Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Sitting in Terminal 7 at KLAX. We're flying United mostly because of me - I had enough miles to plump for the business class upgrade on the outbound leg. I need to minimize jetlag and general exhaustion on arrival so as to be able to start check rides and training as soon as possible, so this leg gets the upgrade. I have to say, United Airlines does not present itself well to the world these days. The check-in and security areas in Terminal 7 are just...dingy. Reminds me of the worst parts of KLGA in the antiquated Delta terminal. Awful grime and 1970s-looking aggregate flooring and broken machines and not enough assistants and the like. Check in was terrible - found a machine on the *third* try (the first two had silently broken credit card readers) and was immediately told 'Your reservation requires special handling, please contact an agent.'

Well, there really aren't any agents easily visible. Turns out I had to find one of the United employees lounging around the doors to assist people with electronic check-in. That person wanted my passport (I guess to verify my visa for the int'l flight) and then it took him three tries to find a terminal behind the counter that worked - and the passport swipe reader still didn't. So ten minutes of typing.

Following that, they hand me back my passport and a paper boarding pass (ugh. JetBlue, I miss you already) and wave at the cattle call security line. I asked one of the security types if there was a business class line, and he directed me back out the doors to the curb, down the terminal, and in the next entrance.

The screening was minimal hassle. The TSA acquitted itself much better than United.

So here we are. I have 4.5 hrs until the flight leaves (had to drop off the rental car and figured 3-4 hrs wasn't enough time to risk doing something else around LA and running into rush hour).

The Silvercar manager (Hi Mike!) wanted to know where I was going, so while he drove me back to the terminal (curbside drop-off) I told him about Outback Overflight. He seemed genuinely excited at the prospect and wanted to know if I was blogging it. So, again, hi Mike! Plug for which I receive nothing - Silvercar was an excellent experience. Car was an Audi A4 - Silvercar only rents silver A4s - with 15k miles, no issues, working WiFi hotspot and Bluetooth etc. etc. Cost wasn't out of line, and the car was much more pleasant to drive around LA than a Hertz Toyota/Nissan would have been.

Next time I sleep in a bed, it'll be in Campbelltown NSW Australia. Can't wait. Dreading the 15.5 hr flight, but I have three unread books on my iPad, 2 movies, a computer, and a lie-flat (they claim) seat. I'll survive.

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