Thursday, July 13, 2006

NoCrowds Europe Heads Home

Posted by Picasa Regular readers of NoCrowds Europe know that occasionally, when the spirit moves me, I write about something other than Europe. Call it lack of discipline but until NoCrowds has more manpower than just me, I can’t do anything other than write about where I am. Tomorrow, I am off to North Carolina for a month with a road trip to New York and I intend to write about the vacation venues of the East Coast of the United States with the same focus as when NoCrowds covers Europe. Regardless of the location, I’ll work hard to unmask the overrated and uncover the overlooked and report back on the best ways I have found to get off the tourist treadmill.

Tomorrow, I will have to face the biggest nightmare in summer travel – the airport. This morning, I made a failed attempt to check-in and select seats on American Airlines Flight 173 to Raleigh. The first disappointment was that not one aisle seat remained in the entire economy section. But worse was yet to come. After a half hour of trying to book the really bad seats ( near the toilet, in the middle etc.) that AA was showing as open, a call to customer service resulted in my learning that online check-in was not possible for my flight. The customer service rep was perfectly lovely, but why provide an online system if only AA staff are in on the little secret that it only works for certain flights?

In fact, I can hardly wait to get to the airport to be told that there are no two seats together which is not so bad really because Eloise can spill her drink on a brand new friend and ask him/her 8,342 times if we are almost there. Now that I am thinking about it in a positive way, things are looking up. Tomorrow night, the queues at Gatwick, the cat fight for a decent seat and the idiotic clearing of customs and immigration at Raleigh Durham will all be behind me. I’ll be eating barbeque from Stephenson’s at my farm, with my big southern family (see above), and nothing, absolutely nothing, is better than that.

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