We arrived at Orlando International Airport without a hitch. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 2:05pm so we made sure to get there by 11:00am, to allow plenty of time for X-ray. X-ray took, literally, approximately 5 minutes. They hand-checked my pocketbook/knapsack but I had made it easier by emptying out just about anything I wouldn’t use on the trip (Target gift card? Nah. Supermarket coupons? Doubtful.) and put everything into ziplocks so even that was quick and painless.

We found our gate and had approximately 2 hours to wait until we boarded, so Joe read his London tourist book and I surfed the ‘net, since I had my computer in my knapsack and MCO has Wifi.

We got onto the plane and sat in 18D and F, booked that way with the hope that no one was sitting in 18E. Unfortunately, someone else did sit in our row, so Joe moved into 18E so we could still sit next to each other (we keep trying the “book the aisle and window seats” trick and I think it has worked a total of 1 time). Beverage service on Continental Airlines has now decreased to “just” beverage…no more 1/2 ounce of pretzels in the impossible-to-open space-age foil/plastic packs. Also, despite not being allowed to bring any liquids onto the plane, the beverage cart went past just one time…you get your 8 ounce beverage of choice in a cup and that’s it (so much for my doctor telling me to stay well hydrated on the plane).

We landed at Newark-Liberty International Airport on time (or maybe a little early) and taxied for what seemed like hours, until we got to our gate. After exiting the plane, we did the marathon walk from Gate 86 to our connection at Gate 121 (a 35-gate difference, with the eqivalent of a shopping mall between the two). Grabbed a slice of Famiglia pizza (Joe insists it’s MUCH better in NY/NJ than it is FL…I barely notice a difference) and waited for our flight to Gatwick to board.

We got to our seats, 18K and L, and were surprised to see that there were people sitting in, not only 18J, but 18L as well. Ms. 18L said she was supposed to be in row 17, which was the bulkhead. After a few uncomfortable seconds where she waited for us to say that we would let her sit in one of our seats (thereby breaking us up and one of us being stuck with bulkhead), she realized that we weren’t going to relent, so she got up and went somewhere further back on the plane. Meanwhile, Ms. 18K, seeing an opportunity to have a row to herself (albeit a bulkhead row), moved one row up, leaving Joe and I with 3 seats to ourselves. Woohoo!

And then, after a freakin’ 65 minutes of sitting in the queue of planes, we were in the air, heading to the other side of the pond.

Since this leg of the trip was scheduled to be about 7 hours long, we had the privilege of not one, but two onboard meals. And what sucky meals they were…lunch consisted of wilted salad with light ranch dressing in a 4″ x 6″ plastic container, beef (or chicken) with noodles and tasteless vegetables in a 4″ x 6″ plastic container, a cold dinner roll with butter and a 1.25 ounce brownie that, in comparison, almost made the vegetables taste decent. Several hours later, we had the joy of joys known as breakfast food on a plane. A warm, but soggy, greasy croissant (so much for the “healthy foods” Continental was so proud to serve not all that many years ago), jelly, a pat of (oh boy, more fats and oils!) butter and some citrus fruit, I think it was sliced grapefruit, that had spent much more time in a can than on a tree.

By the time we finally landed at Gatwick, it was already about 7am (GMT or 2am ET) Saturday…so on to that entry…!