It’s a lovely afternoon in Southern California. I have one more day left of sitting in the sun and going to the beach in December. Then I hear about this blizzard hitting the East Coast. I’m talking to Collin, who made it back to our apartment just in time, and it sounds intense. But we both try to stay optimistic and assume that by Monday night everything should be under control enough so that I could fly back in. Well, we were partly right, but nothing was under control in the slightest.
After making my last trip to the beach I spent the rest of the day obsessively checking on my flight. I was flying Virgin America and they had been canceling most of their flights. I was tense. But the status continued to say “on time” so my parents dropped me at LAX and hoped for the best. Luckily for me, if my flight got canceled my parents could just pick me up. Getting stuck in LAX for any extreme amount of time is my worst nightmare.
Everything looked good as I sat in the terminal. We board the plane and take off on time. Perfect! We left LAX at 9 p.m. and planned on arriving at JFK at 5:30 a.m. I attempt to sleep by my row has been cursed with the seats that do not recline. A bummer, but it’s Virgin, which is on par with Jet Blue in my opinion: much nicer seats, your own video screen to control, more general niceness. I didn’t get much sleep but it wasn’t a huge deal. Around 4 a.m. I started watching the local news to see if I’d have any trouble cabbing it back to the apartment. I already knew the A train was out and so was the LIRR, so no public transport for me.
Tarmac Party Time
We landed perfectly on time at 5:30 a.m. That’s when the trouble began. The pilot got on the PA right away and told us we had a 30 minute wait for a gate to open up at our terminal. I was trying to be hopeful, but given how much the blizzard messed up airports, I knew this could get ugly. I started live-tweeting our updates and even chatted with a CNN guy on Twitter who was following people stuck on the tarmac at JFK. Other people had been stuck for 7 hours! UGH. You can check out my Twitter for the full joyful account, but basically the pilot was pissed there were no gates and thanked everyone for their patience a lot. About two hours after landing he told us they found a gate at the terminal. Hooray!
We pull up to the gate and everyone gets ready to leave. Then the pilot comes back on, saying, “Not to add insult to injury, but uh, they’re having trouble getting the jetway to attach.” Oh dear. It’s about another 15 minutes or so before we finally escape. On to the next challenge!
Survivor: The Waiting for a Taxi in the Snow Edition
I head over to the taxi line outside, which is unfortunately epically long. I heard people on the plane called car services, but I foolishly thought I’d be fine. Then I got foolishly stubborn that I could handle the taxi line. I was wearing leggings, a shirt, a hoody, a fleece jacket and my wool coat. I was also only wearing thin sneakers. My feet got wet and froze immediately. I don’t know if it was just the international terminal, but there were so many huge families in line with carts piled high with luggage.
I was in that line for an hour and a half. I think it wouldn’t have been as bad if I had arrived at 5:30 a.m. instead of 8:30 a.m. I pretty much couldn’t feel my toes. And once I wound around the line and could watch the taxi dispatcher I got annoyed. Sure, it’s snowy and slushly around, but these people were not efficient in the slightest. They took forever getting the cars to pull up and get people in them and then would wait for the next to pull up. There was a long line of taxis and it was moving so slowly.
Homeward Bound, For Real This Time
I finally get into a cab around 10 a.m. and direct him to the closest cross streets by my apartment. I knew my street was not plowed yet, thanks to Collin, and figured I’d try to get as close as possible. It was a long stop and go ride, but I managed to convince the driver to get me decently close to my apartment. We finally stop, I pay this guy way more than I ever wish I had to just to get home, and climb through the snow to get to my apartment. At 11 a.m. I am finally home, welcomed by my lovely boyfriend.
The way this storm screwed over so many people, I think I got pretty freaking lucky. I mean, Sunday would have been the day I normally would fly back to New York, but I had found a cheaper deal for Monday’s red eye so I chose that instead. I figure it’s my flying-karma since Collin and I got jerked out by a blizzard last year. If my flight had been canceled I probably would have been in California until next week.
Now I’ve just been enjoying the snow outside my window, as well as the snow-theater of all the cars still trying to get down our block and getting stuck. With a real and full night of sleep behind me, it’s time to enjoy the snow and get ready for the new year!