5:40am. Funny, we've only been to Manchester Airport twice before, and that was two years ago in a time of great stress. But we can recognize it instantly! A sneak peek at the station for our last UK train sighting - 170303 in Dynamic Lights livery. Farewell! Try to get along OK without us!
5:55am. Check in is very slow. Part of the problem is that they need an address in the USA to put on our luggage. Just after Rosuav writes out the necessary information, Traal's battery dies! In the absence of wifi that means all the info which had been held in Firefox tabs is gone. Major problem.
6:40am. With nothing to do until boarding opens, the boys look for breakfast. A bacon roll? £3.35 is a lot, it better be good. It isn't. When talldad talks about airline food, he really means airport food.
7:20am. Our gate still hasn't been announced, and we're supposed to close boarding in 10min! Ah at last - Gate 9.
7:45am. We're on the plane, and it actually looks like we might be off on time. An amazing effort on the part of the crew.
7:59am. Push-back - 1min early. Wow. It takes 17min to get to the runway, but still.
8:52am. THUMP! Wheels on tarmac wakes Midga from slumber. He amuses me sometimes. Same as at Manchester we use airstairs, no bridge. Makes things faster as they can open both doors.
9:15am. A spot of bother as Midga's passport doesn't have a stamp to say he entered the UK. He explains what happened and gets through.
10:03am. US customs had a long queue, so just as we got through our flight was being called. Don't want it any closer than that.
10:13am. We're on the plane. Another Airbus - sighs. Last time, we hope.
10:39am. Push back, nine down.
5:01pm. The captain has just informed us that we're getting close to New York. We don't yet know which runway we're getting - if we get the far one we fly over two additional states we wouldn't fly over with a direct approach. And that would add FIVE minutes to our flight time!
5:30pm. Landed and taxiing. We remember this from the trip out. Next time we take this trip (ha ha!) we fly from Greenville, not New York. Change of time zones - it's now 12:30pm.
2pm. We have our luggage, got some internet time and know our flight details. Pressure off. Now find some food, they're not going to give you much on the two short domestic flights.
3pm. Our flight is now on the screens so we decide to get to our gate - it's as likely we'll find wifi there as here. Check in is upstairs, and we're the last to check in for our flight. Might have been worth going early maybe. The x-ray is a madhouse - several hundred people all wanting to go through.
3:45pm. We're at the departure gate - the flight is scheduled for half an hour from now! We go through and they herd us onto a bus to get to the plane. Quite a bus! The driver's cab is across the full width like a Citadis, but it takes up about 4m of the bus's length. And the body is about 2.7m wide... obviously a special job for airport work. We get to the plane... and it's an A320! I thought we were finished with European rubbish!
4:55pm. After a long boarding time and an even longer taxi, we're off at last. The captain reckons we'll be at Detroit early though - hope so as we have a connection to catch.