Muli Ben-Yehuda's journal

August 4, 2004

OLS BLOG 2004: And thus, it ends

Filed under: Uncategorized — Muli Ben-Yehuda @ 7:37 AM

I made it back home.

I woke up at 5 AM at Tucson, packed my suitcase (everything fitted – barely – but it bulges ominously), had some breakfast, and left for the airport before 7. My flight was around 10, if I recall correctly. Made it through ticketing, security etc in 20 minutes, and had 2 and half hours to wait for the flight.

The Tucson->Atlanta flight was fine, nothing special. When I got to Atlanta, I had a few hours to kill before the next flight, which was supposed to leave at 7 PM. I sat the gate area, read my book, and waited, and waited, and waited. Around 6:30 PM, the flight attendant had a nasty surprise for us. “The flight will be delayed until 8:30 PM. Please wait by the gate area for further instructions”. Oh fuck, thinks I, I have a midnight flight to catch from New York to Israel. Let’s talk to them and see if there’s anything that can be done. Turns out that every other flight to NY is full. If I’m going to be stranded, I’d rather be stranded in NY, one leg closer to home.

Our flight did not leave Atlanta until almost 10 PM, a 3 hour delay. I knew that making the flight in NY wasn’t going to happen, and wondered what I’d do. When we got to NY, at almost 1 AM at night, the Delta representative booked me on the next flight to Israel, at 10 AM in the morning, told me that my luggage was now El Al’s responsibility, and apologized for the delay (like that ever helped anyone). The also claimed that since it was due to the weather, they can’t provide a hotel for the night or any other compensation. $SWEAR_WORDS.

I tried to find the El Al folks, but they had already gone home. I briefly considered spending the night at JFK, but decided against it. It was cold, there were Persons of Dubious Quality aroundand and I sorely needed a shower. I took the last room that was to be had at the JFK Radisson, a miserable, expensive hotel. Hit the bed at 2:30 AM. I had no suitcase, and although I always take an extra pair of tshirt and underwear in my carry on baggage, naturally, this time I didn’t.

Woke up at 5:30 AM, dressed, went hunting for some way of sending email (found one, but damn, it was expensive), and was back at JFK by 6:30 AM, looking forward to getting on the flight, preferably with my suitcase. The El Al people were nice, courteous and professional. Much appreciated after my Delta experiences of last night. I don’t think I’ll be flying Delta again in the near future.

I made it through security, etc, with no problems, and by 7 AM I was at the gate area. Great, another 3 hour wait at the gate… With regards to the suitcase, the El Al people said the suitcase will be on this flight or the next one, which was good enough for me. Had some breakfast, and bought the new Tom Clancy book, since the myriad delays of yesterday caused me to finish the new Stephenson book earlier than planned (it’s very good, far more “Cryptonomicon” than “Quicksilver”).

Boarded the flight at 9:30 AM. The person at the gate confirmed that my suitcase has boarded as well. Finally, something is going right!

The flight was long and tedious. I hate flying in general, but trans-atlantic flights are far worse than usual. Small, cramped seats (next time, fly me first class, IBM!), bad food, etc, etc. At least the movies were reasonable – watched Shrek 2 (cute), Mean Girls (pretty people, stupid movie) and Walking Tall, which I liked a lot. Had a few conversations with my seat-mates, a young Jewish couple. The Clancy book, btw, sucks. Not as badly as Rainbow Six, but I doubt I would’ve finished it if I weren’t stuck on an airplane.

Landed at 03:30 AM. It’s good to be back in .il, where it’s all insane, but it’s *familiar* insanity. Made it through immigration quickly, waited for 30 minutes for my suitcase, and then got it. Ripped open. Looks like it burst at the seams. Briefly debated trying to figure out if anything is missing, and then decided that it can wait for home. Found my IBM-arranged ride (Thanks Orna and Oleg!) and left for the final leg of this long journey.

Made it home at 5 something AM. Woke Orna up. It’s good to be home.

(Nothing is missing from the suitcase, as far as I can see. Thank $DEITY for small miracles).

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