3.31AM meltdown at JFK


it had to happen.

one flight too many (flight 10 of 10 is due to leave LATER THAN EXPECTED but at least it is DUE to leave….bear with us)……


(this was flight 9 of 10)

an arrival in Manhattan (well, JFK is strictly nowhere near manhattan but we digress) at 10.25PM last night.

and a flight due to leave (as we said, DUE TO LEAVE) at 7AM this morning.

so – what to do in the meantime?

it looked awfully cold and d e p r e s s i n g to wait at the airport (and everything was closing).

we *thought* about the movie Jet Lag (which we like very much) and so walked over to the Hotels Information Desk just to see if the interweb had been wrong – that there was actually a hotel close enough to buy a room, have a shower, something to sip in the way of hot tea, perhaps an hour’s sleep and then back to the airport for the flight that was DUE TO LEAVE at 0700 hours.

plus (if you recall the Plot of Jet Lag) the opportunity to reassess one’s life while talking intently with foreigners is always interesting (although the days of fickle youth are long gone with the idea of sharing a hotel room with one, despite the promise of free Clarins products and a lovely swimming pool – neither of which looked on the menu at the Days Inn which was either 5 mins away by taxi or 15 mins by something-called-a-shuttle).

so we thought we’d have an adventure instead.

because we like those.

and we are trying to be a bit prudent with cash flow so we took the A train from Howard Beach and curled up on top of our Manhattan messenger bag (luckily the left luggage at JFK stays open all night – which was lovely as we’re Very Tired at carrying around the silver samsonite now).

arriving in Manhattan on the A train and getting out at West 4th at midnight is sort of fun.

especially when one remembers that the Washington Square diner is open 24/7 as the americans close it (or all night, if you’re european or antipodean).

it was fun to sip coffee and write and read a slim tome.

and then – well – it wasn’t so fun – because we were Awfully Tired – so we decided a Walk was in order and then (almost an hour later) we found ourselves in Times Square (gosh).

a134611450e811e386050a9537b7ccc0_8that was fun.

but it was still only 1AM and we had until (well, you get the idea)……….and then we checked the Boarding Pass that the lovely people at Virgin Atlantic had given us in London to “check us through to Los Angeles” (yes, they said it in an English accent – ange-elle-ease which was sweet – at the time) and saw that the flight had been changed to 9AM instead of 7AM and didn’t appear to be under the care of Virgin Atlantic anymore despite that being the brand on the ticket and – well – that’s when we started to feel quite droopy-in-spirit.

more walking didn’t change our now quite dispirited mood so we got a yellow cab (the concept of the A train after midnight is Not A Good Idea) and arrived back at T4, JFK (it takes about 50 mins in good traffic – of which there is never any in manhattan).

as our ticket said “Virgin Atlantic” we waited at the Virgin Clubhouse which was advertised as opening at 4.15AM (no, we were not flying business class on this leg – sadly – but we thought they might be helpful with the snafu with flight times/carrier changes).

not to put too sharp a point on a very pointy sharp feeling of despair – They Did Not.


9AM is not that far away now (it’s 5.32AM over here).

you were Very kind to listen to all that.

and the cafes just opened so we’ll grab a non fat latte and a banana and all will be well.

fresh clothes also helped. as they invariably do in these circumstances.


to turn the whole thing around.

may we show you our photographs from our intensely delicious last few hours in London yesterday (was that only yesterday?) because we had the most Loveliest time.


a London park is Most Lovely with a chill in the air and a cloche hat on the head. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we *always* pop into Heywood Hill whenever we’re in town because Nancy Mitford worked there and it’s a most splendid bookshop.

as we were about to leave (yes, there’s a little bell on the door or perhaps there was purely in the imagination – that does happen) we stopped, fished around in the manhattan messenger bag and took out a postcard for The book and said “quite casually” –

oh! we almost forgot…..Hay House is publishing this in February….

and they took the card (a little gingerly but kindly in that Very British – let’sjustseeifsheisaweirdpersonorOneOfUs sort of a way) and smiled at the cover and then nodded (briskly) and we ran likethewind.

not fast enough to hear crisply modulated tones chuckle:

Splendid. Good for you.

which we’re sure were Entirely in our Imagination.

or not.


then there’s always Fortnums. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and a chandelier on St James’OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and beautiful weepingly lovely statues. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

close up of weepingly wonderful statue (near Buckingham Palace)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

one definitely needed to pull the wood coat closer at this point. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


the sad beauty of the Princess Diana memorial walk is rather lovely. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and then there was a Mad Dash across town and we caught the tube and then a train and then a plane and finally ended up in Manhattan (or as near as JFK can get to the actual island).

it’s 6.59AM now and we appear to have been BUMPED *shudder* by Mr. Expedia *grrrrrr* from Virgin Atlantic (which is why they could not help us despite their brand being on the ticket) and we wait for the 9AM flight back to Los Angeles.

which, yes, will be flight 10 of 10 in the past 16 days.

but it has been the most MARVEL(L)OUS experience. 

29 thoughts on “3.31AM meltdown at JFK

  1. See you have adventure in your soul. I would have sat at the airport all night for fear I would not make it back from the city in time. Love the photos of London…. is the first one Green Park? Hugs from Up Here in SF

      1. one day I will tell you the Heathrow/British Airways ordeal.

        Long story short: unless you are a rich, white male over the age of 55, do NOT fly B.A. If you do, prepare to be treated like the gum stuck under a subway railing.

  2. So good that you wrote down this night. It made me remember the despair of sleepless nights in uncomfortable places. So unpleasant, and still precious and worth of remembrance.

  3. Why do the most rewarding experiences have to be the most difficult as well? It seems very unfair. My solution would be to never travel, and then I look at your pictures and think how lovely it would be to have been there. The best of times can sometimes be the worst of times. The most marvelous the most trying. What a funny mix life is. Longing to see you home again, XXXX

  4. Oh my goodness gracious. I for one KNOW how long that ride on the A is and give you multo credit for being so brave after an especially challenging week(s). Let’s see…what time is it at JFK? It is 10:30 so you should be in the air by now. Travel safely please and how wonderful it will be to sleep in your own bed tonight!
    PS. Such lovely photos of London and you were triply brave with your card…

  5. These posts make me want curl up next to a fireplace with a glass of vino or tea ; and read for hours.. :-)

    Hope your trip to LA is a good one!
    Rookie wino

    1. bless you for saying that!

      and we just located your blog and will be #following you too!

      we’re very sporadic at the commenting so don’t be surprised when we’re away for a while and then suddenly drop by (virtually) to Visit.

      happy blogging.

    1. well.

      a few tears in Times Square at the crystal ball waiting to drop for 2014 and Pondering on everything that has happened since we Left was sort of nice (but we’re Not in a hurry to travel like this again for a LONG TIME)

        1. Actually who-we-are-in-RL just leaned over our shoulder to say “if there’s a digital conference that would pay my expenses to attend I’d definitely love to see NZ ;)” and wherever she goes, we carry the camera and make Deeply Interesting Comments (but not the luggage, of course – #tinydelicatewrists)

              1. Sigh, I wouldn’t think so. This is the closest thing we have to a really good bookstore and it has only been in business for 32 years. http://www.scorpiobooks.co.nz/AboutUs.htm The main Scorpio shop was destroyed in the earthquakes. They then set up in a container in the ReStart mall and have since opened a bigger store in the suburb of Riccarton. They are a true survival story!

                1. love that the owner had a change of astrological sign in 1979 *shivers*

                  quote: “David Cameron, Scorpio’s owner, has been in books since leaving school to work at UBS Dunedin in 1965. Ten years later he bought the Christchurch business, then Pisces Books. In 1979 there was a change of astrological name to become Scorpio.”

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