Ok… This morning the sun was shinning. We had breakfast at the hotel and shuttled over to the AMC Terminal. Again, the International Terminal was nearly empty. Of course, all or most International flights leave later in the day. We all checked in, as we are supposed to do and than sat down to rest. Finally, more Space “A” passengers arrived and of course the chatting and information started flowing in both ways. The big news so far was that there was a USO reception center on the lower level. There, we were able to store our luggage, eat snacks, watch tv and many, many other comforting amenities, all for free, to card holding armed forces, past and present. I am presently writing this blog in the USO lounge.
4 PM… Up at the AMC Terminal: There is a terminal reader board with the number of seats available and with our signup priority number. Number of seats available 273…That’s after the military reserved seats. We started with number 37 on the list, but we are now unto 61. Now that 61 doesn’t represent the number of people ahead of us. It could be double that amount…maybe 120 if there are dependents. So 273 minus 120 equals 153 chances of making the flight. The line at the counter is growing! Nail biting! The aircraft is a B747-400 with a, I think, 460 or so capacity.
The show time was 18 hundred or 6 PM. Then they started the roll call. If you don’t show up at the desk your signup request goes to the bottom of the list. So far the list has gone up to 153 Space “A” signups. Well, this is starting to sound complicated. Our number finally came to 98 on the roster. Yes, we made the cut!
After getting our paper work stamped, we got in line for a very long three and a half hour wait to have our luggage checked and Passports rechecked and then go through security and finally grab a bite to eat on the gate side of Concourse E. It is now 10:10 pm and we will start boarding at 11:30 pm with a departure time of 12:30am. We will land at Rammstein, Germany for a three hour layover before our final destination to Aviano.
4:16 am Ramstein time: Arrived tired but safe. Huge line at BWI check-in, which started at 6 pm and by the time we boarded and took off it was one am! Remember hurry up and wait! It didn’t take long to fall asleep. It was over 4,000 mile flight up through or near Iceland. More to come when I get rested in Aviano. It is a 2 hr refueling layover here in at Ramstein Air Force Base. Needless to stay we are tired, but soon we’ll be in our reserved room at Aviano.
8:00 am Thursday: Rested and I think, now making more sense. Jet lag is now bearable. The Air Force Inn here in Aviano is first class! The staff is outstanding! Recapping last night’s time line; after checking in to our room it was a little after 9 pm (21:00 MILITARY time) (6 hour difference between east coast time). That’s six hours ahead of EST. The “Club,” short walking distance, was kept open for the late arrival of the “Rotator” flight and we were able to get a decent meal and a draft (local) beer. Sitting with our traveling buddies Sam & Joan and another couple, whose name escapes me at the present time, had a relaxing end of the day. I was really impressed with the other couple who travel intensely, all over the world. To mention a few places, China & Russia, on a motor cycle. Probably the neatest, was the fact that he, retired Air Force, has the website “SpaceA.net” which we read and study a lot for tips.
That is what we saw & did!