Getting two bikes, in boxes, 4 panniers, two handlebar bags and two camelbaks from Santa Cruz to SFO without using a personal car is as daunting as it sounds. A day prior, we transported the bikes to Julia sister's (Paige) place in SF. Our good friend Allen Peck drove us to Paige's on our departure day and after a few farewells, a large taxi showed up to transport the lot to SFO.
Now the original plan, after saving air miles for years, was for both of us to fly biz class using those miles. Well, United has come up with some interesting and inflexible rules for sharing air miles, so we ended up with one coach and one biz class ticket. At check in, Tomas made sure the agent knew, in vague terms our displeasure. She confirmed Tomas's seat in coach class, Julia in business and as a partial win for us, did not charge anything to ship the bikes. All in all, a good result!
We landed in Heathrow and had 5 hours to kill waiting for the flight to Milan. Tomas suggested since we were flying with BMI to try getting into their business class lounge, using Julia biz class ticket. "Look like we belong" Tomas suggested as we approached the reception desk, and within minutes we were munching on fresh sandwiches, salad, sipping cool drinks and reclining on sofas that overlooked the runway! The layover, and subsequent delay bothered us not at all!
As previously arranged, Villa Grigio's shuttle arrived at the Milan airport and, once again, was large enough for all our gear. Arriving at midnight, fully rested from our naps in the lounge, Tomas reassembled the bikes. Thankfully, all went together well, despite an apparently rough journey. At 3 a.m., sadly it was time to go to bed and the test ride waould have to wait till first light!