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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Airport blues already...

This was typed earlier today in the airport:

This does not bode well. I've been here since 10am and my plane keeps getting further delayed. First it was late getting here. Now, the plane needs maintenance, and apparently, two hours worth. This bird better be flightworthy by the time I get on it. And all this time I keep thinking about how Sunday is going to be so much worse. Or maybe not. At least Sunday, I'll know ahead of time about delays and cancellations. I can plan ahead and not even bother to come to the airport. Only thing is, if I have to miss another day of work because of this storm, I'll have to use a personal day I was intending to use for a camping trip I was going to take with a friend in late September. That might get blown out or moved to sometime in the middle of the week when I don't have to use personal days to get the time off.

Going on four hours in this god-forsaken airport but this is till nowhere near the longest I have spent in an airport. That title goes to a stint that I spent at this very same airport on the way back from Paris in 2002. The scene: I was returning from a month long study abroad trip in Angers, France with 5 of my classmates, anticipating a layover that we were all prepared for. It was probably the reason our flight was so cheap. We were to land at New York's JFK airport at 8pm and then take a cab to LaGuardia to await an 8am flight the next morning. On paper this didn't seem so bad as we thought, incorrectly, that we'd be able to leave the airport, get a hotel and spend some time partying in the city as a final highlight to our trip. The reality of the situation was that by the time we got to LaGuardia, it was 10pm and there was nothing open, no way of checking our luggage until the morning or checking in for that matter. If we'd tried we maybe could have gotten a hotel room for the night near the airport but for what? To wake up at 5am to make sure we made our flight on time? No, we decided collectively to spend the night in the terminal (this very same terminal in which I sit only out in the lobby). We slept in shifts and some of us started hallucinating. But back then, it was fun. Despite the jet lag (considering we had been awake since 7am Paris time) and all that goes along with that, we just powered through. Funny how a few hours in an airport when you don't know when you're getting out of there can seem so much worse than a situation where you know what you're in for.

In the middle of typing that story, I got talking to a woman who was also waiting to fly back to Raleigh, swapping stories and speculating as to when we would actually get out of there and what the best course of action would be. She became my airport friend pretty fast. It came out in conversation that she is actually the owner of the Guglhupf Bakery in Durham, a place that I've been to a handful of times and have always enjoyed. So that was kind of cool. It helps at a time like this to have a friend to go through it all with. Someone to bond with over the shared discomfort and aggravation of airport delays. It's also good to have someone to drink with. She was very outgoing and had already made friends with two French guys who were also flying to Raleigh. At one point, when trying to explain to them what was going on with our flights, she turned to me and jokingly asked how my French was. So I was on the hook and had to try my best to help out. I stuttered out a few phrases but ultimately the jist of what was going on ended up being communicated in simplified English phrases.

So anyway, we were all collectively losing faith in the maintenance crew working on our plane (and I'm starting to wonder when they're going to just swap planes out instead of trying to fix a plane that obviously has a real problem with it). My new friend then proposed that we see about switching flights, a thought that had occurred to me as well. So we started to ask the woman at the desk if there was another flight to Raleigh we could switch to. There was. But not until 3:20. At this point, I think it was around 1pm. So 3:20 was not seeming so bad. At least it was a solid time we could somewhat count on. They were literally announcing every half hour that it would be another hour until our plane was fixed. So, I swapped my ticket out. But it was only a matter of time before the word came down that they were, in fact, swapping our plane out with one that had just landed. So then they were saying the original flight was going to leave before the 3:20 flight. We decided to switch back to that flight because there was one fundamental difference between the 3:20 flight and the flight we were originally on: The 3:20 flight hadn't even arrived yet. The new plane they swapped us to was at least on the ground at LaGuardia and pulling into our terminal.

Once we had all that settled, my new friend and I went and had a drink and I scarfed a burger while she periodically checked back at the gate to see what our status was. We later found out the 3:20 was delayed getting to LaGuardia and when I finally did arrive in Raleigh, on the original flight, my airport friend heard from her friend that our flight was the last one in to Raleigh-Durham airport before they shut down the airport. So the 3:20 flight wouldn't have even made it out of NYC! What luck!

Getting into Raleigh and hearing all this news about airports closing and seeing the dark clouds on the horizon was pretty crazy. But not even the fact that a light drizzle had started to fall kept me from jumping straight into the pool when I got here. Now, I'm sitting typing this blog watching HD TV and hanging out with the family. So glad to be here right now. While I was waiting at the airport I got an automated phone call from US Airways informing me that my flight back Sunday was cancelled. I called right away to get another fight but was already hearing that every flight into NYC on Sunday was cancelled. I managed to book a flight back on Monday afternoon so hopefully, that will be the least eventful travel day of this crazy ass weekend. Meanwhile, it means that I get a full sunny day of swimming in the pool after all. Sunday should be nice.

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