Pre-boarding priviledges – the journey home

Mummy couldn’t believe her ears when the staff at the boarding gate told us to go to the pre-boarding queue!!!!

You see, there were after all priviledges flying with me other than just being your companion, Mummy! ūüôā

It was time to leave. After a hurried morning of last-minute errands, we jumped into a Dial 7 car service. ¬†Mummy had to tell them I’m going in the car to get the right driver. In fact, all week we were in the Yellow Cabs and we didn’t have any issues about not being picked up. If it was Darcy, would things have been different?

As we rode to the airport, we looked back at the Manhattan skyline longingly and wished we had a couple more days.But it would have been two more frenzy days Рbut we can always return, right, Mummy?

We checked in at KLM Airlines without any difficulty –But there was another passenger who had two dogs. One was going in cargo and she was taking the other one in cabin but apparently the one in cabin was too heavy and she was refused. She had to buy a large crate big enough to put the both of them inside to go in cargo. The staff who was checking us in then started asking Mummy all the questions she didn’t ask before.¬†Like how much did I weigh? 6kg. OK. And a few others (Mummy forgot what they were) – but we passed all of them!

Mummy asked the staff at check-in if I could walk on the leash in the airport and was told I could. When we got to the first person¬†at security he stopped us and said unless I was a service animal I had to be in the bag. Mummy told him,”Everyone seems to have a different rule. We are¬†getting such conflicting¬†instructions.” But he was adamant that I had to go in the bag. So in I went. But when we got to the actual security, they insisted that¬†I MUST be out of the bag! Mummy happily took me out again.And I stayed out till it was time to board.

As we got ready to stand in the queue – that was when the staff member spotted Mummy carrying me and told us to stand in the pre-boarding section. I think Mummy¬†skipped all the way there and had a good chuckle! And there I sat¬†quietly next to all those kids who were speaking¬†loudly, causing a lot of commotion, babies were crying and that little boy actually kicked my bag! He got told off by the staff and his mother! Tsk! Tsk! ¬†Don’t you do that, little man. ¬†If I was not in my bag, I could have nipped you!Finally the plane staff arrived and we could board. We were on¬†an overnight flight and while I slept, I think Mummy watched three and a half movies.

Six and a half hours later, good morning Netherlands!We’re back in EuropeMummy managed¬†a quick breakfast at the airport before we got¬†on another train to Rotterdam. ¬†We had time to spare before we finally got on the Sprinter from Rotterdam to Hoek van Holland International.Finally we found¬†a patch of grass to relief myself. ¬†So happy!!!

We had lots of time before they even scanned me and checked my Pet Passport. And then the very, very long walk up the ramp to the ferry.As we entered the ferry to the Guest Services desk, we passed all the areas that were off-limits to dogs.
I had a good look around to see¬†what we were missing out. And as Mummy walked me¬†down the stairs to Level 8, I knew this place all too well.I wasn’t happy. Mummy made me a bed with the duvets they offered. And she said goodbye. I think she was tired and wanted to get to her cabin and take a nap.A few hours passed before¬†she came back to give me my dinner. As she did so, all the other dogs started barking – especially this guy in the kennel underneath mine.But Toby, the goldendoodle, just sat placidly and watched what was going on.While¬†Pixie, the Yorkshire terrier was very yappy and scared while Lucky next door was very quiet. We found out later than she’s 16 years old and quite blind.

We have arrived in Harwich International. Mummy took me to the outside deck for dogs to do our bit …But I have never liked going out there.¬†It’s scary.¬†¬†Toby didn’t want to use that facility either.¬† Neither did Lucky and Pixie. I think we’re all afraid of looking over at the deep, deep ocean – just in case we lost our balance and fell overboard!

We had to go through Immigration at the terminal. We were the first ones there with a queue behind us. The lady at the desk asked lots of questions about me – what breed, how old, where we’ve been – not because of any immigration issues but because she thought I was the handsomest little black dog ever! LOL! Mummy was very conscious that there was a queue behind us and she was quite embarrassed to have stood there talking about me! The lady finally let us go and she said with a big smile, “We love dogs here!

There’s usually a¬†train for London Liverpool Street Station waiting for the passengers to get off, but when we saw this sign on the train, we gasped!¬†¬†No way!!!! Surely we left Amsterdam this morning!!! ¬†This was a nightmare!!!
We were assured it was just the name of that carriage. LOL!

We took the next train to Manningtree and then changed over to the intercity¬†train that took us to¬†Liverpool Street. We arrived in London at about 10pm. Mummy thought for a moment since we’ve been travelling all day we should just keep going and take the number 11 bus which is just outside the station. ¬†You know the one that took us past all the London sights? Now, that would have added another hour plus to our travels. ¬†Thanks to that piece of very heavy luggage, she thought better and ordered a taxi. Phew!¬†What was she thinking?!?!?! We arrived home past¬†10.30pm. That was more than 24 hours of travelling from door to door. The world is indeed a very big place. Or did I complicate matters?Hello London!

We did not forget you while we were away.May’s comment:¬†It was a long way to get home but now familiar with the stations and routine, I was also able to make the best use of the waiting times. We did it at a leisurely pace. We had five hours to kill before we embarked¬†Stenaline ferry. That said, we still had to get from Amsterdam to Hoek van Holland. Just in case there were any delays and did not want to be caught out, we made sure we got there in plenty of time. But we had time for a quick breakfast at Schipol Airport. Yes, dogs were allowed in these eating places. After a week in New York, I was hesitant each time I entered anywhere that served food.

There were indeed two trains to Rotterdam cancelled. We jumped on a Thalys train on its way to Paris and had to pay more, but thought it was worth it. I was starting to think there could be problems with the tracks.

I felt better getting to Rotterdam and then waiting as its only a short 30 minute train to Hoek van Holland. We’ve been through this route so many times and each time I find out something new. We still had about three¬†hours before we could even board and I wanted to get on the internet. Found a sweet cafe on Platform 1, behind the Regus business centre (which did not allow dogs) where we sat to kill an hour and was productive catching up with the world we were returning to. So even though we took a¬†train a whole hour and a half later, we still got to the ferry terminal¬†way too early. But it gave us time to walk George around and gave him a chance to pee on grass rather than concrete! He was delighted.

Love KLM. I am now a convert and will use KLM to fly abroad whenever I needed to. If you stick to the rules, the animals can go on board. Travelling with George from that aspect was easy Рhe weighs 6kg and his Sleepy Pod Air was perfect for travelling on planes.  Whoever thought I would have pre-boarding priviledges flying with a dog?!?!?!

I’ve also learnt that their partner airline, Delta Air allow small pets to fly nationally. ¬†A friend flew up from Miami in Delta and there were three dogs on board – out of their bags!

I’ve also learnt a lot about “service dogs” in America … hmmm. Must look into that for next trip. :). At every restaurant they said, with a wink, if you have the service dog tag and documents, they would be allowed in.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Again and again and it gets easier each time. George has also learnt to be a good traveller. As for that Sleepy Pod Air, I thought he just fitted. Actually it was big enough for him to change directions! He decided he didn’t need to keep his eyes on me anymore unlike the first trip, he turned around and I found him facing the other way when it was time to get off the plane.

 

4 Comments

  1. Sian

    I have so enjoyed your trip!! I would look forward to daily updates! I hope a trip to Chicago is in your future. We seem to be a bit more dog friendly than NYC.

  2. Cheryl

    That was a fast trip! It seems like you just got here and then turned around and left. And your travel is exhausting just reading it, I can’t begin to imagine how tired you must be. I’m glad you returned home safe and sound!

  3. Raquel

    What a trip! I would love to take Beans with me to Brazil where my family is but she is 13kg ūüėĪ! A couple of years ago I flew S√£o Paulo to Miami and there was a small dog in the lounge out of his bag. UK has to change the way they deal with dogs in the cabin. glad you are home same and sound!!

  4. Sally

    Love reading about all your adventures. Can’t wait to see Darcy back with you and George and hear how she got on st House of Mutt x

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