I was awake ahead of my alarm set for 2:30am. As I had planned the night before, all I had to do was do a quick wash and hair brush, put on my clothes, zip the bag, and out the door. Then wait around in the lobby for the van to arrive. There were nine of us all told, taking a 3am van to the airport for 6am flights.
The flight to Amsterdam was nominal, except that although the plane mated to a jetway in Amsterdam, we weren’t allowed to use the gate, but rather went down outside stairs to a bus to be transferred to another part of the airport. This was still in the security zone, at least, but I did have to go through an automated “passport control” point where my passport was scanned and my face photographed by a machine.
The SFO flight was already boarding when I finally reached that gate. For this long flight I had paid an extra $60 for an upgraded seat. Not business class, I forget what they called it, “just slightly more leg room and further forward than the real economy” class. This was money well spent for a 9-hour flight. Nevertheless sitting in one seat for nine hours is not fun. The KLM plane was a good old 747, with the upstairs lounge and all. Its in-flight entertainment system was notably less sophisticated than the Airbus I flew from JFK to Athens. The screen was VGA quality at best and washed out by light from the windows. When I brought up one of its games, the splash screen said “copyright 2005”. Well, carp carp carp; the flight was smooth and landed on schedule.
I felt really healthy striding through SFO getting to the Lyft pickup point. Why not, it was just coming up on 9pm Athens time. That faded through the afternoon until I was very ready for bed after a quick supper at 6, and turned in.