Travel Lessons Learned

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The Two Fools are making our way to Sicily in a round-about fashion so that we can rest along the way – and because we have found that there seem to be much fewer flights available this year, possibly due to other events in the world. Direct flights – if you can find them – are very expensive.  So we have cobbled together a few flights to get to our final destination – all part of the adventure.

Our first leg was BWI to JFK, where we spent the night at the airport hotel. Then we flew from JFK to Heathrow.  And after a couple of days in London, we flew from Gatwick to Catania, Sicily.

A few lessons we learned-

The airport hotels at JFK do not pick you up at the airport. You must take a commuter train (the Plane Train) to the hotel shuttle pick-up. This is the same train that connects to the subway, and if you don’t get off at the right stop, you have to pay for the Plane Train. This would not really have been a problem except there were no signs or directions, so took us awhile to figure it all out. However, if you take the shuttle BACK to the airport, they can drop you at your terminal – whew.

Virgin Atlantic does not honor pre-check, much to our dismay. Frank and I have both done the background checks for Global Entry/Pre-Check so that we can skip the long security lines when in the US. However, Virgin Atlantic and the TSA apparently are in some type of disagreement so Virgin Atlantic passengers must stand in the same line as everyone else. At JFK, this was 75 minutes long. This did not make us very happy.

Flying to Europe in the daytime is awesome. Before this, we had only flown overnight, and I have never been able to sleep on planes. Flying in the daytime was a pleasure, and there was no one in the security line when we arrived at Immigration in the UK.

Gatwick is farther than I thought. I thought we would save all this money by flying into Heathrow and out of Gatwick. No big deal, right? Gatwick is FAR! This is ok as long as you make sure you save enough time to get there (an hour and a half) and factor the taxi cost (about 90 pounds) into your budget. But when we got there, they have a great set-up with what seemed like a 1:2 security screener to passenger ratio so it was almost fun to go through security. And they have a Harrod’s.

Easyjet is pretty good. One of the reasons we flew out of Gatwick is that not too many airlines seem to fly to Sicily and get in at a reasonable time. EasyJet fit our timetable, so it was worth transferring airports to avoid a late night arrival in Catania. We were a little leery because you pay a base amount (which does not include the seat) and then literally pay for every little item a la carte – ticket, seat, water, carry-on, checked bags, etc. But you knew exactly what you are getting, and they were super organized. They also had an extensive (and pretty good) food menu – at least 40 items.

So we are on our way and getting back into the travel groove. Thanks for coming along with us!

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