Florida 2009 posted 19 March 2009
Negotiations for a flight and a sunshine holiday were extensive, and thorough, and time-consuming. In fact it took Mrs Monk 18 months to make up her mind about this trip and, before that doing so a thousand times more, and then thinking the better of it another thousand times more.
While we waited for this trip to materialise two American presidents and two British Prime Ministers have ruled the world and showed us the way into financial ruin. God blessed America, and Britannia ruled the waves, so what went wrong?
As this is written, we have been here for three days and you might think the uncertainty was now over, but if you thought like that you would not be familiar with Mrs Monk’s tenacious capacity for discontent with hotel accommodation. There have been multiple incidents so far and possible grounds for litigation, at least from Mrs Monk’s perspective.
We are now on our third hotel room but we have four more days to go and anything can happen and almost certainly will.
We began at the Orlando Airport Hotel, where we recovered from our Virgin flight, mercifully half empty, because the economy sucks and Britain’s beautiful children are in school learning, learning learning while monks are stretching, stretching, stretching on an empty flight costing Mr Branson dearly maybe, but oh such leg room, such glorious leg room.
We go back a long way with Virgin and we feel that they still owe us for other less than satisfactory journeys so we are not exactly overcome with pity for the Virgin pickle they are currently in. They were obliged to reduce the fare to less than half of what we paid on previous trips and still the plane was half empty, As soon as we arrived at the checking desk the negotiation for upgrade was underway. Mrs Monk wished to negotiate an upgrade using our air miles, but Virgin man was out to sell an upgrade in exchange for hard cash. We learnt that 48,000 air miles, which sounds like a lot, has no actual meaningful value. We learnt that we could use air miles if we would also part with hard cash. £300 per person for the round trip. Are Virgin Atlantic Air mile points pointless?
Thus Mrs Monk changed tack and sought advantage by asking for the much sought after bulkhead seats and hammered home her point by mentioning her special need. “I am a diabetic,” she said.
We learnt that bulk head seats were indeed available but that Virgin would demand a surcharge of £50 per person each way for these privileged seats.
Mrs Monk was tempted but I put my foot down, and said that I would rather take a regular seat where I could not put my foot down because I am such a freakishly unusual six foot tall man.
My sarcasm was wasted but when we boarded we noticed that no one had parted with the £50 and the bulk head seats were untaken.
We fought off competition and squatted in the seats for free.
Virgin had the last laugh by serving us one squalid meal not fit for human consumption and ignoring us for the remainder of the 9 hour journey.
We passed through immigration and despite completing the normal landing card on line; we were advised to complete the landing card as normal. This took four attempts by two people due to minuscule confusing instructions and draconian warnings that crossings out would not be acceptable.
To be continued .........