Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Israel/Egypt/Jordan 2023 - Day #21 - to Carmichael

Up at 2:05 am, we put our bags in the hall at 2:55 am. We joined the group in the lobby at 3:25 am. Of the 31 people on the Jordan excursion (out of 56 on the cruise), 15 people were flying out on the same Turkish Airlines flight at 6:55 am. The Leclaires took an earlier flight, but the Larkins and Gainsleys were on the same flight as us.

We got to the airport a little after 4 am. I was shocked at how long the check-in line was. It took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to make our way through the line, check our luggage and get our boarding passes.

By the time we got through security, there was less than 30 minutes until the flight started boarding. In an older Airbus A320 with a 2-4-2 configuration, Sharon and I had two seats on the right side of the plane. It was pretty comfortable.

The flight path that we took to get to Istanbul was interesting. The plane flew southwest until it reached Egyptian airspace and then turned north. It added about 50 minutes to the flight time. The route completely avoided Israel, Lebanon and Syria.

We were on the ground in Istanbul about 10 am. I was impressed with the Istanbul international terminal.

Sharon and I boarded the Turkish Air flight to San Francisco about noon. The Gainsleys were on the same flight in business class. The Larkins took a later flight to Seattle. Sharon's brother Tom and his friends Mary and Jean were on our flight. They made the connection with only a little time to spare.

In a 787 Dreamliner with a 3-3-3 configuration, Sharon and I had the aisle and middle on the right side. This turned into a little bit of a mess. The two women in front of Sharon and I put their seats all the way back as soon as they could. The guy on the window was probably 6' 4". As soon as she could, Sharon went back and sat with Tom; he had a row to himself. I banged the person in front of me with my knees so that they eventually put their seat back up.

[Note to self], we are not flying international again without some kind of upgraded seat.

I ended up flying most of the thirteen hour flight by myself. I probably got up a dozen times and walked back to where Sharon and Tom were sitting. I finished one book [Exit Strategy] and started two others [1000 Miles up the Nile and The Exchange]. I also watched Bridge on the River Kwai on my iPad.

Just like Chicago in June, we walked off the plane into a giant mess at passport control. After a couple of minutes, I brought up the mobile passport control app. We jumped into that line and were able to get through in less than forty minutes.

Scooping up our luggage, we eventually connected with the same shuttle driver that brought us to the airport. It was Mr. Toad's Wild Ride on the way home. The driver was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. Sharon was not happy. Dropping Tom, Mary and Jean first, Sharon and I were home in Carmichael just after 8:45 pm. It was 29 hours door to door.

It was an interesting trip. I am working on a list of thoughts that I will post in the future!

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