Welcome to the Shit Show

New York got hit last week with winter storm Grayson, a combination blizzard and nor’easter maniac of epic proportions. We knew it was really coming when the TV weather people rolled up their sleeves as they walked to the Doppler or StormTracker or whatever map. Weather forecasters rolling up their sleeves is sign language for, “You’re all about to get fucked.”

Husband and I are supposed to be in Tucson. Instead, we’ve been at JFK. Sort of like Tucson, only opposite. Our tale is a common one for this week: our Thursday JetBlue flight got canceled and we re-booked for Saturday. Saturday’s flight got delayed, and delayed, and delayed, which was perplexing because the plane was sitting at the gate. The Ft. Lauderdale flight at the next gate had the same situation. So you had about 500 people enduring seven plus hours with the gate attendants saying they had no update.

What they did keep saying was, “Sorry for the inconvenience. JetBlue appreciates your patience.” I don’t know where these attendants were from, but passengers trying to fashion plastic McDonald’s knives into shivs don’t give off the slightest vibe of being patient. ShopRite can tell you, “Sorry we’re out of the Dannon orange creme yogurt. Thank you for your patience while we order it.” This was not that.

At midnight they finally announced that both flights were waiting for pilots. Really? Where were the crews? Were they going to jump out from inside the rest rooms and yell, “Surprise! The pilots are here! Let’s get these babies in the air.” No. There were no crews and no pilots and we’d all been hosed for more hours than I care to think about. At 1:30 am the other shoe finally dropped. “We’re sorry to inform you that your flights have been canceled. You can retrieve your luggage at carousel 6. Or 4. Or 2. Just keep looking.”

On a good day, the baggage area at JFK is chaotic. Now imagine several flights canceled at the same time and no instruction about which chute your bags are going to be sailing out of. For over an hour there were no bags at all and not a single airport employee to talk to. Then the show started. Luggage began flying down onto every carousel, including the one by us that had a drunken passenger sleeping on it. With no one knowing which area to stand by, unclaimed baggage formed loggerheads. Then either the carousel jammed and shut down, or the suitcases propelled each other into the air to get free. I don’t even know how you’d file an injury claim for that. “Concussed by an airborne Samsonite?” It felt like a metaphor for our current times, where crap comes flying at you so fast you just cannot duck in time.

We got home at 4:30 Sunday morning and were among the lucky. We found our luggage and we live near the airport. Over the course of our mini vacation at JFK, I met people who’d been living at the terminal since Thursday. Arizona college students, families with babies and toddlers, an elderly couple from Israel, all with nowhere else to go. And JetBlue not offering a voucher for anything or even airline personnel to talk to. This was at terminal 5. Over at terminal 4 they had a water main break. I can’t even.

But I’ll try. We’re rescheduled for Saturday.

Today’s Featured Foto was taken of Manhattan while visiting Daughter in Brooklyn

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