Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday 12 February 2009 - Our 32-hour Day

This day started very early, but not early enough, it seems. No sooner had we started on the road at 0430 than the rain turned to snow and began sticking to the roads. And it just got worse from then on.

We avoided Dijon by using the periphery route recommended by Mme Silvestre, but it kept on coming down and building up, til by the time we reached the Alps we could hardly see, couldn't change lanes, and traffic was moving about 40 kph. It took us 5.5 hours of white-knuckle driving to make the 3 hour trip.

Emerging from under the clouds in Geneve, we raced to find a filling station, then sat in traffic again trying to get back to the airport. We checked in at about 1123 for our noon flight. We had only 7 minutes to spare. Luckily, the flight was wide open and customs and passport control were free of people and we made it to our gate at about 11:30.

As we came in to the ticket counter area, there were 2 rather long lines (neither one, it turned out, were ours), and I heard one guy on his cell phone saying that a flight had been cancelled and that the airport was a madhouse. He obviously had never been at JFK when weather had caused JetBlue to cancel 85 flights!

Our flight was not cancelled.

Also, I tried to use my Irish passport, but since I was going to the US, they told me I had to have a visa--and not the credit card, either. The customs guy was a young guy, and could see my kids and husband had just gone through and were American citizens, and he looked very worried telling me I would have to go get a visa. But I swapped out passports and we both felt much better.

Even though it was not delayed by an hour and a half, the flight was heaven compared to the fingernail-crunching trip we had driving from Quermigny-sur-Seine to Geneve.

We were only be delayed arriving in JFK for 30 minutes, so we could still make our JFK-Salt Lake City flight--if it had availability.

* * * * * * *

It did not have availability, and here is where we met the meanest person of our whole trip: a JetBlue ticket agent at JFK airport. She was curt, rude, did not smile, gave a one-word answer and then ignored us. After all the nice Parisians and Frenchmen and Swiss (who are all reputed to be mean), it was a shock to our system.

I tried getting us to another city, say Las Vegas, and indeed our checked bag did go to Las Vegas but we didn't make it. So we re-booked for the next day to Burbank, California and Todd found a hotel using his iTouch and the JetBlue wifi at Terminal 5. We took a taxi because, as you see by the title of this day, we had been awake a long time. We fell into bed, took only long enough to change our status to super passes and set the alarm for 0430, and slept.

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