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Getting Ready for the trans Europe and trans Asia

After months of preparation, the trip to Beijing and Hanoi (by train) is about to start. This is not just a digital nomad episode anymore: this is where journey and stay merge.

The Pre-travel Anxiety

Most people I know are a bit (or more) anxious when they are about to travel. Under normal circumstances, I can deal with the pre-travel stress pretty well. Not so this time, however. This trip took so much preparing, in a time that I was finishing my book about Antarctica, that I felt pretty stressed out by the time I was about to leave.

Worry, not so much about the travel, but about all the things I could have forgotten. So stay tuned, the next 3 months will show how much of that was justified :-)

This trip, that brings me across Europe and Asia, is mostly about the work I do with digital nomads, and to work on projects with partners. It might look like a vacation, but it feels as a normal days work, in a very inspiring setting.

New York to Boston

Delta Air Lines serves fresh Nathan Hot dogs in the Skyloung in New York - Image by Koen Blanquart

I flew out of La Guardia Airport (LGA) in New York to Boston with Delta Air Lines. It remains surprising that the flight attendants manage to serve us all a drink and get the cabin cleaned up again in the 35 minutes this flight takes.

As I checked in with Delta in LGA, and had a later connecting flight with Virgin, a glitch in the system: A note of concern if you have a status with the Delta Skymiles program and you fly with Virgin Atlantic, even on a codeshare ticket: Virgin Atlantic does not offer their Economy comfort seats to the check-in agents of Delta, so you will end up in a regular economy seat. While if you would have flown a Delta operated flight, you’d probably ended up in a better seat. On top: Virgin is unable to check the status of a passenger in their system, so both for seat assignment and boarding priority, the system might not work as used with Delta.

Boston Logan International Airport

Boston Airport disappointed a bit. Terminal A, where Delta Air Lines arrives, is not directly connected with Terminal E, where codeshare partner Virgin Atlantic departs. The walk between the two terminals will make you remember that carry on better has wheels (I’m on a backpacking trip, so had my workout between the terminals).

The TSA (the Transport Security Administration) has developed a TSA Pre program, where people can be pre-screened and gain access faster (no taking off shoes, no taking out laptop or liquids, … ). In Boston International Airport, however, that system isn’t installed.

While waiting in that slow and long line to get through security, to make things worse, the local restaurant next to security started to give that great smell of lobsters. It made me so hungry. Boston, I’ll be back for that lobster!

The Virgin Clubhouse, Boston

The whole idea behind the clubhouses of Virgin is to make you as comfortable as possible when flying. While the one in Boston can’t even start to live up against the clubhouse in London Heathrow, it’s a pretty cool area to sit, relax, eat a bite and work a bit (I wrote the first draft of this article sipping their excellent latte). The staff at the clubhouses are so keen to make it a great experience. Besides all the downsides of codeshare flights on Virgin Atlantic, the Virgin Clubhouse makes up for much of that!

The Virgin Atlantic Boarding Process

Boarding Process of Virgin Atlantic in Boston Airport

Being used to the Delta boarding process, I was anticipating that Virgin Atlantic would use an equivalent system. The whole boarding process was pretty chaotic, however. No idea if that’s standard for Virgin, or that I just had a bad ticket here.

Boston to London with Virgin Atlantic

Flight time under 6 hours, wow. The flight universe had installed me next to an American author who spends her time between the USA and Switzerland. Every once and awhile the airline gods give us those interesting encounters. This definitely was one of those. We discussed our way through the current events for the better part of the flight. It made the flight even shorter than it already was.

Ready for the trip

The whole journey to London was, of course, to get my Trans Europe and Trans Asia project started. After a day of sightseeing here, I’ll board the train for Paris tomorrow!

Statistics of the #TransEuropeAndAsia project:

Airline distance

Previously flown on this trip: 0 km
+ New York – Boston: + 300km
+ Boston – London: +5255km
New Total: 5,555 km by plane

Train distance

Previously traveled by railway on this trip: 0 km
+ London Heathrow – Paddington station (Heathrow Express): 23km
New total: 23km by railway

Featured image of this post is a photo of a Tintin painting in the Midi Station in Brussels, Belgium.

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