My overnight flight on Virgin Atlantic to my second home of London got delayed two hours out of Newark and airplanes switched to a Delta flight. Thus, my upper class reward seat was no more due to different configuration of the plane.
Before you make little violins with your fingers and throw a hashtag of #firstworldproblems at me, I understand that these things happen in aviation. You can’t be upset over something you have no control over. It’s the dickhead tourists and EuroTrash who throw a hissy fit. The common refrain is “Do you know who I am?”
I had three options presented at me at 3:30pm:
— Take that 12:30am red-eye flight out of Newark, be stuck in economy for six hours and get refunded the difference.
— Transfer my flight to JFK-New York for 7:30pm, be seated in Premium Economy, get all amenities of Upper Class (lounge, fast track security and immigration) and receive a free round-trip economy flight to London or 40,000 miles.
— Take any number of flights the next day,
I took the second option even though at that time they called I was in my workout clothes while mopping my kitchen floor. I had three hours to get my ass to JFK at a reasonable time from Jersey in rush hour traffic.
This is exactly the reason why I stress not to put off packing and preparing until the night before or day of departure. Being a season traveler, I packed in stages over three days and prepped my house the night before. My day was stress-free of preparation … until Virgin called.
Like Batman seeing the Bat symbol, I had to spring into action. Freshen up, get my smart traveling clothes on (sportscoat, chinos, chambray shirt, tie, shoes and pocket square) and my suitcase and carry-on out the door.
Getting to the airport, I had to ignore my own guideline — be cheap with transportation. Taking the train to Penn Station-New York and then getting a Long Island Railroad to JFK would be cheap, but it would have been during rush hour. An Uber would put me back $100 and get me there about the same time (80-90 minutes), but I wouldn’t have to drag my crap around a bunch of commuters. As I’ve said, the worst part of traveling is the act of traveling with luggage.
God bless my Uber guy, he was a young college-age kid who had to deal with rush hour traffic on the George Washington Bridge and all various highways through the Bronx and Queens. He got me to JFK at 6pm, leaving 90 minutes to get through check-in, baggage drop off and security. I’ll be sipping fine wine in the lounge before I know it.
Cue sound of a record scratch.
I had maybe 100 feet to walk from the curb to check-in and three people who apparently never been to an airport or handled rolling luggage were blocking those huge revolving doors to get into the terminal.
Then, the people in front of me at check-in had to do that dance of transferring shit from their checked bag to their carry-on because they were over-weight and over-sized. I couldn’t hear what they are saying but I’m sure it included phrases like “I didn’t know” or “Is it possible…”
After my bag drop-off, I proceeded to security with dreams of fast track and a comforting drink at the lounge. What I saw at security could only be described at a queue into hell. The normal line snaked into infinity, the handicap line was 17 deep with wheelchairs (I counted) and fast track had a lot sullen faces not moving.
I’ll spare you the painful humiliation of getting the inner-leg pat down after going through the whirling machine that will probably gave me cancer. I’ll just say this — I’ve been practicing yoga for five years. I am intimately aware how to stand with my legs shoulder width apart. Yogis do it ten times a practice. It’s muscle memory. In any event, I got yelled at by TSA-agent Tubby McTubberson. “Sir, I told you to stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.” I gave him the look that said, “Really, guy?”
End result, no lounge, no quick drink and no real bathroom to use. I can write a novel (and believe me, I will) about how airport bathrooms are the worst places to do your business. You can shit them up, smear your feces on the wall and piss in the air-dryer and nobody would care because when are you going to be in the bathroom again?
Three days until Bilbao!