Thursday, February 20th, 1997 Los Angeles to London, England
The departure day arrived and the Limo was twenty minutes early in Yorba Linda. Jim was still packing and eating lunch (he’d baby-sat grandson Ben that morning). But we managed to be in the car and on the way to Newport by 1 pm; the original scheduled time. We arrived on time in Newport Beach, loaded Barbara up and headed for Long Beach. We arrived about fifteen minutes early at 2:15 pm and Jim confused Patti (who was trying to do everything for everybody before she left) by talking about Simon’s bricks which were from his childhood hometown of Montebello. But we finally got them loaded and left for LAX with a flustered and hot Randy and Patti. Actually about the same condition as Jim and I when we left Yorba Linda. Arrived at LAX very relaxed and ready for a great trip. By this time Jim had realized that he’d forgotten his favorite pillow! But, he was resigned to the fact that he would have to buy one in London if he wanted a small one for the duration of the trip.
Next came the problem of paying the limo driver Ed who’s fee was $200.00 instead of the expected $125. Barbara’s grand plan suddenly seemed rather expensive compared to the luxury bargain we’d all anticipated since we were dividing the cost by five. They’d forgotten to tell us that the price increased because of the two extra stops! Oh well….it was a wonderful experience to arrive in grand style and comfort!
Entering the airport after the limo left, Patti discovered that her garment bag was missing; it had the majority of their clothes and was still on the back of the door in the bedroom at home! Off she went to the pay phone while the rest of us checked in. We had about an hour and a half until the plane left. She reached her daughter, Kemery, in Downey; who canceled her piano lesson and an appointment with a client and hit the freeway to go to Long Beach. Lots of excitement and calls on the car phone to check on her progress.
Barbara was able to get us all into the Ambassador’s Lounge (because of business class). We all piled into the elevator along with luggage cart and overcoats! Waited a few minutes (we were only going up one floor); the door opened and out we went! Surprise….we were still on the first floor…no one had pushed the button to move the elevator. Back in and finally up to the Lounge where we were able to get a free drink, some crackers and cheese plus a soft spot to sit while we waited. Except for Patti who was on the telephone most of the time.
It was time to load the plane and Jim and Randy were down at the curb waiting for Kemery. We were upstairs with a friend of Barbara’s son who works for American Airline. (Good thing this was all pre-9/11!) He’d met Barbara to surprise her with an upgrade to First Class! He was also able to get the staff to agree to put the bag on the next flight with the stewardess as long as we were willing to guarantee that we’d be there to pick it up when it arrived. (Due to the security regulations it is highly unusual for them to carry any baggage other than those belonging to people on the plane!) They wanted us on the airplane!
Patti went off to get Jim and Randy. She found them at the curb and Kemery had just arrived. They raced in with the bag and three minutes to spare! Kemery had arrived in time; but in doing so managed to get a broken headlight from a piece of debris in the freeway. We were on the plane at 5 pm sharp. Our originally scheduled departure time! Settled down and ready, Patti called Kemery one more time from the plane to thank her and let her know that we’d made the flight. She told her she’d pay for the headlight and make it up to her! Off the phone she told us that she was going to get her a London Fog raincoat for a gift! About that time, the pilot came on the air and announced that something very minor had broken, but had to be repaired before we left. At 5:30 pm we finally started to move out from the building and by 6:00 pm we were in the air.
Afterwards Barbara told us that her friend from the airlines had stayed and helped resolve the problem. He’d come on board and explained to Barbara what was actually happening. (He was off duty and had stayed to meet with Barbara so was free to help out with the situation.) A passenger had changed his mind and gotten off the plane. Therefore, they had to remove his luggage and then xray all the other baggage for security reasons!
Long flight…actually arrived on time. We had Tin Cup and Phenomenon for movies, nice dinner and light breakfast! No one got very much sleep! Randy & Patti had an extra seat (they were in the center with three seats) but the second movie screen was directly over their seats and created a bright light for the duration of the trip. Barbara was very lonely up front, but dined with crystal and china enjoying lobster & steak, with chocolate sundae for dessert along with eggs and bacon for breakfast! Plus just about anything else she wanted including a private selection of personal movies. But, since she never sleeps on the plane, it was good that she had all of that to entertain her.
Patti brought along a packet of toothtowels for each of us! Something new…Jim used his after breakfast…very different he said. We arrived at about 11:50 am after a ten hour flight. There is an eight hour difference in time.