Travels #1: An LJs Tale of 2 cities (YVR &SFO) - Part 1 – There and Back again!

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Blog entry by Tony posted 01-26-2008 09:04 PM 1832 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Travels series Part 2: An LJs Tale of 2 cities (YVR &SFO)- Part 2 – The ISO 9000 inspection of Ms Debbie’s work! »

This is the first of two blogs on my visit to Vancouver and San Francisco. This part deals with the travelling to and from America and the second is about my LJ experience.

This blog is also intended as a supplement to Bob #2 blog Traveling post 9-11 in North America.

The travelling between Helsinki and Vancouver, via Frankfurt went without any problems what so ever – we flew with the German airline Lufthansa. The security restrictions for entry into Americas was reduced as of the 1st January 2008, so No need to remove our shoes, or to go through the second security check point.

Arrival at Vancouver, going through the immigration control was really easy and straight forward, a few strange questions, but it was all over in 15 minutes, even with the large queues. Then onto collect our baggage – we just found the carousel, when the first bag on the belt was mine, then my wife’s bags came, our friends bags followed, but I was still waiting for my second suitcase and waiting and waiting – then there were no more bags coming out – Oh S#!T, what a way to start the holiday – went to the baggage claim place and queued for 45 minutes to report the lost piece, just as it was my turn, I got a call, you bag has just come out of the hole. 1 hour 30 minutes later than the rest.

Any way we picked up the limo and got to whistler. I won’t bore you with the details of the holiday, other than to say it was BLOODY expensive there, even with the favourable exchange rate it cost more than double the amount we pay in the Alps! But the skiing was perfect, the best ever.

Ok onto the trip to San Francisco. We booked the flight with Air Canada – so queued and waited to check in, only to be told, that they had subcontracted that flight to United Airlines – So of we toddle with 4 baggage carts and queued in the United queue – got the front of the line and gave our papers to the check-in assistant – only to be told that we had to use there electronic check in machines first – So baggage and carts out of the line, found a machine filled in the necessary information into the computer (which was just confirming the information they already had on file), then back into the United queue again. Then they present us with more paperwork to fill in, why this cannot all be done online, or at least print the forms before you arrive at the airport I do not know. Any way then to US Customs – they guy on the desk was really great, but I was a bit surprised when they took my finger prints and photograph. The customs guy was really patient with my wife, as he waited for her to adjust her make-up and hair before having her photograph taken.

The United flight was a nightmare – I felt like one of the factory farmed chickens, the seating was so narrow, and the knee space was at an absolute minimum – The passenger in front of my wife was a real A## Hole, he insisted on having his seat fully reclined for the whole flight, regardless of our pleas for a little space. WE WILL NEVER FLY WITH UNITED AGAIN they are a shambles.

Arrived in SFO – straight through to baggage claim – no customs or immigration – I liked this very much.
Well the next 4 days are covered in Part two, but the flight home from SFO to HEL, was like the flight out, not a problem Check-in, Customs, Immigration all went like a dream– I am just glad that my wife did not find out that they allowed a 5th suitcase free for a couple (unofficial), other wise Macys shares would have gone through the roof.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

9 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4493 days

#1 posted 01-26-2008 10:08 PM

Ah, the good and bad of air travel. Good blog.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4742 days

#2 posted 01-26-2008 10:32 PM

They only charged you more money than usual because of your accent. They figure you’re either trying to escape your country, or it’s really important that you come to America so they bend you over at the check out counter, and really show you Yankee Hospitality… HAHAHAHA!!!

Hey! Did you get that steel smuggled into your country o.k.? No hassles?
And did you wipe my prints off of it?

View VTWoody's profile


95 posts in 4562 days

#3 posted 01-26-2008 10:59 PM


I would have to agree for the most part about United. I am 6’4” and the knee space on 3/4 of their planes just sucks. I can easily say the same for Air France. I felt like a sardine on the Paris to SFO flight on AF and will never fly them again.

View Tony's profile


993 posts in 4535 days

#4 posted 01-27-2008 12:10 AM

Obi – The steel arrived safely – and YES I replaced your prints with mine. I am so busy with work at the moment it is going to be some weeks before I get around to using it, but I have some ideas.

VTWoody – I have to agree with you about AF as well. I never use them anymore – overpriced and over inflated airline. If you have to long haul in econimy, look for Thai or better still Singapore airlines, failing that Lufthansa is very good.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4526 days

#5 posted 01-27-2008 01:22 AM

Glad it was not all bad for youTony.
They must have heard my bitching and that of several million other travelers because, as you found out ,they have changed the way they approach us during flight travel.
Civilized treatment of civiized people.

I’m glad the changes were for the better.
On another note, i wonder what it will take to get airlines to either give us more space or lock the darn chairs in the upright position for domestic flights. I noticed that West Jet with whom I flew has taken the hint.

Now if I can just get them to stop peddling booze and peanuts!
Hope you enjoyed your trip.

( Don’t even say Macys to me!) LOL


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4582 days

#6 posted 01-27-2008 06:52 AM

The steel was nothing to worry about—-just be glad they didnt find out that you met OBI…lol…

Glad to hear you made it…despite the lack of leg room…

By the way—-HOW WAS NAPA??? It was much colder the day you were supposed to go…but no rain at least!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4556 days

#7 posted 01-28-2008 02:56 PM

I look forward to hearing the rest of the story. I am glad that it is getting better to travel on airlines again. I hope that you enjoyed yourself in the States and hope you come back again.

-- Hope Never fails

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4665 days

#8 posted 01-28-2008 04:37 PM

well, it sounds like it was “interesting” :) Re: the luggage – at least it wasn’t lost.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4602 days

#9 posted 01-30-2008 06:07 AM

The next part should be as fun to read as the trip was to go on. Also, I do not want to hear complaints about United. I flew from SF to Singapore on United in Dec. That was not fun at all. 15 or so hours packed in like a sardine.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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