Having free system wide flights on TWA caused quite a discussion as to where to go for the holiday. The Pacific Islands were mooted, but I felt that I was not up to the extremely long flight that this would have entailed. Finally, we settled on a flight to San Francisco via St.Louis, returning from Los Angeles, again via St. Louis. This would enable us to do some form of fly-drive.
The first step was to plan some form of itinerary. Then using the internet, I was able to book hotels for three nights in San Francisco, three nights in Reno, two nights in Las Vegas, two nights in Williams Arizona, and our last night in Los Angeles. I booked the car through “Holiday Autos”. Ten days hire, fully comprehensive insurance, full tank of fuel, no charge for extra driver and no charge for one way rental to Los Angeles. The car was supplied by “Alamo” and was a Buick Century. Good value at £273 for ten days I felt.
Day 1. I don’t think that any one in their right mind actually looks forward to long flights. I know I certainly don’t. It starts with the usual rush to the airport, in our case Gatwick. We are lucky in that we only live 45 minutes from Gatwick, but we had to go to the “Off Airport Parking” to get rid of our car, then into the hospitality coach to be taken to South Terminal. Two hours before flight time always seems a long time to me, but I suppose it takes that amount of time to process all the passengers on these long haul flights.
Finally aboard TWA flight 721 to St.Louis, firmly wedged in my tiny seat with no room to swing a cat. With American Airlines taking over TWA and constantly advertising the amount of seats they have taken out to give their passengers more room, perhaps the policy will spread to the TWA airplanes. The flight left Gatwick at 1145 hrs 19th April 2001 and arrived in St.Louis at 1530 hrs, which was only twenty minutes late. We now had two hours to kill in St. Louis Airport before our connecting flight to San Francisco.
This gave my wife the opportunity to catch up on her nicotine intake. The flight to San Francisco also ran late. In fact we circled the Bay area a couple of times before we actually landed about 45 minutes late at 2015 hrs. Allowing for the eight hours time difference between San Francisco and the UK, from the time we left home in London till we arrived at our hotel in San Francisco we had been on the go for 21 hours. Straight to bed was the only option.