Lotusphere Day 0
I am in Orlando, hurray!
This year, I strayed from the trotten path and tried a different route to Lotusphere 2008. Instead of flying AUA via Washington, I chose KLM to Amsterdam and a direct flight with MartinAir from there to Orlando.
Check in in Vienna held the first surprise. They were able to check through my luggage and me, even giving me my preferred asile seat. The cityhopper to Amsterdam was uneventful, I slept most of the time.
In Amsterdam I had over an hour to catch my connecting flight. Due to the very good signs and labels, I found Passport Control (leaving Shengen, therefore the glance at your passport before you enter transit zone) and my gate immediately. After my second security check of the day, I was on board my flight. Next time, I will ask the guys from MartinAir, why they are handing out the greed US-Visa Waiver during check in, but not the customs form. Well, whatever.
The 11+ hours flight with MartinAir was OK. As the Boeing was not full, I was allowed to switch seat. So I shared the middle seat with a nice lady and hat more room then anticipated – except from the fact, that the obnoxious guy in front of me kept his seat put back during the whole flight.
As the „entertainment offerings” on board MartinAir are payed extra (a portable Media Play with old Films like „Devil wears Prada, …” I kept to my newspaper, my book and the MP3 player full of audio books.
The food was OK, you got water whenever you wanted and the babies on board kept crying to a minimum. And after a little while, you didn’t even noticed the smell of disinfectant.
We landed on time, got of the play and – LOW AND BEHOLD – there were washrooms on the way from the airplane to immigration. Immigration itself took another whopping two hours. But as I did not have to catch a connecting flight (which was my intention in flying through Amsterdam), I was able to wait in a relaxed manner.
Getting my bag was a matter of seconds, getting through customs too. What I forgot was the fact, that Orlando Airport is separated into two parts. So I had to let go of my luggage again, to have it transported to the other part of the airport. After that, I took the shuttle train from the gate to the airport, passed the third security check of the day, this time with taking of my shoes (after 14+ hours of travel!) and got my luggage again.
At least, that was the plan. Due to the weather (a thunderstorm came up, after I landed, the luggage took another hour to get from the gate to the airport. And even worse, it was drenched in rain. Fortunately, my stuff did not get wet, only damp in a few places.
After another 30 Minutes wait, my Mears shuttle arrived to get me to the Swan hotel. So, approximately four hours after touchdown, I arrived at the hotel. Check in was a breeze and the room is as fine as every year. Pictures will be on flickr.
Droped dead into my bead
More to follow.