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10:46am on Wednesday, 2nd November, 2016:

Away ... Just About


I'm sitting at departure gate 26 at Heathrow terminal 3, waiting for my flight to New York JFK. Once there, I have 2 hours 25 minutes to clear immigration and change terminal for my flight to San Antonio. The reason I'm going to San Antonio is to participate in the Project Horseshoe gathering of game designers. I've been invited to it in the past, but turned it down as it was too expensive. Now, however, as I have a two-sevenths share of a €1.9m research grant, it's affordable.

I'm half-expecting something to go wrong (and not just because the airport hotel I'm staying at tonight reminds guests that it allows them to carry hand guns if they have a proper licence). I booked my flight ages ago through Expedia, but when I tried to check in online I was told I could only check in at the airport. When I duly arrived this morning, one of the friendly Virgin Atlantic greeters asked if I'd checked in online and I said no, it wouldn't let me. What then followed was half an hour of trying to figure out why no-one else could check me in either. I was shuffled between the check-in desks and the ticket-issuing desks, with the former saying I didn't have a ticket and the latter saying yes you do, look, we've printed a physical copy of them.

Eventually, someone on the ticket desk who was just returning from a week on holiday took on the challenge. She worked some kind of ticket desk magic, which took several minutes (I think she regarded it as some kind of boss fight) but as a result I not only had tickets but boarding cards.

I'm guessing it'll take an hour to clear US immigration, then I'll be called over for additional security checks, and I'll wind up in a rush to get to the correct terminal for my onward flight, which I'll miss by seconds.

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Copyright © 2016 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).