to rush to the gate. I truly am in paradise!
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