The Flight (part 1)
Virgin is very security conscious. How do we know this? Well, we'll tell you. As we were taxing towards the runway at JHB International, some guy had an anxiety attack and demanded to be let off the plane. The plane was duly turned around and as the man was led off, he told everybody who would listen that he had a vision of the plane going up in flames. This just served to further stress out the already stressed passengers. We sat for a while, and then the captain explained to us that every time someone leaves the plane prior to take off, a security check must be carried out. Due to the nature of the man's comments, it had been decided to carry out a full security check, with sniffer dogs and all. So, after sitting on a cramped plane for 5 hours, we eventually got under way. Needless to say, we missed our connecting flight from Heathrow, as did half the passengers on the plane.
When we finally arrived at Heathrow, Virgin had already arranged a new schedule for us, flying via Los Angeles (LAX). We then spent three and a half hours in Heathrow's duty-free. The place was incredible. Amongst others, we saw Peter Rabbit chocolates, pencil tins and alarm clocks. However, even if you're earning pounds, the place is not cheap, Linda bought a 750ml coke for £1,60. Chad bought all the Cadbury's chocolate bars (that you don't get in SA) he could find.
The Flight (part 2)
We flew from Heathrow to LAX mostly in daylight. We passed over Greenland, Canada and the northern USA. You've never seen so much snow and ice in your life!
We landed at LAX, and after passing by a surly, curt, downright rude civil servant type immigration official at passport control, we went to collect our luggage.
Oops! Found 1, lost 3. It seems our luggage was having an even more traumatic time then we were, and in fact most of our luggage was lagging behind by a continent or two, all except one piece that had been rescued by Swiss Air! Fortunately, Virgin delivered all our luggage to our doorstep by Friday afternoon.
PUTCO is alive and well in the USA
(United Airlines Shuttle Service)
From LAX we had to catch the United Airlines shuttle to San Francisco, by which time we were completely exhausted. The shuttle is a PUTCO bus with wings, just not as nice. To shorten a long story a little, after arriving at SFO and being picked up by Sapient at 12pm, our total traveling time had clocked up 41 hours. Oy!