Is there any better feeling than realising there is an empty seat next to you on a long haul flight?? Apparently yes! Having the whole row to yourself, and nobody in the row behind you, in front of you, and across the aisle from you. Winning. Flying to Phoenix was pretty easy, the movies were good and the food sucked. The landing was more like a rollercoaster though. Not ok.
When I got to Phoenix, I mentally cursed myself out for giving myself such a short layover time. Less than 2 hours to get off one plane and into the air on another. Awesome.
Immigration was actually the smoothest it has ever been, the guy asked precisely 3 questions and sent me on my way to collect my bags, which I totally let go past me because I forgot what my new bag looked like. Then, after clearing customs, I was supposed to drop my bags off at a drop off place before going back through security. Yep. Missed that. Dragged my bags alllllll the way with me to the departure terminal before I realised and had to go back. Idiot.
After getting laughed at by the check-in girls, and told I had a 'cute' accent by one of the nice airport helpers that steered me in the right direction, I was finally bag-free and on my way to security.
Obviously, I went to the wrong one. America is weird and has different security points for different gates. Whyyyyyy??? Cue me running to the other end of the airport!
Finally got to security at 1:15pm. Flight takes off in 45mins. Ahhhh. Perfect time for security to have a giant line and for them to want to search my backpack.
Apparently, the bag of English chocolate in the bottom looked suspicious so the guy had to open it and check ALL the bars. I had 200 Freddos in there. I offered him one and then realised he probably thought I was bribing him. Oops. After a conversation about Doctor Who while we waited for the machine to confirm I wasn't smuggling drugs in the shape of chocolate frogs, I was free,
I could have won an Olympic medal for speed walking at that point because obviously, my gate was the one furthest away from security...
Thankfully, I somehow made it with time to spare and even had a chance to bond with the Australian guy next to me over what it was like wearing contact lenses on flights.
Got on the plane to find I had booked myself and exit row seat. Great job, past me! I sat myself down next to an off-duty pilot and Australian contact lens guy and settled in for the short flight to Vegas.
Turns out, flying out of Phoenix Sky Harbor in a small plane is way worse than flying in on a big one. I think Mr Off-Duty Pilot was worried I was going to open the emergency exit and jump out with the way I was gripping the armrest. Luckily, it was a short flight and I couldn't wait to land in Vegas and not have to fly again for ages. Nothing could be worse than this turbulence.
Wrong. Wrong. So very wrong. Landing in Vegas is HORRIBLE. The worst turbulence ever. I thought I was going to die. BFF even said that her flight had an aborted landing on the way in! NOT OK!
After not dying on landing, and successfully navigating my way to baggage claim (ok, fine, Australian contact lens guy helped me a lot) we were reunited. Apologies to anyone who was at baggage claim around 3:30pm and heard that ungodly shrieking noise. That may have been us. 9 months is too long! Also apologies to anyone on our hotel shuttle who had to listen to us try and exchange 9 months of gossip in one go.
Got to the Excalibur hotel (cue Funtown song to eternally be stuck in my head!), checked in and headed straight for the shower to wash off the stink of 12 hours on a plane.
While making the most of our time in Vegas seemed like the smart thing to do, in hindsight, booking concert tickets for the first night after already having been up for nearly 24 hours was dumb. So dumb. However, we sucked it up and went and partied with Britney before crashing into bed around midnight, promising to see more of Vegas in the morning.