Sunday, April 13, 2008

Now Jetblue's gotten in on the action...

Apparently, it's not enough that the MTA's out to get me. No. Now Jetblue has to get in on the action. Let me elaborate.

Yesterday, I was booked on Jetblue Flight 30 out of JFK airport at 10:55 pm. I expected the light to be delayed; these late flights are always delayed. Fine. I checked in during work and printed my boarding pass so I wouldn't have to wait in line once I got to the terminal. I took a car service through terrible traffic, and finally arrived at the airport at 8 pm, because, quite honestly, I am anal retentive about showing up to flights early. Drives my BF nuts.

I walk into the terminal and look at the board to figure out which gate I'm supposed to go to. I find my flight, follow the line over, and...cancelled. What?! Never has my flight been cancelled. Yes, it's foggy outside, but, dude, that's why airplanes have guidance systems. We've flown in fog before. Hell, I've flown in blizzards before.

Frantic, I approached the customer service desk, knowing that I had to be calm and non-confrontational as advises. I explained my situation to the counter girl. My flight's been cancelled, I'm supposed to go home. I know that there's another flight out to Rochester, scheduled to leave in a half hour, but it's been delayed to 11:30 pm. Is there any way I can get on that flight?

"Rochester, NY?" she asks. I affirm. "I'm from Rochester. Let me see what I can do. I'm not really supposed to do this, but..."

She doesn't put me on stand-by. She actually puts me on the flight. She transfered my ticket from my cancelled flight to the earlier, delayed flight, giving me one of the last available seats. I wanted to climb over the desk and give her a huge kiss right on the lips.

I hauled my ass to security. The line was long, but whatever, it usually moves quickly enough. Halfway to the metal detector, I realize that none of my toiletries are in a ziploc, as is required by the airlines since 9/11. I get one from the security guard and search through my purse for my makeup, lotion and deoderant. Thusly secured, I grabbed a bin in which to put all of my things. From behind me comes an Indian gentleman who screams, "Let me through! I'm late for my flight!" Behind him is his wife and six, yes six! children. Small ones. Each with its own carry-on. Luckily, the dude right in front of me refuses to let the guy through, so we progress as expected. Then, suddenly, the dude in front of me yells for the security guard to reverse the belt through the x-ray, because he needs to get something out of his bag, so the rest of us, who have our stuff lined up on the counter, have to back up...we can't without stuff falling on the floor. I tell him we can't, that there's no room. "I have to get something out!!" he yells in my face. He actualaly reaches inside the scanner and tugs out his guitar case, opens it, pulls out a paperback novel (I kid you not) and allows the line to move on.

Finally getting to the gate, I look around for a seat. There are none. It is packed. Uttrerly. It seems that every single flight - and I do mean every single flight - has been delayed. I overhear a woman saying that she'd been at the airport since 4 in the afternoon. A announcement comes over the loud speaker that a plane has landed and people cheer.

My 8:30 flight, which has been delayed to 11:30, shows up at 11:20. We finally board at 12 am. I am between a young woman, drunk, who promptly falls asleep on my shoulder, and another woman, the talkative type, who's not wearing any shoes. As we back out of the gate and rumble onto the taxiway, the pilot comes over the loud speaker.

"Good evening, ladies and gentleman, and welcome to flight 36 out of JFK to Rochester, New York. I apologize for the delay in getting the plane to you, and thank you for your patients. Today's flying time should be a short 54 minutes once we're up in the air. However. It seems we're 45th in line for take off, so we'll be taxiing for about an hour and a half. Hang in there, and we'll get you to your destination shortly after 2."

The drunk next to me wakes up, yanks out her ear phones and shrieks at me, "What did he just say? FUCK!"

True to his word, an hour and a half later, we're airborn. It's a bit turbulant, but easily nothing as bad as other flights I've experienced. Until we started the descent into Rochester. Suddenly, the pilot couldn't keep the wings level, we would suddenly drop altitude, experiencing zero g's for several seconds, only to regain the altitude just as suddenly. I became convinced that the pilot was drunk. All suddenly. As I said.

Shockingly, we landed. My pulse was thudding in my throat. As we waited in the aisle for them to open the cabin door, all the lights went out. The pilot came over the loud speaker again and announced, "I hope you enjoyed your flight. Baggage will be on carousel 5." The drunk next to me yelled, "Carousel 5? Why are you talking about carousel 5? Why are the FUCKING LIGHTS OUT, MOTHERFUCKER?"

I stepped off the plane. It was 2:30 in the morning.

Son of a bitch.