The Choir Trip to England
A Choir Trip to England: Monday, July 20
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By Bonnie and Larry Arnold

It took us, on the second coach, between 6:00 and 7:15 a.m. to get to Gatwick airport, and those early birds were just clearing the first check-in lines.

Back to British Airways

We were down to about two thirds of the 77 people we started with. Steve Ables and his father Billy got a tee-time at St. Andrews Golf Course in Scotland for Sunday and left us at Harrogate. Lynda Ables, Mollie, Sonja and Steve's mother flew to Dublin, Ireland, for a day; and are going on to Scotland from there. About fifteen on our coach were going to a London hotel to join a tour to Scotland, and some others to independent travel in Europe. Susan Worgess stayed one more day to wrap things up. I'm sure she's tired of us, but she says she's not.

One person lost her passport, and was at the airport with luggage, hoping Susan could steer things through the U.S. Embassy that morning in time to get her on the plane. Several people gave her all their remaining English money, just in case she had to stay behind. When she got on the plane just ahead of the door closing, she got applause and cheers, and would have gotten a standing ovation if we could have stood up.

With 'Titanic' showing inside the plane, we could see icebergs outside It was a quiet and dark flight home, for a full daylight flight, between people sleeping and attention to the in-flight movie, "Titanic." In wonderful ironic coincidence, during the movie's second half about the ship sinking we were flying in clear skies over the tip of Greenland. We could see ice floating in the North Atlantic below.

By the time we could see land again, it had to be North America. The fields were all nice squares and rectangles, and the roads wide enough to be obvious from the air. We saw lots of lakes and part of Lake Michigan below at about 5:00 p.m. London time (Dallas time, I don't know).

Back in the U.S.A.

When they opened the door at Dallas, the heat shimmered in the connecting tube to the terminal. Welcome back to Texas!

Clearing U.S. Customs was easier than I anticipated. We claimed bags, handed in a one-page form we had filled out on the plane, and turned the bags back in to the next airline in the same building without having to open anything. Then we had to take the tram to another terminal for the last flight. There was no mistaken information about which gate to go to this time. A few people used the layover to find Mexican food for lunch/supper/whatever! We got to San Antonio about 6:15 PM Texas time, and home about 8:00 PM.

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© 1996 Larry and Bonnie Arnold, updated September 26, 1998