So after spending over 20 hours on a plane from Canberra –> Sydney –> Dallas, Texas –> Orlando, Florida I am pooped. By the time I got to Orlando I was so over America and so tired that I was teary every time I encountered a… “challenge”. So here’s a few tips for you guys who are travelling through America, or things to avoid.
1. Prepare to be pleasantly annoyed by security staff.
After having to unpack all my on-board luggage and clothes for security check and then putting myself back together again I was asked by security staff if I wouldn’t mind/I would have to ‘or else’ be subject to an explosives test. I was fine with this in Canberra, but then got asked again in Sydney. And they kindly wait until you’ve regained your bags and clothes and packed yourselves back up again before they ask you to unpack it all.
This does seem a bit whingy at first, but it is actually quite frustrating!
2. Look up all your duty free rules before entering the country.
I looked up duty free allowances and everything before I left and thought I had it all under control. They don’t sell Bundy Rum in America, so I thought I would buy some for my friend; well under the alcohol limit and everything. It was fine as on-board luggage to Dallas from Sydney, but since I was rushed through check-in in Dallas for my next flight, I literally had no time to put it in my check-in luggage. At the security check it was confiscated because it was over 100mL, even though I had bought it in duty free, it was sealed and I had the receipt and all! So I now know the hard way that duty free liquids are only allowed on-board in international flights, whether the domestic flight is connecting or not, and after spending 16 hours on a plane over night, this is the last thing you want to happen!
3. Book plenty of time between connecting flights.
Between my first flight from Canberra to my next flight leaving Sydney, I ended up getting just under an hour to buy my duty free, collect my tax back from my camera and get to where I needed to go. It’s do-able but rushed! My stop over in Dallas was supposed to be something like 3.5 hours, but by the time you calculated in the plane being half an hour late, spending nearly 1.5 hours in passport processing in Dallas and going through check-in security I was late for my boarding. Luckily my plane was delayed an hour which gave me enough time to change into my summer clothes and go to two different terminals trying find my flight gate, but if I was doing this again, I would leave at least 5 hours in between flights. It isn’t a great feeling being rushed all the time, and I was exhausted by the end of it all.
I’m in Florida which is 14 hours behind us, but after only managing to get about 4 hours sleep over the whole time and landing late at night, I have coped quite well with jet lag. This might also work for any of you going through such a time difference. Taking so many flights was new to me, and I certainly learned a lot, but hopefully you can take something from this when you book your flights.