Monday, October 17, 2005

Back Home

Fredericksburg, Virginia 20:00 Saturday evening (delayed post)

As chaotic as it was for me to get to Berlin, getting home was just the opposite. My itinerary called for a flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta, with less than an hour and a half before my connecting flight to Richmond. Having flown this same pair of flights before, I was a bit concerned about making my connecting flight. An hour and a half is plenty of time for domestic flights, but when you arrive from a foreign city in Atlanta, you have to do the following:

  • Go through passport control (15 minutes minimum)
  • Claim your bag (15 minutes minimum)
  • Clear customs (5-10 minutes)
  • Re-check your bag (about 5 minutes)
  • Clear security re-screening (15 minutes minimum)
To make things even more interesting, all international flights use concourse E, and flights to and from Richmond are nearly always at concourse A or B. Best case scenario is I'll arrive huffing and puffing for my Richmond flight and find all the overhead bins full.

Not today...the gods of travel are smiling upon me.

I arrive at passport control, just as about eight windows are being opened up for arriving US citizens. Passport control takes all of 30 seconds.

I get to my flight's baggage claim belt just as the first bags are coming out. Mine is the fourth or fifth one off, and I'm out of there in less than five minutes.

There's a bit of a line at customs, but I'm still done with that in less than five minutes.

Baggage re-check has only a handful of passengers there, and more than enough handlers to move things along. Another 30 second stop.

Security re-screening (why do they have this anyway?) has a bit of a line, but it's moving right along. I'm in and out of there in about five minutes.

I arrive at the B concourse with at least 15 minutes to spare before boarding starts (not before departure!), and have time to grab a smoke in one of the putrid smoking rooms and call Deb.

I'm beat and glad to be back home.

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