A time to remember
Trip Start Jan 27, 2004
13Trip End Feb 05, 2004
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So the last entry I mentioned that we didn't leave London on time. In fact it was about 8 hours later. They had assured us that someone would be waiting at the gate as we got off of the plane with vouchers and instructions for those of us that had been shuffled from JFK to Newark.
We had faith in the system that the process would be as seamless as possible. The flight was pretty uneventful and we arrived at Newark on time (at least for the second flight that was booked for us.) We got off the plane and there was no one waiting. We asked an attendant and they said that there would be someone waiting at the baggage carousel. That made sense so we went to the baggage carousel to pick up our luggage. No one was waiting there either. We expected someone to be there at least to direct us to the next location but there wasn't. We went through customs and hoped that someone was going to be on the other side of the gate. We saw the Virgin Representative and went over to him.
Upon explaining our situation, which he knew nothing of, he told us that he only works with the first class passengers. He didn't offer to call anyone to find out the info for us he just told us to go to the far end of the building to the area near the taxi pick up and that there should be someone down there. Dragging our luggage, after a long wait in London, a long flight and very little sleep we trucked down to the end of the building. The taxi stand told us that they didn't have any info but maybe we should go upstairs to the counter to pick up vouchers. There were about 25 of us that were being shuffled and run around. I turned to Cory and said I am NOT going upstairs. We are going right back down there to the "first class only" attendant and demanding that he call a representative to help us.
Now I am a person who has worked in the hospitality industry and I know that the unexpected happens. Flexibility in travel is important but you also pay for a service and you expect some sort of return on that money. When we got back to the end of the building that we started out. The Representative that they had sent was surrounded by an angry mob. The mob had been very reasonable when we disembarked the plane but the misinformation and lack of procedures had taken its toll. Even now they didn't have any procedure in place. They didn't set up a queue, the angry mob circled around the attendant. The customers started to fight amongst themselves on who was next. It was ugly. After about an hour we finally got some help. Picked up a taxi voucher and trucked all the way back to the other side of the building to wait for a taxi. The poor driver wasn't exactly sure where our hotel was. He usually transported people from Newark to JFK or to hotels near Newark Airport. It was such a long jaunt that he had to stop and get gas just to make it there.
Our hotel was only about an hour from JFK but it was a very long ride from Newark. We were supposed to be at the hotel at 5pm but we didn't arrive until 2am the this morning. After getting sleep for the first time since we left London yesterday morning we got a good nights sleep. We didn't wake until mid morning. We asked about the hotel transport to the airport, The website that we booked through said that they had transport but failed to say that it was only every two hours. We signed up for a time that gave us enough time to check in for our flight. We had planned this layover to enjoy a little of New York.
We took the subway into ground zero. Of all the things in New York that we had been to this was the one thing that had changed the most. We wanted to pay respect and see one little piece of history, tragic as it is.
Reflecting on history, on where we were that day, reflecting on the spirit of New Yorkers and their ability to adapt, we spent some time learning.
We just barely missed our subway train back to the hotel. That delayed us by about 10 minutes. We were running late and really booked it from the subway stop to the hotel to make our transport time. We were relieved when we saw the transport van still parked out front. We were only 5 minutes late. Inside they told us that we had missed our transport time and that we would have to get a taxi to the airport.
So now we are on our way home after the most challenging trip I have ever had.