—13 May 2012—
We agreed that we would not have made our flight if we hadn’t changed hotels to be close to the airport. Can’t imagine the journey from the Hotel Ala to the airport at 3:30 in the morning! We were up at the appointed hour and before I knew it, the desk clerk was calling to ask if we were going to the airport. I said “yes, at 6:00” and looked at the clock to see that it was 6:00. And I thought we were ready when we went to bed! I checked out while Jerry wrestled the bags to the van and we were off for the 3 minute ride to the terminal.
There was quite a line at the Iberia Airlines (American partner) terminal, but after standing a few minutes, we spotted a “luggage drop” line that was very short. It took only moments to drop our bags (thank goodness for online check in!) and pass through security. We stopped at a cafe for tea/coffee and a chicken sandwich to split for breakfast and headed for our gate. Boarding commenced shortly, and as soon as we were comfortable, we both fell asleep and slept till we were pretty close to Madrid and our first change.
In Madrid, we boarded a wide-body for our Iberia flight to Chicago. We were pleased to find that the configuration was 2-4-2, and we had a “2” to ourselves. This aircraft offered more room in every direction and was not so hot as our flight over, so we had a fairly comfortable albeit long flight. Again, we were served two meals en route.
Immigration in Chicago is always a delight. We stood in a long, snaking line for what seemed like forever to get our passports checked. By the time we proceeded to luggage, our bags were already off the conveyor. We pulled them through a customs check where we provided our declaration form and were waved through to where we dropped the bags again with an American agent. We had to change terminals, which means a ride two stops down the line on the tram. I was delighted to find that they had worked some of the kinks out of the security process at that point (took us a lo-o-ong time last year), so we made it through security without too much pain and on to our gate.
Jerry did a wonderful thing when he made the reservations; he upgraded us to First Class for our last leg. So we boarded first and lounged and had drinks (lousy wine) in our lovely big seats while the rest of the passengers boarded. Pay back! Even with the added comfort, and a hot meal, we were really ready for the trip to be over before we finally got to San Diego. We exited the plane, collected our bags (always seems slow in San Diego), and went to the curb, where our good friends Karin and Leo were waiting to drive us home.
We were home by 8:30. We waved good bye and hurried in to see Bijou and Boo. We were all so glad to be together!!! We unpacked, moved the suitcases (which disturb Boo greatly) to the garage, made a pass through the stack of mail that had accumulated, and went to bed. Ahhh! Wonderful to be home!