Things started off great for our flight to Newcastle. We made it to the airport in plenty of time, changed our money, and grabbed a bite to eat since our flight had been delayed by 30 minutes or so. We were set on 10 and ready to go.
Our flight was then delayed again, and again, and then again. At some point as we walked by the desk for an update, the status moved from DELAYED to CANCELLED. And thus begins our adventure…
We quickly found out that all flights into JFK had been cancelled due to weather and airspace issues, and the only option for us was to fly from Nashville to Dallas to JFK to Paris and on to Newcastle. We thought we would have a 6 hour overnight layover in JFK (more on that later), but that we’d be landing in Newcastle at 11PM rather than 11AM, 12 hours later than we planned. No worries there. We made it to Dallas and on to JFK no problem, only to be delayed in getting our luggage and finding out how we could check our bags due to a mechanical issue with the luggage carousel – they had our bags, they just couldn’t get them onto the carousel because the door wouldn’t open.
It was almost midnight before we got our bags and got going. They say that New York is the city that never sleeps. The same cannot be said about JFK airport. Everything was closed, or almost everything. We managed to find one coffee stand, where I got a fruit cup and croissant, then headed over to the Air France terminal. Our plan was to sleep in the Air France terminal, wake up and catch our flight. We made ourselves cozy on the floor of the airport and dozed off for an uncomfortable few hours of sleep. Shortly after waking up around 4am, we realized there had been some sort of communication issue when our flight got changed around. We weren’t leaving at 6am after a layover in JFK. We were leaving at 6PM. We had a 19 hour layover.
I’ll skip the part where we schlepped our luggage to an IHOP in Brooklyn only to find out that we were there 45 minutes before they opened, and I’ll skip the part where we found out that our flight actually wasn’t on Air France as we were told when we got rebooked, but on American Airlines. Oh, and I’ll skip the part where we misread our boarding passes and thought we were supposed to be at gate 44, rather than gate 14, having to sprint through the terminal to barely make our gate (only to be delayed by an hour on the ground). As you can see, we hadn’t even left the country and we had our plates full of adventure. Double servings. With gravy, even.
The flight to Paris was smooth and easy and the Charles de Gaul airport was beautiful. We processed through security to wait for our flight to Newcastle. We waited and waited for an Air France employee, and by the time they finally showed up so we could check in, our flight was full – they’d oversold the flight and everyone had checked in but us. We were going to miss our flight to Newcastle. We went on standby, ready to sit on toilets or serve drinks if it meant getting on the plane. Other passengers began boarding and our mental head count started creeping up (as did our anxiety level). Finally all those people were on the plane, and they put the final boarding call up. We waited some more and then some more. They finally started processing tikets for us to get on the flight. And then the people whose seats we’d been given showed up. F WORD.
Somehow, someway we made the flight. What we have deduced is that the people who showed up after us were still missing a boarding pass, and since the Air France employee had already made some miracle happen getting us on the plane, she was none too eager to undo and then redo the process. Cool by me. Close the doors and let’s go.
The flight to Newcastle was awesome. I wound up in first class – SCORE! – got to see the Eiffel Tower from the plane – DOUBLE SCORE – and we hit the ground in Newcastle ready to go. We breezed through the border patrol checkpoint and waited for our luggage. We waited, then waited some more, and then they turned the light off. That’s when we found out…
Our luggage never left Paris.