The phone rings at 5 am in the morning. It’s car service. “Can you be picked up in 5 minutes?” No way, we just woke up 5 minutes ago and the appointed time is 5:30. There’s no way we can be ready by then. We hurriedly wash up and get down stairs by 5:30 on the dot.
And we wait. And we wait. And we wait for 10 minutes to eternity.
The driver makes a quick turn from the opposite side, and then a U right in front of us. “Sorry I was late, I was on the wrong street.” He calls in our ride and the dispatcher says 10 dollars extra – we were late. I tell the driver that he had to tell him he was late, which he did , and he got the fare knocked back down.
After a mad-cap ride careening through the Grand Central that only New York cab drivers can pull off, we make it to the brand new Terminal 9 at JFK. American Airlines’ new domestic terminal looks a lot like Terminal 4 (the one in Tom Hanks “The Terminal” movie). Sterile, but much, much better than the old terminal. The only down side is that there are a lot more gates, so that means a lot more walking, if your gate happens to be number 42.
The plane is 20 minutes late departing because it got in late from LAX, and we know we’re not getting food on board (all the carriers are going to a free liquids-only diet, $3 for a snack box, $5 for the emergency K rations with bizzare combos like “ham and cream cheese on a cini-raisin panini”) so we get the Au Bon Pain egg mcmuffin on a bagel contraptions. Never had a jalepeno bagel before, but it was actually pretty good.
The on-board entertainment was “October Sky”, which I never heard about, and the usual CBS shows. They finally smartened up and got Phil from the Amazing Race to host the on-board videos, which included a behind the scenes clip from the production staff. According to the piece, they have 25 camera crews and nearly 2,000 on the ground staff members around the world following the teams, who have to go between 30,000 and 75,000 miles within 28 to 34 days. The guy that has to race the hardest is actually Phil, who has to get to every road block to shoot the stand-up explainations, and then get to the Pit Stop before the racers get there themselves.