Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Travel day from HELL and friends from HEAVEN

On the way from NYC to Charlotte, NC I wanted to punch some suckers in the face.  I am a patient traveler & don't figure there's any use complaining about things that are out of my control, but seriously, dude, it was a rough day.

My NYC morning was rainy but we decided to walk Central Park anyway and got soaked to the bone.  Which meant that I had to throw my wet clothes in a plastic bag and partially unpack to get dry clothes out & then re-pack, and that I was kind of freezing so I layered hardcore but once I got into the subway, hefting my suitcase & two carry-on purses up & down stairs, I was frying.  It is not fun trying to remove layers of semi-wet clothing on a crowded New York subway with luggage precariously tipping at every stop.  At least, because of the debacle of getting into NYC (which I didn't go into detail on here but trust me, it was a debacle), I took all the right trains & made it to the airport in plenty of time.

Plenty of time because, it turns out, my flight was delayed an hour.  This is after my original direct flight to Charlotte had already been canceled and I'd re-booked onto a new flight with a layover in Boston.  An hour's no big deal, so I read and we boarded, and we sat there... and sat there... and sat there.  Finally we got word that due to inclement weather, we were delayed two more hours, and everyone had to get off the plane.  Groans all around.

Well, this meant I would miss my connecting flight, so I got in line to fix that and stood there the entire two hours.  When they called us to board, I was the 2nd person from the front & they told me I had to go wait in another line!  No way.  I refused & the guy conceded but had no good news.  I would miss the last flight out of Boston and there's only one more flight to Charlotte from JFK but it's full.  He told me I could fly standby but with my All-You-Can-Jet pass, that sort of change incurs a penalty of $100.  No way; this was not my fault.  He couldn't help me & the line at the help desk was out of control so I called jetBlue customer service & got connected to an agent just as they were calling final boarding for my flight.  Trying not to panic, I explained my situation and asked for her to please, please waive the fee and she agreed.  Whew.

BUT she couldn't put me on the standby list; I had to see the help desk for that.  Sigh.  So I got into another line.  When I finally reached the front, all the agents but one went on their break.  Really??  The agent who stayed (bless her!) was very nice and acknowledged she could waive the fee, but for some reason, couldn't get me on the standby list.  She had to call her supervisor, who had to call her back, and I was probably standing at the desk for 45 minutes.  Fiiiiiinally, I was put on the list and, fingers crossed, walked over to wait at the gate.

The plane started boarding, the gate agent called out one name - not mine - and then said, "sorry everyone else on standby, there are no more seats."  Fuuuuuuudge.  I sat down on the floor and cried.  Yup.

Oh, and by this point, my phone was dead because I'd had to call jetBlue so many times, and I couldn't even call my friends that were picking me up from the airport.  Thank God for free wifi and Facebook.

Resigning myself to sleeping on the floor - since not only were all hotels I found online booked up, but they couldn't even give me a real ticket for the next flight out so I'd have to be back at the airport at 4am to get a boarding pass - I went to the bar, where the bartender had just seen what happened and gave me a free glass of wine.  So nice.

I managed to nab a weird little couch at the end of the terminal for my bed and met another AYCJ-er traveling solo so we traded off watching each others bags & guarding our coveted sleeping spots.  All my toiletries were in my checked bag but luckily I had my eye mask, neck pillow and ear plugs, so I did manage to get, oh probably 3 hours of sleep.

The next day, waking to the sound of floors being cleaned and polished, I blinked my contacts clear, got my boarding pass, got a coffee, and finally boarded a plane.  ...Which then, of course, was delayed.  We sat on the runway in NYC for about 45 minutes and then when we landed in Charlotte, they had no open terminals so we sat on the runway there for about an hour, and then when we pulled into the terminal, the jetway was broken and they weren't authorized to pull up a stairway, so we sat there for another hour.

I wanted to cut a bitch.

Everyone around me was complaining - I'm missing meetings, this is ridiculous - and I just sat there loathing everyone and everything, thinking miserably to myself:  I've been in an airport or on a plane since 1pm yesterday!!!!  GRRRR!  As my friend Jen would say, what fresh hell!

BUT.  We finally did disembark and I guess bad luck figured I'd gotten clobbered enough because magically my bag, which had gone to Boston without me and taken the first flight from there to Charlotte, was waiting at the carousel.  I used a pay phone (remember those?) to call my friends & then suddenly, joyfully, there they were and I was whisked away from the evil airport to their welcoming home.

So my two day trip to Charlotte got shortened to 19 hours, but my friends took me for shrimp & grits and sweet tea, blew up the air mattress for an afternoon nap, and it is indescribable how just being around them made me feel infinitely better.

We went to a museum where we spent some time checking out their platform shoe and haute couture exhibits, then had a make-your-own-pizza party in our pajamas, falling asleep all piled up on the couch and air mattress watching a movie.  It was so lovely.  You girls are the best.

At 4am I got up again & T took me to the airport (thank you so much, girl!) for my 6am flight to Houston.  I boarded the plane and immediately fell asleep.

(PS - I still love jetBlue; the problems were with the weather and the airports, and everyone from jetBlue I talked to did their best to help me).

I am so happy and grateful for:
~ eyemasks & earplugs
~ patient friends
~ safe flights

 xo!  n.


  1. Wow. Wow. Wow. That wins a gold medal for travel day from hell!! I love reading about all the different places you are visiting - I think Portland may be my favorite so far. I'm looking forward to hearing about Houston, and hopefully your travels are much smoother this time! Enjoy!!

  2. ...and people wonder why I prefer road-trips. At least you didn't catch one of those NYC super death-bugs, which JFK spreads to the rest of the world like a fungus.

    Hope Houston and George Bush Intercontinental treats you a lot better.

  3. Boooooo to the weather, the inconsiderate business people and airports for not making sleep-able couches - what is that all about???!


  4. Happy Friday
    Maybe your next journey should be by train?
    Glad you are safe.


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