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Why I’m In New York

Obviously with the news that various flights were getting cancelled, we were quite worried that our flight would be amongst them. On Sunday, we took a late check out (figuring that if the flight was cancelled, we could stay in San Francisco an extra night before heading back to Palo Alto so Alex could work) and all day had the American Airlines webpages open on our iPhones and laptops, constantly refreshing to see the current status of the flight. We were flying from San Francisco to New York (JFK) to Heathrow.

Current status: On time. Current status: On time. Current status: On time.

Everytime we refreshed the query, the flight AA 142 was still showing as on time. Boarding for our flight from SFO happened at about 10.45pm (PST), and we did one last check before switching off our phones.

Current status: On time.

The cross country flight was about as pleasant as an Easyjet flight with a drunken pilot. I had a kid behind me kicking the back of my chair, and another one next to me crying for the whole flight. I think I managed to get an hour or sos sleep sat in an uncomfortable position (a movie was shown, and I know I was awake for the beginning and the end of it)

We landed at JFK at about 7.30am (EST) and walked quickly to find a departures board to find out where our flight was to leave from. You already know this bit. Flight AA142 to Heathrow: Cancelled. Nothing else. We went down to baggage check (if a flight is cancelled, we’ll need our bags!) but they didn’t appear at all. We went up to the check in desks where 2 desks had been opened up to deal with the people who were supposed to be on that flight. We joined the queue at 8am, with about 10-15 people infront of us. It took 2, 2 and a half hours to reach the front of that queue.

In the meantime, Alex and I sat on the cold hard floor (my bum still feels a bit numb) and pulled out our laptops and phones. He was talking to his colleagues to see if they could sort out anything, and I hopped on Twitter. We contacted the European American Airlines account and by the time we reached the front of the queue (literally, receiving confirmation as we went to the next available desk), we had been booked onto a flight to London leaving Xmas Eve.

We got to the desk to check the amendment, and to get the info on times, etc. We asked where our bags were and told (quite rudely I thought) that they should be downstairs – “the flights cancelled, its not like they can go anywhere”

Eventually we found our bags, had an hotel booked by Alex’s company and got a taxi to the hotel.

At no point did any American Airlines representative come round to explain the situation. No one said “Sorry about this queue, we’re trying to get everyone rebooked onto flights back to the UK”. We were treated as if we were an inconvenience. When we got to the front of the queue, the woman on the desk was rude and abrupt.

I know that we are very lucky compared to most people. Alex’s company will cover the cost of the taxis to and from the airport, and the hotel. If we had been paying for this trip ourselves, then we would be totally screwed.

It seems that Heathrow is getting back to normal now, so hopefully we’ll be able to get back to London on Christmas Day (meaning of course that I can’t go home to be with my family). Without sounding overdramatic, Christmas is cancelled.

Whilst the @AAEurope Twitterer has been super helpful, I doubt either of us will choose to fly with American Airlines again – especially considering that other airlines were able to fly into Heathrow that day from JFK.

Fairytale of New York

When we were planning the trip to California, I thought “great! I’ll be able to blog every day because I have nothing that has to be done”

Well that failed didn’t it? Between shopping, watching daytime TV and going out to dinner with the boyfriends colleagues, I somehow lost track of time and all of a sudden, it was time to fly back to the UK.

Except.

Well, this is the view from my hotel room:

Yeah. We’re in New York. Thanks American Airlines, for being so utterly useless. Thanks snow for being there. Thanks Heathrow for being so crap at dealing with snow.

We’re here till Friday so any recommendations or suggestions as to what we can do (cheaply!) would be welcomed.

(Its a day after our flight was cancelled, and I’m still too angry to put it down into words. A blog post on what happened to come when I don’t want to punch people. So that would be May.)

California, Here We Come

Well, here we are. I’m writing this whilst sitting on my balcony, overlooking the pool at the hotel. This is my view:

Just out of frame are some students who are staying here, who are Skyping on their MacBooks. No, I’m not a stalker, but when someone starts waving at their laptop, its kinda easy to guess!

We got up at 7ish on Sunday, and were in a taxi by 8am. First stop was Bristol Temple Meads, where we got a train to Paddington, then another train over to Heathrow. We were flying from T5, the newest terminal, and it is shiny. I was surprised at the amount of “high end” stores it has, but was soon distracted by the Mulberry store. I was pulled there, it has a certain force on me!

The flight out was direct, so we were in the air for over 10 hours, my longest flight. The seats had screens in the backs with video on demand, so I watched a few movies (Get Him To The Greek (ace), Monsters Inc (tried to doze through but couldn’t!), Despicable Me (cute) and Killers (lame, couldn’t even finish it)). I should have tried to sleep, but with the person in front reclining his seat, and the person behind kneeing my back, it wasn’t the most comfortable thing. (Also I can’t sleep in the light, and I can’t sleep sitting up.)

We landed, went through immigration (so many questions! Also my photo and fingerprints were taken, a normal thing apparently), found our cases, hopped on the AirTrain (it’s like the monorail at Alton Towers, except instead of Nemesis, you get to go get a rental car) and got our car. Palo Alto is a short drive (20 miles?) from San Francisco, and we were soon at the hotel (no thanks to the sat nav)

Our room is amazing. The only reason I say this is the bed. It’s about 6 foot across, and is so fluffy and squishy and honestly, if I could, I’d take it home with me. Even stretched out, I couldn’t reach Alex. We need this bed.

We had a drink in the bar, and I left Alex and his colleague to have some food while I went and had a bath. Bathing – more important than food. Except the tub here is tiny – I sat down in it and my feet touched the other end. So shallow as well! America, sort your baths out, and your voltage – my hair straighteners can’t heat up enough! I watched Family Guy (weird to watch it on the tv with ads in!) – since it was 5.30am GMT, I thought I should sleep.

We’ve been telling everyone not to ring us this week, because we won’t answer – the best way to get hold of us is to email or text, but that didn’t stop our landlord calling at 2am our time. Of course, it was 10am GMT so my body clock wanted to get up. Stupid body clock, go to sleep!

We got up at 6am, had some breakfast then Alex went to work, while I went for a wander around downtown Palo Alto. It’s….not that exciting. Really. I’ve been out twice today and it’s still only 1pm!

Now, if someone could find me a decent cup of tea, I’d be happy.

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