I am traveling with a group of 20 students from Fresno State and one professor for a study abroad program to London, England for 3-weeks during the winter intersession.
The class started in Fresno with meeting during the fall semester to finalize plans and travels. Now that we are all here it is a bit unimaginable.
We all arrived in our different ways to get to San Francisco where we all met to fly to London in the same plane.
Two young ladies, Viola Malone, a mass communication & journalism major and Lauren Beal, a history major, went to visit their families in Los Angeles for Christmas and flew to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
When I arrived to SFO it was not too hard to get myself around. I thought going through security was going to be a hassle but it went pretty fast compared to other times I flew from SFO. I, also, did not think traveling internationally was going to be as easy as it was to the check-in counter at Virgin Atlantic.
There are so many requirements and one has to be prepared for the worst. You requirements of baggage weight, carry-on weight, and liquids in Ziploc bags and so forth. Needless to say, I made it through the check-in with no major problems.
I was greeted by several of my classmates that have been making last minute arrangements to travel outside of London on our days off from the classes we are scheduled to have.
Everyone was very excited to talk about what they had booked and what they were planning for the New Year.
An hour after getting to know the students, I found myself calling and texting everyone close to me to say my goodbyes before I boarded the plane.
I had flown in an airplane before but, I must say, leaving to fly internationally felt a little different. The planes are usually larger and the check-in attendant at Virgin Atlantic mentioned that the plane to London was at capacity so they had to check the weights of the carry-on luggage.
I said my goodbyes as if they were the last time they would hear my voice and wished them a Happy New Year because, I did not know if I was going to be able to get in touch with them when I land.
One downfall of the trip is that it is costly, but worth it and some things are not necessarily needed because one can get away with the bare minimum. For example, an international cell phone plan. One can use get it but, it is pretty expense. I used Sykpe and purchased a plan for eight dollars and it makes calls from the phone, laptop and iPad as long as one has internet access.
I will talk more about what is needed for international travel later in my travels as I experience more.
The lines to board the plane are always a bit long and after the time had passed, I followed the hallways to board the plane.
I was greeted with friendly faces from the flight attendants and was directed to my seat. I walked through the first-class and I had seen champagne already being poured in glasses and food orders being taken.
Once we found our seats we started to load our carry-on luggage on the top compartments in the plane.
OK. Loading carry-on luggage always seems to frighten me.
If you have seen the movie, Meet the Parents, you can relate to my feeling when Gaylord Focker, played by Ben Stiller, has his carry-on with the engagement ring he plans to use to propose to his fiancé Pam. When it is time to put his carry-on in the designated shelf in the plane, it does not seem to fit so he tried to jam and shove it and tries his hardest to push in his bag before the flight attendant tells him that he has to check it in.
Well, I arrived to my seat with Lauren behind me, and we had a small problem where we caused a bit of a traffic jam. We thought our seat numbers had to match the compartment numbers only. So, we tried to fit both of the carry-on suitcases. It was not working for us. It was turning into a long line behind us so, I stepped on my seat to let people through to get to their seats and watch my ridiculous showcase of how to put luggage in an overhead compartment.
I had seen down the aisle a flight attendant coming towards me as I was perched on the seat hoping she was not going to stop me from jamming two carry-on suitcases in the one compartment and tell us we have to check-in the luggage.
I heard a man whisper that I could just put the luggage in another overhead compartment. I threw the luggage over my head and closed the other compartment and never looked back at it until we arrived to London.
I was talking with Lauren and another student Eryn-Baldrica-Guy, about how the expense of the trip covers a great amount of what we are planning to do in London and the accommodations on the flight were pretty enjoyable too. We were given pillows, blankets, free movies, and food that wasn’t that bad.
But, no matter how much the Virgin Atlantic accommodated us on the plane, nothing would stop it from being a long 10-hour flight to London, England.