Sunday, 21 April 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 1: Flying and Landing


I haven't blogged for 2 weeks! But I have been writing everything down nearly everyday so that I can put these posts up quickly. So for the next two weeks you will see a full account of my adventure with Miss Pinky in Dallas, and I will try and be as informative as I can if you plan to go out to Dallas... :D Happy reading! (Still jet lagged by the way)...

Saturday 6th April

Following on from the trip to Ireland, it was decided that Miss Pinky and I would be going for a long haul flight. So which place to go to? Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia... Blah, blah, blah. Nope. It was decided we would be going to Dallas. That’s Miss Pinky’s choice, not mine. So why Dallas Miss Pinky? Why? (A lot of people have asked me this question when I said I was taking two weeks off work to go to there, but only one person seemed to understand the reason why...)... Well according to her, she’s been wanting to go to Dallas for the past 3 years (a bit longer than that really ¬_¬ guess how many years?). No idea why. I think Dallas the programme has made her decide to go there. Well, it’s my first time going to the USA, so why not. JF Kennedy was shot in Dallas. They have good food (but over-portioned). And it’s a good experience. Something to tell the family and friends in the future about.

On day 1, we met up, I forgot my bank card and so I had to rush home. Arrrrgh! Thankfully we were not far. Then next came a dispute with Miss Pinky and her family plus me about luggage weight, and so on so forth (because I know she's going to buy things, but she said she won't, yeah right!), which we then took the tube to Heathrow. We did the electronic boarding and went through security... All the boring stuff...

Next it was time to eat. We noticed one cafe / restaurant called Dining Street, so we went in (not realising there were other restaurants at the other end of the terminal. Miss Pinky had the Dining Special. A normal English breakfast without the tomatoes and the mushrooms but with an extra (two - by mistake) hashbrowns.
The menu cover

Breakfast at Heathrow Terminal 4
I had the Breakfast Burger. It was bloody good! (Excuse my language. I started writing this post on the flight to Dallas, was so bored as the TV was boring, which I will explain in a moment...
... and Miss Pinky started to spy on what I was writing at this point... It’s my blog. I don’t care!) Tasted like a normal burger. But the burger is made out of pork sausage not beef.
Breakfast Burger - messy but yummy
Miss Pinky rated this place as “not exceptional” due to a lack of service even when we tried to stare and get some attention!!! Hahahahah. It's funny to see what people classify as service. Be attentive or be ignorant?

My geeky rating: 3/5

After this we walked around, changed some of our cash (by the way it’s better to go to a high street store to change your currency... Airports are expensive as recommended by Miss Pinky, plus it is better to order your currency online and collect it at the airport as recommended by a staff member). Then finally we boarded!
Flying with UNITED
It’s my first time on UNITED airlines so I didn’t know what to expect. For one thing they only served us one main meal on this flight compared to other airlines I have been on. When I go to Hong Kong, they always serve two meals, a breakfast and a lunch or dinner. On this flight, I got to eat lunch only. Chicken breast with shitake mushroom sauce, carrots and surprisingly macaroni cheese!! Wow, this is a combo I never would have thought of. But it really tasted good!!
Airplane food
Miss Pinky had the beef option which she said tasted good. XD (I deleted the picture by accident... Whoops).

Compared to other flights I have been on this one was ok. Although the entertainment value wasn’t great. Most long haul flights these days would have a tilted monitor that’s in front of you. And there’ll be games for you to play on. Is UNITED a budget airline like easyJet? I don’t think it is!! It sadly loses marks from this flight. I wish there were more films to watch or better entertainment shows... (which I did experience surprisingly on the return flight home... Flight service is not consistent for small or large planes).
And it didn’t help for the two guys who sat in front of us who tilted their seats making it awkward for us to watch anything! That’s what you get for Economy class I guess!! :P
So far so good. I had the window seat which Miss Pinky said it was ok for me to have. This meant I took a lot of pictures of the plane wing, clouds and America! :D
Flying above North East Canada

Miss Pinky bought this neck rest for me from Primark! Cute!

Flying over Texas somewhere

Almost in Houston!
Then it was landing time. We had a connecting flight via Houston, Texas... That was not a good idea I tell you, not a good idea at all. We landed on time. We had an hour to get to our next flight. BUT! We had to pass through immigration and collect our luggage before we got onto the next flight. Now that was not fun. I wish I took a picture of the queue, because it was massive! The immigration service is there, but there weren't enough staff that could facilitate the service. The U.S. have so many people so why can’t they maintain their service? For one thing there are 5 terminals . And the place is HUGE! So we missed our connecting flight as we only had an hour in-between flights. It was the worse connection service ever! In other countries or probably in other states even this probably does not happen. You don’t usually see your luggage in between flights, but we did. :( I suggest if you ever come to Dallas and you want a cheap flight, don’t connect via Houston as there is not enough time in between. OR the service provider (I used Expedia, but I assume it’s not them who booked or changed the flight times) should think again about what flight times they should give to passengers. Luckily when we got to our gate the Customer Service team were able to give us a new flight time. Apparently this always happens according to another passenger who also missed the same connecting flight. Miss Pinky says I was being very optimistic that we’ll be able to get our flight... Well, I always have to think positive, my job involves planning which is supposed to make things happen. And her job is mainly to fix the problem on the spot!

The actual connecting flight was GREAT! No complaints there. We even got good leg space. :D The flight was less than an hour too!
Finally at Dallas Fort Worth
Finally it was time to go to the hotel. I had booked the Hawthorne Suites, which is less than half an hour from the International airport, and about 15 minutes by car from Love Field airport. We took a shuttle which cost US $25 (approx. £16) per person. We were supposed to wait for half an hour, but our driver was awesome and didn't wait! However I suggest people should take a taxi. I think it’s cheaper than a shuttle maybe (make sure that person puts the meter on!).

We got to the hotel and Reception was great! (Miss Pinky asked so many questions, and there was always an approximate answer. She loved that!). Both of us were tired and hungry. We had no food except for two packets of noodles which Miss Pinky did not want. So we got a taxi from Reception. The driver got to us within less than 5 minutes! Wow. And he took us to the nearest Chinese takeaway which was near a local gas station... (and I later noticed it was near Inwood / Love Field Train Station).

Miss Pinky and I had ordered our food in two places, and then we had a look around in the gas station shop. 
Chinese and fried chicken for Miss Pinky

Lo Mein and fried dumplings for me :D
We tried to buy beer, but unfortunately the person at the counter said we needed a US government passport or a driver’s license to purchase that! What nonsense are we hearing here?! We are over the age of consent for goodness sake. We’re not even US citizens... We’re helping the US economy :P … This was not a very good experience. But it got better when we explained to our taxi driver what happened who kindly purchased some beer for Miss Pinky, and had also said that it was not right for that shop assistant to do that... SO either the till person didn't like us or didn't understand we were foreign and would have no US documentation except for our waiver which was not valid for her. O_O Clueless? Yes, me too!!

Eventually we came back, ate and went to sleep... Snore, snore... :D

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