4 Planes 3 Layovers 2 Days 1 Excellent Adventure
Trip Start May 08, 2011
8Trip End May 26, 2011
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After arriving in Chennai we grabbed our bags and found our bus and went to the Express Mall. This place was like an oasis in the middle of the city because it was air conditioned and extremely nice on the inside. There were a grand total of 5 levels which included a "Bazaar" aka a supermarket in the basement and a movie theater that is nicer then the one in my home town. Needless to say there was enough there to distract all nine of us for the five hours that we were there.
We headed back to the airport about four hours before our flight and tried to enter to begin the long process of checking bags, getting tickets, and going through security. Surprisingly enough we were told that we were not allowed to even enter the main part of the airport till only three hours before our flight. After we sat around for about an hour, we decided to try and get in again and this time we made it through the door and were the first people to have our bags checked for Jet Airways. Everything was pretty routine until you hit the first security check point where males and females are separated to be wanded and checked for weapons. Then when we begin to board the plane we are again sent through security where only closed toed shoes are to be taken off and all bags must go through screening again. The weird thing is they do not tell you that only closed toed shoes need to be taken off so I had taken off my flip-flops and put them up on the machine where one man rudely threw them back off onto the floor with no real explanation. I am again patted down and sent on to have my ticket stamped for about the 4th time before boarding the plane.
The actual plane flight was uneventful and when we hit Brussels we all had to get off and go through mini security again before we could go find our gate. As usual I set off the metal detector and am again patted down, except unlike in India where women are behind a screen, here it is out in the open. After about a two hour layover we board the same plane for our second to last flight to get us home. We land in NY and go through customs with no real problems and after coming from India, American security seemed like a piece of cake and almost to easy. So on this six hour layover we all ate and then just hung out and wandered the terminal waiting on our flight.
We all thought that we were home free and had made it through this journey with out any real set backs... we were wrong. First our flight attendants were late and so we could not board our flight till take-off time which put us behind. Then we got stuck in what amounts to rush hour air traffic where we were in line with 30 other planes waiting to take off. After sitting on the tar-mak for about an hour we finally take off and head to Charlotte where there is apparently a really big storm brewing with lots of wind. We end up coming in for landing to fast and touch down just to bounce right back up into the air. The pilot says that we are going to circle around and come down at a different angle and this time we actually touch down and stay down. It's surprising that out of every flight we had taken the scariest was the one that was only 2 hrs and in the States.
We all made it home safely but extremely tired and worn out. I can say that I don't want to see rice or an airplane for a good couple of months, but I truly enjoyed this adventure and it was definitely life changing.