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A few weeks ago I traveled to New York for a quick one day/one night trip. While there I visited my mom and my oldest son and daughter-in-law and kids, which was wonderful. But my main agenda on that short trip was to meet a new person who happened to be my son (#4)’s friend, whom he’d been dating for a few months. They were getting serious and he wanted me to meet her.
I was a little jittery, and also excited and hopeful. My son had dated for marriage for awhile and we were thrilled that he had found his match. Everything seemed to click. I could tell from his voice stamp and his tone that he was completely happy and content.
All my feelings mixed together formed a big blob of nervousness. Somehow that general nerve blob colored my travel experience and translated that experience into Bad Trip.
In fact, when I arrived in NY and my sister picked me up from the airport the next morning, she noted that all I could talk about to her in the car was how exhausted I was and how long the trip was.
The fact that I was there in NY for an exciting reason was lost on me. I was in a bad mood. I was nervous, anxious and worried. And unsettled.
So, what was so bad about this trip, you ask?
Well, one factor in the trip’s difficulty was its length. The sheer flying time cross country should be about 4 1/2 hours from west to east. But this trip was different.
In our attempt to get a ticket in a short amount of time, we rushed into getting an inconvenient ticket arrangements with not one, but two stopovers.
Since we had little mileage left for use at the time, the only normal direct ticket was about $800. In our effort to find tickets for me to go meet this wonderful girl on a short notice, my son (who shall remain nameless – isn’t it great to have several sons so one never knows which one I’m talking about?) picked the only itinerary that was available for a decent price. This itinerary was one with a stopover in Phoenix and another stopover in Charlotte, NC.
So at 5:45 pm on a Wednesday evening I took an Uber to Long Beach airport to wait in line and then fly to Phoenix.
Now a little geography here: Long Beach airport is about 35 miles from Los Angeles where I live. Yes, that’s right. Part of the allure of this wonderful c
heap inexpensive ticket was that it flew out of the doo-hickey airport of Long Beach which is about the size of my backyard.
Wonderful airport and very quick service, but hello. It took the Uber (my second son, by the way,
And by the time I got there, I had just about 15 minutes to get my boarding pass, go through security, wait on line and then board.
Finally, I was the plane – all was well, we took off, we landed a little less than 2 hours later and then we deplaned.
The new gate to depart from Phoenix to Charlotte was about 20 minutes away by foot on those moving sidewalks or whatever they are called. And so I lugged my luggage across Phoenix airport, around and around until I found my gate.
I checked my second boarding pass (yup, I had 3 altogether, isn’t that cool?) and the plane was to take off 3 hours from then.
Hmmm. I took out my food that I had taken along and ate some of it, being careful to ration, because it had to last my full journey across the U.S.
At 11:15, we got called to get on the plane, and luckily I had a “priority” seating marked on my boarding pass (cost me $12 at the kiosk – best $12 I ever spent). This meant that after First Class folks, I was invited on to the plane to load my hand luggage in the still-empty overhead compartments. Such luxury.
My good mood about my priority seating was aborted by the sudden drop in temperature on the plane bound for Charlotte. This flight was about 4 1/2 hours and for some reason it was freezing cold. I had to wrap myself in my light jacket that I had taken with me and was still shivering. I could barely sleep.
I asked the flight attendant for a blanket because I saw some of the First Class folks use blankets. No blankets anymore, I was told.
Anyway, after 4 1/2 hours on the plane to Charlotte, we landed, got off, and it was even colder in the airport. The airport was beautiful with white, wooden Adirondack chairs for lounging, and lots of outlets for charging phones and ipads. The accents were a bit hard to understand so that was a little annoying but the main issue was that I was freezing.
By then it was 6 a.m. North Carolina time (same as NY? are we almost there yet?) and I still had to walk across the airport to the departing gate (far!), wait 2 hours in the airport (yes, I checked my crumpled boarding pass) to be called up to board “Prory boarding” which is Charlotte accent for “priority boarding” I realized after asking, “excuse me? excuse me? did she call our group yet?”
Anyway, finally we were on the last leg of the journey across the good ol’ USA and I was headed from Charlotte at 8:15 am.
Destination: La Guardia Airport – so says my crumpled boarding pass.
When I landed in LGA, I turned on my phone and saw a few texts from my sister. I went outside and noticed how warm it was (everything is relative compared to that plane with no blankets), and I started to look for my sister.
I found her. She found me. I got in the car.
It was 10 am. It took us 45 minutes to get to Brooklyn, to my mom’s house. Just enough time to freshen up before having the meeting we had planned the trip for in the first place.
Total flying time: 8 hours.
Total waiting time in 4 airports (Long Beach, Phoenix, Charlotte, La Guardia) – 6 hours
Total driving time to and from airports on each coast (2 1/2 hours).
Listen – you do the math – I’m too tired! But basically, in that time…I could have flown to Israel, right?
Oh – and in case you are wondering, I loved meeting my son’s friend (who is now my future daughter-in-law!). I traveled back to California the next day on minimal sleep and only had one stopover.
I was cranky as ever, came down with a lousy cold and had to take erythromycin to get rid of my bronchitis.
Mazel Tov! Stay tuned for the next installment of…..A Tale of Two Trips – Part II. Over there, I will discuss another trip – one which I had an entirely different experience than the one in this post.
Hint: The next trip (also no-frills and quite long) was sooooo much more fun! Hmmm. I wonder why.
See you at my next post….sooner than later!
Tags: airlines, airplanes, anxiety, dating, flying, hassle, mazel tov, new daughter-in-law, parenting, stopovers, tickets, traveling