Homeward Bound

This entry comes to you courtesy of the Admirals’ Club at JFK. We’re here waiting for our flight to Los Angeles, where we connect to our flight to San Jose and the taxi to home.

We had good visits with family and got to see interesting places, but I’m glad to be going home!

More to follow, probably including pictures. And I should resume my regular nearly-daily schedule of updates soon, too.

But probably not tonight; we just got notified that our flight to LA is delayed for 2.5 hours because they’re servicing the airplane. The good news is that this ensures that we won’t be depending on the airline for lunch; the bad news is that we’ll be sitting at JFK quite a bit longer than we’d planned. But I’d far rather they fix the airplane while it’s on the ground and we’re still in the nice air-conditioned terminal than that they discover they should have fixed it while we’re in the air!

Interestingly, when I use various web sites to check the status of my flight, I get different answers. Expedia claims that the flight is going to leave on time. TheTrip claims 12:22pm. Both American and Travelocity say 2:30, which matches the monitors here.

[Update at 12:16pm: Expedia still claims the flight is going to leave at noon. Microsoft, accurate and dependable as always! But they’re not alone; TheTrip still claims 12:22.]

[Update at 1:20pm: Expedia will no longer quote a departure time; TheTrip still claims 12:22; the monitors still say 2:30pm. And, according to the agent at the Admirals’ Club, the reason we’re waiting until 2:30 is that they took our originally-scheduled plane out of service, so we’re waiting for a 767-200 to arrive from Caracas; that plane will be our ride to LA.]

Courtesy of Al, a pointer to the top ten reasons to go to work naked. I may give some of them serious thought on Monday; while I’m ready to go home, I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to work. I’ve enjoyed not thinking about it for the last two weeks, and I am certainly not looking forward to wading through two weeks’ worth of e-mail backlog.

We’re home. Our luggage isn’t.

Our plane pushed back from the gate at JFK right on time (revised version) at 2:30pm Eastern, and we were in the air a mere half-hour later. When the captain came on the PA, he gave us the news: we’d been routed on a circuitous course (I suspect to miss weather) and were due to land at LAX at 6pm, right after our flight to San Jose was scheduled to take off.

So I hied myself to the phone at the back of the plane and dialed the secret number to connect to American reservations on their dime instead of my $2/minute (hint: it’s *044), only to find out that the 6pm flight was the last flight of the day from LA to San Jose on Saturdays, and that the last flights to San Francisco and Oakland left slightly earlier. But they were able to “protect” us on a United flight leaving at 6:41pm, so that was some progress.

We had middle seats, so I wasn’t able to use my GPS to keep track of our progress (it’s amazing how quickly being able to know where I am is something I expect to be able to do), but eventually the captain said we’d been able to make up some time and we’d arrive around 5:30. And he was right — we got to the gate at 5:27.

The flight attendents asked people staying in LA (most of the plane — I’ve never seen so many people with press passes in my life) to wait so that those of us with connections would have a chance, and some of the passengers actually did let us get by. Into Terminal 4 we go, looking for an American person to find out how to get to our outbound flight in Terminal 3.

We find one; she tells us “it’s in another terminal”. That’s it. No offer to call and hold the plane, or to put us on a cart, or anything. I decided we’d run for it (we had 28 minutes).

Those of you who know LAX are probably laughing about now. I didn’t realize that Terminals 3 and 4 weren’t connected by anything other than a sidewalk which runs past the International Terminal…that, and a bus which runs the wrong way around the loop.
We followed the signs and found ourselves on the wrong side of security, then downstairs, with no clues.

I hailed another American person; this guy was more helpful, telling us that we had to go outside, and then walked with us towards the bus. En route, he asked us when our flight was, and when I told him, he said the bus wouldn’t get us there on time, but that it was only a five-minute walk. He then pointed us in the right direction and sent us on our way.

I think it took us six minutes, but you have to allow for the fact that we were carrying luggage and that Jeffrey’s shoes came untied (round laces are evil). Then into Terminal 3, up the escalator, through security, and onto our plane…we got to our seats at 5:47. And, miracle of miracles, we had sufficient stowage for our stuff even though we were in a bulkhead row (OK, I cheated and put one bag over a First Class seat). We pushed back at 6, were airborne at 6:10, and on the ground in San Jose at 6:56.

The first bag arrived at 7:16, fulfilling the required minimum 20-minute delay for luggage, and the last bag came out a few minutes later. Then I went over to the baggage desk and discovered that our bags didn’t run as fast as we did; they should be delivered tomorrow morning.

I don’t know where Jeffrey gets his energy — we just got him down to bed at 10pm Pacific, and he was lively and talkative. It’s 10:42pm now, and I’m beat!