Time to leave… Today, we woke up at 6:30, checked out of the Marriott Grosvenor Square, and walked to the Bond Street tube. We took the tube to Victoria, where we arrived just before 7:45 AM. There wasn’t enough time to catch the 7:45 AM Gatwick Express, so we took the next train that left at 8 AM. Once again, we grabbed croissants and coffee at the patisserie in station. We arrived at Gatwick around 8:30 and went to the check-in desk. Before obtaining a boarding pass, you need to first clear security (special for US-bound flights). If you have read my saga about the no-fly list, you know this is going to be fun…

The Gatwick police woman armed with PDA took our passports and then told me that I was on both the “selectee AND no-fly list”. Unbelievable! She then asked me to please come with her. After looking at the info on her PDA further, she said it was her mistake and that I was actually cleared from both lists. She still made me explain myself to her supervisor, the manager of security at Gatwick. After finally clearing this hurdle, went through “traditional” screening and into the main shopping concourse. I picked up a couple of CD’s at the Virgin Megastore while we awaited our gate number to be posted. The inbound flight into Gatwick from Charlotte was delayed by about one hour, pushing back our departure by about the same.

We encountered secondary security at the gate, where we were then “locked in”. This seemed a bit odd, but I think that security had been heightened due to it being close to September 11. Our total flight time back to Charlotte was about 9 hours. The food was better this time (baked chicken and ravioli-like pasta were the choices, served with good Italian cheese and crackers, Toblerone, lemon mousse, croissant with butter, and a pre-landing snack of turkey roll). Our flight path took us from Gatwick to Newfoundland, along New England coast to Hartford, then NYC, PHL, and DC, before landing in Charlotte. We cleared customs and immigration without issue (my Irish bog brick and all). We missed our original flight to RDU due to our late arrival, but took the next one. Our flight time to RDU was 25 minutes. We arrived at the terminal and claimed our baggage. We took a cab home, and greeted our kitties at door. After ordering a NY Pizza (pepperoni) we spent the rest of the night emptying suitcases. All in all, a great trip!

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