Departing from Tullamarine at 12:20 pm I flew via Sydney, San Francisco and Denver to Orlando, arriving at 12:30 am Thursday, US Eastern Daylight Time.
The flight from Sydney took us over Noumea at sunset. It was dark enough for the lights to be on, but still light enough to see the beaches, lagoons and mountains. This combination made the place look quite enchanting.
The appraoch to San Francisco was over lovely wooded hills which overlooked the beautiful rugged Pacific Ocean coastline.
Immigration clearance at San Francisco was an interminable affair. One very long queue, with no separate lanes for those with electronic passports. Some people got grilled for ages, holding up the entire queue.
I had two hours to change flights, and with half an hour left before departure, I began to grow concerned. So disorganised was the immigration hall that there was no one to speak to about the growing urgency.
Eventually I reached the head of the queue, and in a few seconds was processed and waved on to customs. They, at least were organised, and again within seconds waved me through.
i then ran along the terminal corridor to the domestic departure lounge. Then I hit another queue, an aviation security checkpoint. Here, at least, there were airline staff to assist. They allowed me to pass through a side entry, although I still had to be electronically frisked and to take my shoes off.
By now it was scheduled departure time, and I raced towards the departure gate, which unfortunately was at the end of this branch of the terminal.
Alas, although the aircraft was still at the gate, the flight had, a few seconds before, been closed out, and "No, Sir, we cannot reopen it."
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Text, images and audio Copyright to Andrew Rennnie, 2010