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Florida Guide > Travelling

What a trip this was! Part 7

Our much anticipated first trip to Orlando has been beset by problems. Our fight has been delayed due to technical problems and we are already 24 hours behind schedule. But we have been accommodated in the Le Meridien Hotel, and really cannot grumble at the way we have been treated.

After a lovely swim it is time for lunch, served again in the banqueting room. We are served soup, and an array of delicious sandwiches, plus crisps, and orange juice. After this repast we collect our luggage and trundle it back to the ATA check-in desk. So far so good. We are given £6 each for refreshments, which we think is generous, particularly as we have just been fed, and we wait, again to be called. This time there will be no delays, the aeroplane is definitely on its way.

We don’t really have time to spend the vouchers on food, and anyway we have just eaten, so we look around Smiths and buy books, magazines, chocolate and other bits and bobs with the vouchers. At last our flight is called and we make our way down to the gate. We can hardly believe our eyes, but there it is – our Tri-star, sitting waiting on the tarmac, with its gaudy palm tree decorated tail. We could hug it! Bang on time we board the aircraft and settle into our seats – with difficulty. The Tri-Star is a wide-bodied plane but it has no central lockers over the middle seats, so storage is at a premium. We end up with our hand luggage jammed under our seats, making it quite cramped. However, we really don’t care as it seems as if we are on our way at last!

The American crew look as if they have just got up and forgotten to get themselves ready. They welcome us onboard and are prolific in their apologies for the delay. They promise to get us to Orlando as fast as they can, and within minutes of us boarding the aircraft is pushing back, away from the gate and onto the tarmac where it waits for clearance. It is a large aeroplane, and as it taxis along the runway it is peculiarly bouncy, a bit like being on a pogo stick. We have a very good view out of the windows as we are sitting in row 2, forward of the wings.

The aeroplane turns, hesitates for just a second and then suddenly the engines rev up to full power and we are screaming along the runway, still bouncing. We look out of the windows and see the wings bouncing up and down too. Faster and faster we flash along the concrete and just as we think it won’t make it, we lift gently and powerfully into the air, rising ever more steeply and banking sharply. Far below the roads and houses appear before us like a map, and almost imperceptibly we climb higher and higher, through clouds and into the sunshine above. We’ve made it, and my son and I can releases our sweaty hands, locked together for the take-off. As the aeroplane levels out we begin to enjoy the flight.

But, seriously, what more can possibly go wrong?

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Page added on: 15 July 2011
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